Being a mom is hard

Friends, I’ve been up since 1 a.m. after going to bed at 10:30. If you have to ask, yes, it was those damn dogs again. This time it involved a LOUD Otto who had to go out and then proceeded to bark incessantly at what I can only hope was a cat under our car and not some crazed serial killer waiting for me to go to bed.

Ha, take that, Mr. Serial Killer. Joke’s on you. I’m up for the day. (And I think I’ve bingewatched a few too many episodes of “Criminal Minds” lately…)

So what does one think about when up at 1 a.m.? Well, there are plenty of topics to choose from right now — racial inequality, how much I have left to do before school starts, how I can avoid cleaning my kitchen, how most other people manage to keep their kitchen clean without getting to the “Hoarders” stage and of course–Covid. Who can forget that?

But this morning, what I’m thinking about mostly is being a mom.

And how it’s wonderful and rewarding and humbling and expensive and joy-filled and HARD.

Most of the time, amongst all the other qualities, the fact that it’s just plain HARD is lurking, never out of sight.

It’s hard when you’re pregnant and you’re exhausted and you’re never comfortable and you still are expected to work and do all the other things even though — HELLO, YOU ARE GROWING THIS HUMAN BEING INSIDE YOU.

It’s hard when you’re pregnant and then you’re not pregnant and you don’t get to bring home your baby because he or she just couldn’t make it and went to wait for you in Heaven, where you’ll finally get to meet.

It’s hard when you’re pregnant and you have a healthy baby and then the hospital just sends you home and expects that you’re going to know what to do to keep this tiny human alive and well.

It’s hard when that baby cries and cries and cries and you don’t know why and you can’t make him stop and you’re so very tired. But you rock that baby and take that baby on car rides to try to get him to sleep and you love that baby anyway, even though sometimes you think in your head that you don’t really like him right now.

It’s hard when your baby starts walking and is suddenly into everything and you turn around for one-thousandth of a second and all of a sudden your baby is shoveling dirt from the plant into his mouth like it’s candy.

It’s hard when your baby starts talking and you realize this really is a person with a personality and words of his own and you want to record every single word he says because you can’t believe you created a person with his own thoughts and words and how incredible is that?

It’s hard when you are pregnant again and this time you don’t get to nap whenever you feel like it because you have another human being who needs you to feed him and play with him and make sure he doesn’t start fires.

It’s hard when you have that other baby and you look at your first baby and wonder WHEN DID HE BECOME SO GROWN UP??? Compared to your new baby, your oldest now looks like a middle-aged man and you wouldn’t be surprised if all of a sudden he has sprouted a mustache.

It’s hard when your baby goes to school for the first time and you know that now that baby is really going to change–learning, developing friendships, experiencing disappointment–and you just know that the first kid to make fun of your kid better watch it because you’re going to go full Mama Bear on that brat.

It’s hard when your baby loses his baby teeth and all of a sudden these big teeth grow in and he looks so much older and you realize those are the same teeth he’s going to have until he’s 97 and has to get dentures. And then you realize you won’t be around when he’s 97. And that’s hard.

It’s hard when you see your kids fight and it’s hard when you see them get along and play so well together that you think your heart just cannot take the beauty of it. You realize you didn’t only make babies, you made brothers. You made people who will be forever connected throughout their whole lives. And you just hope you can manage to not screw them up.

It’s hard when your baby enters middle school, which is not a pleasant time for anyone, especially your kid. It’s hard when you realize your baby isn’t your baby anymore and doesn’t want to be read to before bed and wants to spend time without you. It’s hard even though you know that it’s normal. A part of you wants him to still want to be read to every night when he’s 30, even though you realize that would indicate a whole slew of issues that are probably not good.

It’s hard when your baby is in high school and doing all the high school things, making you proud, making you worried, making you crazy mad. It’s hard when he’s asserting his independence and you know that’s normal but you also know you have to provide boundaries for him even though that means yelling and slammed doors and sometimes holes in walls. (Hopefully not by you.)

It’s hard when your baby graduates from high school and gets a tattoo and you remember when he sucked his thumb and carried around a tattered frog blankie until it was tied in knots and nearly shredded. It’s hard when you think about that baby leaving in a few weeks to go to college, where you won’t be there to help guide him in every decision or remind him to put on deodorant or ask him if he remembered his keys when he leaves his dorm room.

And it’s hard when your baby is a true full-blown adult–say 22 1/2– and that baby is just trying to find his way and you want to help him so desperately but you are restricted by things like HIPPA, a lack of funds, the need to let him learn lessons on his own and the fact that he probably doesn’t want you to call up a girl that’s broken his heart and tell her how she hurt your baby. Pretty sure that would not be appreciated.

It’s hard when you love your babies so much and they just get big and decide they aren’t going to be babies but instead are going to be teenagers and adults.

It’s hard to be the mom of an adult. I’d go back to getting up five times in the night to the colicky baby if it meant I didn’t have to feel the anxiety and helplessness that I often feel as the mom of the adult.

But there’s also the pride. The pride you feel when you realize that you did some things right and your babies are not just adults, but they are compassionate, smart, thoughtful, hardworking adults. You didn’t completely screw them up when you accidentally dropped an F bomb in front of them or when you ate dinner in the living room instead of at the kitchen table because it was too piled with clutter.

Being a mom is hard–especially now when we don’t have the normal worries but also the added worries of a pandemic and growing tensions in our country. But no matter how hard it is, and whatever stage you’re at, whether your baby is yet to be born or your baby just turned 60, you know you would choose the hard every single day if it meant you got to share time on Earth with your baby. Without the hard, you can’t have the satisfaction that comes when something goes right. Without the hard, the hugs don’t carry as much weight. Without the hard, you don’t realize as a mom just how strong you are–how much you can endure.

So this morning here’s to the moms who have the hardest–and most rewarding–job on this side of Heaven.



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