Beginning Motherhood

The first time our eyes met,

My breath held tight,

I wore my heart on my sleeve,

As time took flight.

The evenings ahead were rough,

Daybreak gave no reprieve,

Yet it all felt so magical,

I’d stare at you in utter disbelief.

A creation of my very own,

Innocence ready to mold,

Nothing could’ve ever prepared me,

A fairytale yet untold.

Sleeplessness fueled with pride,

Filling me to the brim,

Squawking cries reverberating,

Soothed by my gentle hymn.

Sour milk breath smelling so sweet,

Nuzzling closer skin to skin,

Wonderment over this tiny miracle

Effervescence illuminating within.

With your arrival, though, time did gain wings,

Passing swiftly with a blink,

Ups and downs, milestones good and bad,

It goes too quick with our lives moving in sync.

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Blogger and Blog: Karen of Baking In A Tornado
Name of Poem: Motherhood
Blogger and Blog: Lydia of Cluttered Genius
Name of Poem: Mother’s Wish
Blogger and Blog: Dawn of Spatulas on Parade
Name of Poem: Motherhood Yo Yo
Blogger and Blog: Sarah of Not That Sarah Michelle
Name of Poem: Mother’s Day Poem: I Love You Mom
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The Dreaded Hat I Wear Today

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Over the years, I have worn many different hats in the working world. I was 12 years old when I took on my very first job as a babysitter. I moved on up through the ranks over the course of middle and high school- as a Mother’s Helper over summer vacation to part-time live-in Nanny. One year, I think I was in 8th grade at the time, I had so many clients I was balancing at once, all of whom needed my services on New Year’s Eve, that I ended up turning my living room into a temporary overnight daycare with the help of my best friend. Eight families worth of kids and the ultimate sleepover we provided them with earned us just under $400. Each!

When I turned 16 and got my license, my father and stepmother laid down the law in a manner that made sure I would continue to be a hard worker in life. They were sticklers about ensuring that I would always earn my keep because there are no free rides in life without a trust fund. And I certainly was not a trust fund baby, nor were they. In order to have unlimited access to my recently deceased grandfather’s almost decade old, teal-colored 1990 Ford Astro minivan- complete with a wheelchair lift installed in the trunk- I had to work for their in-home small business. A Security Guard service, of all things. (Makes sense, if you realize my father was also a police officer.) For the next four years, even after receiving my own first (gently used, lol.) vehicle as a graduation gift from my mother and stepfather, I dutifully fulfilled my commitment in exchange for free gas and full-coverage insurance. My job was to drive a 25-mile long circuit around a neighboring city at the ass crack of dawn and again at dusk to unlock and lock the gates for the 16 different parks they have for community use so no cars could be in the parking lot after hours. It was one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had because it was actually a lot of fun, though it took a bit to get used to getting up before the sun every day. Oh, the stories I could tell you of my adventures, but that’s not what the subject of this piece is supposed to be about.

Of course, since I was only being compensated by my parents for the gas and what not, I needed cash in my pocket to live off of. At this point, I was getting too old for watching other kids at the same times during the weekend that my friends were out partying, so I found a real job which would give me a real paycheck. At the local Bingo Hall. I ran the concession stand, providing hundreds of ornery and intolerant old ladies with coffee, popcorn, hot dogs, and candy. Again, I could tell you some hilarious stories about working there. It was another of the greatest jobs I ever had. I was heartbroken when the building was bought out by the neighboring car dealership and closed down for good.

After that was my job as a cashier at an upscale Fruit Market and Deli. Most teens and young adults in my community have worked there at some time or another and have many horror stories about how awful it was for them. I guess I’m lucky, because I loved it there, even though it wasn’t nearly as exciting as the other jobs I had had. It didn’t last more than a year before my college schedule of classes became a conflict with my scheduled shifts and the bosses wouldn’t budge an inch to work it out with me. Onto the beloved local deli-based diner as a hostess and carry-out girl. The owner was a dick, but alas, I loved that job, too. Eventually, I became pregnant with my oldest and couldn’t keep up the pace and found a position with my friend’s home daycare where I could bring my baby to work with me and focus on finishing my schooling.

