The wonderful chaos of motherhood

Motherhood does not come with an instruction manual. Sure there is the What to Expect series, Dr. Spock and countless other books offering advice to new mothers. There is not a single book, or library of books for that matter, that can prepare you for everything that being a mom encompasses.

People will tell you that a child changes everything. A truer statement has never been uttered. Children should be life-changing. Having a child means that life is no longer about you, because there is someone else depending on you. Say good-bye to sleeping in on Saturdays. Kids are early risers and, more often than not, they don’t enjoy quiet time by themselves.

If you have a newborn baby, say good-bye to sleep altogether. Trust me. You will learn how to sleep in an upright position while gently rocking. Somehow your baby will know the difference between you sitting and rocking her or standing. When it is 2 a.m. and you are exhausted, she will prefer that you are standing.
New moms, there will be days when the simplicity of getting dressed and brushing your teeth by 3 in the afternoon is a stellar accomplishment. There are days when you will feel like you are skating on the edge of sanity, and it will not take much to throw you off-balance, knocking you into complete insanity. On days like these, wet kisses, hugs, snuggles and “I love you mommy” really do make you feel better.

As a mom you will have moments when you will feel like a complete and utter failure. Or you worry that something you are doing now will have negative consequences later in your child’s life. There are times when you feel guilty for wanting to spend time away from your children. And when you finally have the opportunity to go out and enjoy adult company and conversation, you worry and miss your kids when they aren’t there.
Mom, you will always do more than your fair share in the family. Some days you feel like you are living in a three-ring circus and at the end of the day, you can’t remember a single thing you’ve done. Seldom do you get to sit down and enjoy the hot meal you’ve cooked. Privacy flies out the window. You learn to use the bathroom, shower, put on make-up and get dressed in front of an audience.

Some days you look at those Supermoms who seem organized and under control at all times — the ones who are PTA president, on time for every activity and never have one hair out of place — with a mixture of envy, admiration and annoyance. You notice how many people without children offer unsolicited advice. There is no way to anticipate or prepare for a public temper tantrum. When another child is having a public meltdown you are incredibly thankful that, this time, it is not yours.

Peace and quiet are rare commodities. When the house gets quiet, you know your children are up to something. Life is constantly full of surprises: an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet, crayons in your shoes, petrified McDonald’s French fries under the seats in your car, caterpillars in your Tupperware containers and enough water on the bathroom floor to flood a small country after bath time.

Being able to locate the bathroom in every single grocery store, restaurant or mall in a 30-mile radius becomes second nature. You have the menus of every kid-friendly restaurant memorized. When you take your children on errands, you learn to steer clear of the toy aisle and automatically answer “not today” or “we don’t need that” the same way you breathe air.

There are times when you stoop to bribery because you know that the promise of candy will buy you the ten extra minutes you need to accomplish a given task. You find yourself doing things that, before you had children, you said you would never do when you had kids.

You will seldom have a dull moment. Phone conversations become slightly schizophrenic because you are forced to have conversations with the person on the line and your children simultaneously. As a driver, you become incredibly proficient driving one-handed so you can reach a bottle or juice cup in the backseat with the other hand. There are days when you wish you could change your name and leave town without giving a forwarding address.

At some point you realize you can no longer spell-speak in front of your children because after you have spelled out the entire conversation to your spouse, your child comments on everything you just spelled. You realize you don’t know very much when you are asked questions like “What does God look like?” There will be mornings when you wake up with the theme song from Barney or The Wonder Pets echoing in your brain, and you know the entire line-up on Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel.

Co-workers will comment on your Spongebob or Barbie Band-Aid. You will have medicine in every color and flavor ever made. You will talk about poop and bowel movements on a regular basis. Things that once made you squeamish no longer do, and not every injury or illness requires an hour-long wait in the sick room at the pediatrician’s office.

Clichéd for a reason, it is true that being a mother is the most difficult job you will ever love. Crazy and chaotic, motherhood is also wonderfully balanced every time you watch your child sleep in a complete state of bliss, you witness your child accomplish something for the first time, you are given an original piece of artwork created just for you, your home is filled with the sound of honest, belly-aching laughter or your child says “I love you Mommy.”

Enjoy every minute of being a mom — even the trying ones. The time really does go by too fast, and life does not come with a rewind button.