I remember watching a television show a few years ago and listening to the host repeatedly refer to motherhood as "the hardest job in the world". The skeptic in me questioned this notion. Surely there are other jobs that are harder? At the time I was working as a school social worker and helping to support students and families in crisis on a regular basis. There are many other facets of this job, but at the time I found it hard to think that motherhood could be harder than helping others through some of these intense situations.
Then I had a baby and a significant shift in perspective. It was like the axis that my world had been mindlessly spinning on for 30 years tilted and knocked me into another world completely. Even though my professional job was very challenging at times, most of the time I felt that I knew what I was doing. This was no longer the case in my personal life. All of the sudden I was in a foreign land where I did not speak the language and the natives were quite fussy and dependent. Despite having read some guidebooks by professional explorers about the general lay of the land, I found myself in 'survival mode' simply trying to make it from one day to the next in this uncharted territory.
I have learned a lot from the new member of my slightly crazy, mostly wonderful, sometimes unpredictable, perpetually changing new world. There have been bumps along the way and I am by no means a professional explorer of this land yet. I've made mistakes. I've taken short cuts. I've been oblivious to things that I should have had on my radar. And I've decided to own up to them. So, here are some confessions from myself and a few of my friends who have been navigating the foreign terrain of parenthood. All confessions are anonymous.
On Hygiene and Cleanliness
- My personal hygiene is at an all time low....if I brush my teeth, wash my face, AND shower in the same day it must mean my parents are over visiting.
- The same can be said if the dishes are done, the floors are swept, and supper is ready before 9:00pm.
- There have been days when I've realized that I've had baby poop on me for at least 6 hours and did not notice.
- Not a day goes by that I am not covered in some sort of bodily fluid. This is not limited to the humans in our house.
- The other day my child brushed both their own and our fur baby's teeth with MY toothbrush. I didn't throw it out because it was brand new.
- There have been multiple times when I have realized that I have been wearing the same clothes for 3 days in a row. Minimum.
- On any given day if you stop by my house you will find me in my 'maternity leave' uniform. If I'm not in that uniform, I'm still in my pajamas.
- I can count on one hand the amount of times I have NOT worn yoga pants or some variation of them in the past 7 months.
- I inadvertently shoplifted with my stroller when my child was having a meltdown in the store and I forgot to pay for one item that I had tucked into a compartment and subsequently forgot about. I found the item two weeks later. Let's just say I bought double from that store the next time out of guilt and humiliation.
- I no longer know what a hot cup of coffee tastes like as I microwave mine 6 times a day, often after skimming a layer of scrud off the top.
- I am also unaware of what a hot meal might taste like.
- The classic sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. was right. Breastmilk DOES taste like cantaloupe juice. Seriously.
- I made baby food once. I put apples and water into a blender and pureed it. I felt like I just might be Super Mom.
On Sleep and Baby Care
- I get very excited for nap time to roll around. Five minutes later I miss my baby and wish she was up again.
- Trying to 'sleep train' my baby is harder than some of my Masters classes.
- Sometimes I wish my baby was still inside where he fed, changed, and clothed himself. And he didn't need to cry to go to sleep.
- There are times when I want to drop my baby off at their crankiest for friends to babysit so they will stop telling me what an easy baby I have.
On Being a Parent
- I find it hilarious when my children say inappropriate things. I secretly hope they grow up to be badass.\
- I often wake up in the night with nursery songs running through my head.
- "They" say you cannot have favourite children. That is a lie. I routinely have a favourite child. It may change from day to day, but I always like one of them more than the other.
- Prior to having children I hoped to be the perfect parent. My children were not going to watch TV, eat unhealthy food, and I was going to play with them all the time. In reality, the TV sometimes babysits, and my children love eating hot dogs and KD.
- I use my baby as an excuse to watch the newest animated movies. The same can be said for listening to old Disney movie soundtracks.
- I feel like a failure anytime I read or am given advice on caring for my child, yet I turn around and want to give my own advice to anyone willing to listen.
.....And a Few From the Heart
- I find it terrifying that I am in charge of raising my child. I find it empowering that I am in charge of raising my child. I am honoured that I am in charge of raising my child.
- Sometimes I watch my baby and find tears streaming down my face. The love I feel for my child is all-encompassing.
- Having a baby has been like watching my heart grow outside of my body.
- I love my children so much that when I think about them and talk about them I still get tears in my eyes.
There you have it. We are all trying to figure out the lay-of-the-land in our own ways, whether it is the way the parenting guide-books instructed us or not. True, sometimes we may take a wrong direction here and there, as evidenced by some of our confessions. Regardless of the mistakes we think we have made, or that others think we have made, our children are at the center of our 'new' worlds and we wouldn't have it any other way.