It was right after the birth of my second son, one year and a day after his big brother’s arrival, that I finally got my certificate and passed the exam to become a Health Unit Coordinator. I was hired into one of the 3 major hospital corporations in our area, working the Labor and Delivery/Post-Partum/NICU/Pediatrics circuit. A Health Unit Coordinator is just an extra fancy term for the person who is in charge of the Nurse’s Stations and does all of the behind the scenes work with decoding patient charts and the doctor’s orders within, procedure scheduling, and admission/discharge paperwork. They are the backbone which keeps the nurses and physicians from having nervous breakdowns. Again, this was an amazing job full of excitement and good memories made. Unfortunately, I was hired in on a contingency basis, so after 2 years without being offered a permanent position with benefits, I had to make the choice to leave for another of the 3 hospital chains who would give me the job security I needed for my growing family. I loved that job, too. After finding out I was pregnant with my fourth child, though, my husband and I decided it was more practical for me to become a stay-at-home mom. So I did.

Almost 6 years later, I’ve yet to return to the working world again. So, if I have enjoyed all the jobs I’ve held over the years as much as I have, what could possibly be the worst job I’ve ever had?

The one I’m doing now… as a SAHM.

It sucks for me. I’m not a Pinterest kinda mom, not in the least. Nor am I well-organized, patient, or calm. I’m a blubbering hot mess of a woman and dedicating every waking breath I take to four tiny humans who push my every button, test my resolve constantly, and fire demands at me faster than my brain can process the whine, is just not fun for me. I’m eagerly counting down the days until the littlest of all begins kindergarten this coming fall so I can go back to work without exorbitant daycare costs rendering my income useless. Don’t get me wrong, I love and adore my tribe of mini-me’s more than anything, but I don’t have what it takes to spend my entire day chasing, hovering, teaching, and disciplining without any adult interactions to stimulate my crazy brain and relieve the boredom of endless monotony. I need to be more than just a Mom.

 

I have 197 days to go as of today…

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My subject was “ What’s the worst job you’ve ever had. Why?”.  It was submitted by http://www.southernbellecharm.com.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy  

Spatulas on Parade 

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 

The Lieber Family Blog 

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo 

Simply Shannon  

The Bergham Chronicles

Confessions of a part time working mom

Not That Sarah Michelle 

Southern Belle Charm  

When I Grow Up 

Climaxed

 

 

 

 

 

Having Girls, Becoming A Boy Mom

All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mother.

That is exactly what I told my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lacy – I was going to grow up to be the mom of six kids; three of my own and three adopted.

So when the time came and I became pregnant with my first child, I didn’t care what the sex of my baby turned out to be. I was happy just to be having a baby.

He turned out to be a son.

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PICTURE PERFECT FAMILY

Not even six months later, I got pregnant again. Since I had already bore a son, I thought it HAD to be a girl this time. Nothing else was a conceivable notion to be toyed with, even momentarily. A girl would make my little family picture perfect complete.

The first twenty weeks seemed to take forever to pass by, as I grew more and more excited by the day.

When the day of my ultrasound finally came, I was certain that everything in my future would be pink and purple, paisley and floral-patterned. Princesses, ballerinas, ribbons, and tulle would rule my world.

Having a little girl was all I could focus on; my heart was set on having a daughter.

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This post was published on https://www.wisdom.ninja

Raising Kids Between The Margins

There is a wall between my children and I. A barrier built just to keep their father and I out. None of us intentionally created it- it just sorta happened slowly over time. Years worth of empty promises, broken hearts, and false hope have led the very children we gave life to to mistrust us in a great way. They detest our word being given on anything, knowing good and well that we rarely follow through.

It tears me up to see that this curse of failure I live with has affected the foundation of our familial relationships. If there was a way to take it all back and do differently by them, I would. They haven’t done anything to deserve the hand life has dealt them. Not at all. They are all great kids, but the fact of the matter is that they are suffering for their parents’ mistakes. They feel the trickle down for all of the consequences we have to face for what we have done over the course of our own lives. It is beyond the point of not fair for them.

Seeing the looks on their faces every time we have to break the bad news that this, that, or the other thing cannot go on as planned, is like being stabbed in the back with the sharpest knife known to man. It brings me to my knees.    

                                                    These kids are supposed to be able to count on, rely on, their parents. Not be disappointed by them, continuously.

It’s one of those cases where I wish I had known what my future would hold way back when my husband and I were young, stupid, and reckless. Now I’m helpless to change the direction my life took all those years ago; and my kids are helpless to change the state of misery living like this has caused for them just yet. Struggling on the fine line between low and middle classes, our family gets the short end of each stick. We get no assistance because we make just a few hundred too much, but we cannot afford anything outside the basic bills. All because we were too selfish and self-centered to plan for the rest of our lives before and after marriage; before and after making a family.

Not a day goes by that some need or necessity is asked for that we have to put off until it cannot be put off any longer. Shoes are worn until toes come through the tips, bikes are left to rot because they simply need a new inner tube. We use bath towels for everything because paper towel and sponges cost too much. We have piles of dirty laundry because we can only budget in 5 loads a week, which ain’t much considering we are a family of 6 who use towels for everything. There is no eating out, not even for fast food. No family vacations, no trips to bounce zones, Chuck E. Cheese, or movie theatres. There are no sports teams with weekly practices and saturday morning games. No dance lessons. Every answer is a “maybe later” or a flat out “no”.

The kids hold it against us. Coming from families way more well-to-do on both sides plus the influence of YouTube, our kids have inside looks into the lives of other families across the globe who live above our means. There is no hiding what they are missing out on in this family. These kids have to listened to the “never enough” talk so much that they hesitate to even tell us when they need things and rarely make mention of wants. Walking on eggshells so young, in order to keep the peace and stress in our family to a minimum; it shouldn’t be this way at all. They deserve a real childhood full of freedom and innocence from the struggles of the adult world.

My kids deserve to enjoy all the luxuries childhood brings.

We don’t even have a reliable vehicle if we actually found a little wiggle room in our budget every now and again. Right now, in fact, it’s sitting in our driveway waiting until we can save enough to pay for the new wire harness and ti-rod that it needs first and foremost. There’s another dozen or so issues, but those won’t affect the way the minivan runs just yet, so they have to wait. Wait until the day they do cause serious problems and leave us stranded once more, that is.

Living between the income margins is tough living. It isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. Love overcomes all is such bullshit. If it were enough, my kids wouldn’t feel so ashamed to be part of this family. They certainly would find it in their hearts to be more comfortable being themselves around us. The kids wouldn’t feel the financial stress radiating from us. The love would be worth more to everyone than our outward appearances and material belongings. In this day and age of bigger is better and disposable materialism, it is impossible to convince my babies that less is more.

Disappointment will forever be all they know until the day they are old enough to take control of their own lives – responsibly. If there is one hope from this seemingly purgatory I  knowingly have to raise them in, it is that my children take the disdain they’re  harboring and rise above in ways their father and I never could. The future holds for them everything we, as parents, have failed miserably to overcome themselves. I cannot wait to see them make life everything they always wanted and own it proudly. Then I’ll be able to rest assuredly, that this agonizing struggle to live was not all for naught. Until then, between the margins we remain.

 

You Might As Well Be A Gorilla – When The Village Fails Its Parents

The recent incident at the Cincinnati Zoo where a young male gorilla was dispatched without care for interacting with an unharmed child after it fell into the exhibit has gotten many people into an uproar. Most of the raging controversy stems from whether or not the gorilla should have been shot dead or not. There is, however, a whole onslaught of pandemonium rising over the blame of the parents for allowing such a tragic, and deadly for the young, endangered gorilla, experience from taking place. Everyone thinks they are the worst parents now. They should be punished for neglect. They are to blame. They should have been vigilant over their child and none of this should have happened. The gorilla would still be alive if it weren’t for their inattentiveness.

But it is NOT their fault. Not alone, at least.

Only in a perfect world could it ever be remotely logical to hold those parents solely responsible. If blame must be placed and anyone needs to be held accountable, it is the entire community as a whole. Society, if you will. Hundreds of people were in that zoo. All of them congregating in the same place, yet completely unaware of one another. A place designed for families, nonetheless. The majority of these visitors were probably families with kids in tow. Everybody was only concerned about themselves, paying no heed to anything going on around them that wasn’t part of the animal attractions they were there for. All those people mingling in each other’s personal space, coming from the same common  ground as parents making memories with their children, and not one felt any sense of unity in being there together; lost in their own worlds. Where were any one of those people who bore witness to the terrifying events that occurred as the child made it’s way through not one, but two barricades before falling two-stories down into a moat of water?

OH, YEAH. That’s right. They were standing right there lost in their own memory makings with those they belong to and the animals they came to see, with no care for anyone else around.

None of the other life around them was worth their attention for a split second. Not that all the hundreds of people that were there that day were all at that one gorilla exhibit simultaneously, but I’ll be damned if there was at least one adult standing there, the news reports account at least a dozen it seems. Either way, each and every one of those people could have prevented this entire ordeal from happening. They were unaware as much as the parents who weren’t even as close, as the child had ran off a bit. As children do. It happens to the very best of parents. Grandparents. Nannies. Babysitters.

In fact, my husband and I accompanied our four year old to the zoo for a preschool field trip. She is a very curious, strong-willed, and free-spirited child who fears nothing and embraces her independence. She ran off on us no less than a half dozen times. Once while we were checking with staff about an animal who looked by all means dead in the exhibit (thankfully, the weirdos just sleep that way and it is very hard to see them breathing, even that close up). At this age, impulse control is worse than ever because the littles have gotten a taste of the existential freedoms life outside of Mom and Dad’s protective arms hold. Older toddlers and young preschoolers are hardwired for such inquisitivity to foster learning development. You may as well have a pet rodent at this stage – 3- and 4-year olds are lightening quick, rather sneaky, good at blending in, focus-driven yet simultaneously indecisive, and extremely eager to test all boundaries and obstacles, especially when they have a mission in mind needing to be accomplished. They will give their parents hell all in the name of growing up. There is no way to keep them still and tame their wanderlust, short of putting them on a leash or strapping them down to something they cannot unbuckle on their own; revoking the freedom they treasure as greatly as the love of their parents and nurtures their love of knowledge and discovery. (Good luck enjoying your family adventure after doing as much, too, because you’ll find the mood of your preschooler as constricted as they are while physically under restraint – much like the very animals they came to see.)

People wouldn’t need to worry about incidences like this one if society still held any value in the village raising the child. We could have faith that in the struggle to keep up with someone younger, prettier, and lighter on their feet all while trying to assert the boundaries and self-control you are working to instill in them, you know there is the support of the community surrounding you to back you up. To step in if it becomes apparent your child could be in serious danger. To offer you a hand when you look worn out or confused about how to handle a situation. To be a second of set of eyes, hands, and legs always present in a crowd. Not in a “you’re doing it wrong and someone needs to teach you to parent right” perspective, but in a “been there, done/doing that and we’re all just trying to figure it out and do what is best for our own families” way. It takes more than ten seconds to climb through two barriers before falling into harm’s path.

If we cared for humanity a little more and our outward appearances and possessions a little less, someone would have had eyes on that child as it slipped away.

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We are all to blame for failing not only the child, but the child’s parents and the gorilla, too, in this situation. There’s no two ways about it.

And while we’re casting the blame around instead of taking the high road of compassion, let’s bring up the fact that every single one of those bystanders who allowed the child past them unnoticed, did nothing to protect anyone but their own shared DNA by ignoring the going ons around them. Only when it was too late did anyone decide they finally wanted to get involved. By screaming. Running and panicking, like a herd of antelope with hyenas biting on their heels; no logic or reason to their actions at all, just sheer panic. Definitely not very conducive to saving the life of a child who’s fallen in the home of a scared and confused wild animal of powerful force. Or the poor animal wondering why this is all happening to his typically calm, quiet environment. Panicking is something untamed, uneducated animals do. Not humans who can think conscious thoughts and rationalize in a situation using the higher intelligence we were gifted with, being at the top of the animal kingdom and all. It didn’t take a genius to know the zoo staff would handle the crisis and any unusual noise and ruckus could make the situation go from bad to worse. Yeah, it was probably scary sight to see. There’s no denying that. Yet, here people are, verbally beating down a mother for her child’s lack of impulse control while overlooking the fact that those bystanders couldn’t even control their own impulse to freak the freak out – something that accomplished nothing more than riling up the gorilla more than it already was with the surprise package that dropped over the side of its enclosure.

Shit happens. That’s why humans are social creatures. We live in communities and build families so we can support one another. Lend help, lift each other up, and stand behind others so they can accomplish, succeed, and overcome all that life throws in the way. Trashing parents for something purely accidental, no matter how tragic the event actually was, just proves how far we have come away from our humanity, the very thing defining us above all other species. We are receding back towards the ways of our not-so distant cousins – those same overly territorial gorillas who have no problems killing others of their own kind for not being of the same bloodline. Selling each other out for a moment of superiority is something expected from an animal with no empathy or compassion, not a human being.

It is way beyond time to bring back the village mentality. Stop throwing around blame and looking to judge others for faults and failures we are all equally susceptible to. Unless, of course, we prefer to be apes again – because that is all we are doing when casting stones for the sake of a temporary sense of power – acting like the very animals we cage in the zoo. Might as well just be a gorilla then.

Resenting Motherhood

 

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I don’t want to be a mom anymore. I’m done. My nerves are shot, my fuses are short-circuiting, and my brain has backfired on cold, stale coffee for the very last time. The lone spark plug of sanity keeping me out of the loony bin has finally fizzled out. The mounting pressure has become too much for me to bear another tantrum-filled moment of motherhood. This mom is burnt the fuck out.

Sorry but I’m not sorry for admitting aloud how I feel. The little voice in the back of my head chants, “run away and save yourself”, on loop like a Scientology auditor during an audit session. Thoughts of being childless again and only responsible for my own self follows me around like, well…ughm…like my children; constantly tempting me to give in to its illicit demand. For Christ’s sake – I need space to breathe, too, dammit. Some time alone to grow as an individual would be lovely. Maybe even remember how to take care of myself again, because I am pretty sure after my billionth ass wiping, it all went out the window.

Four children, a rollercoaster marriage with The Right Guy (after The Wrong One gave the genetic data sample, which led me to motherhood in the first place), and the lack of familial support over the past twelve years has led me here. The point in my life where I resent my role as a mother.

 

Brilliantly, I managed to trash the infinite amount of unexploited potential my future still held in a matter of five, sweaty, skin-slapping, fluid-swapping, orgasmic minutes. With that guy who had no future potential once the party phase was over. Between his lack of work ethic and love of getting high, he was the farthest thing from husband and father material I would have looked for – if I had actually been looking to start that chapter in my life. Alas, I was not. This was back before the medical field thought women should be aware of the correlation between taking prescribed antibiotics and birth control medication failure. The newly embraced freedom from the unnecessarily prolonged hampering of my youth was lost forever in the bypassing of a condom, under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, at 4:26 a.m. that 16th of December. Twelve loooong and painful years ago. We had trusted in The Pill far too much.

That decision cost me everything.

Now, here I am at my fucking breaking point; being crushed under the weight of pure exhaustion and the endless amount of bullshit responsibility dumped on me. I was far from ready for it all and the struggle to keep my head on straight has become far too real. I desperately need a timeout from motherhood. From the snot, poop, vomit, farts, and spit. I want to sleep one whole night without smelling stale piss emanating from my mattress. Or being pissed on. For the love of all things holy and sacred – I just want a whole damn night’s sleep without those bratty hoodlums hijacking even the little voice of control freak level paranoia worries in the back of my head. Deciphering crashes at random while I keep one eye open for uncoordinated sleepwalkers cannot possibly be considered a good night’s sleep, in the first place. Even if my bed remains dry. I cannot escape my children, no matter how badly I need to. They are always on my heels, crawling up my ass, attached to my hip, and in my face with their milk breath (which was no longer so sweet-smelling after their first birthdays came and went).

I created the greatest Catch-22 of all time with the choices I made and I cannot help but be resentful for it. Having kids before I was fully grown and matured forced my hand to play along with the expectations of society – becoming another nuclear family stereotype in order to rectify my societal disgrace. In my depraved naivety at twenty-one, I wholeheartedly believed the fantasy happily ever after with The Right Guy would go just as I had daydreamed it to be. I have to stop and laugh at myself, now, for once thinking such girlish delusions. The Right Guy is not perfect, by any means; his own flaws will be so disenchanting at times, life can seem even harder than it needs to be. He certainly was not responsible for controlling what life handed me… and the decisions I made thereafter, either. What one brings into a marriage and supply the family dynamic with, is exactly what one will get out of it. I had to learn that fact the hard way. My struggle to grow up overnight has created the storm threatening to sink this ship that is motherhood and marriage rolled into one. My husband is already stretching himself too thin in order to allow me the luxury of being a stay-at-home-mom. It is not his duty to get a grip on my reality for me.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love my children more than life, itself. They amaze me with their continuously blossoming personalities, playful antics, and kind-hearted compassion for others. I am just so Goddamned sick of the ear-piercing whines, the sibling rivalry, the unnecessary defiance over the smallest of tasks, and the never-ending demands for everything under the sun when my hands are full and my back is breaking. Disgusted by the dirty faces, sticky hands, shitty pants, and broken record tattle-tales over petty nonsense. Motherhood has pushed every nerve I have left. OKAY!- the only nerve I have left. There is no time allotted for my self-preservation, whatsoever. I cannot even take a shit or shower alone. This mom is fresh out of fucks to give and needs an escape. STAT. Reinforcements never showed up to give her the slightest reprieve to catch her breath.

So, if you happen to see some strange woman with her dirty, disheveled hair in her fists, screeching something along the lines of “They’re coming! They found me! Hide me! Better yet, just shoot me and put me outta my misery…pretty please with a cherry on top,” don’t be alarmed. It’s just me. In the throes of a nervous breakdown, trying to save myself from those relentless children of mine who have flipped turned upside down the life I had dreamt of for myself. At least I have enough maturity and wisdom under my belt, now, to know I won’t feel this way forever. The resentment will pass, as with everything else life throws at me. Even my children.

One day, when they’ve all flown the coop and can no longer torture my sanity with pulsing migraines and bad attitudes galore, I will look back on this and resent ever feeling such resentment – for deep down under the grit of the daily grind, I know I painstakingly built this tiring, but ever-so fulfilling life out of the unconditional love and adoring affections I could never live without now. Even if it makes a lovely, albeit temporary, daydream.

My Never Ever In Becoming A Mother – SSS April

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Going into this motherhood journey of mine, I wasn’t but a kid myself. I managed to conceive the week after my twenty-first birthday, finding out about six weeks later. I freaked out because I had just spent those six weeks celebrating the legal status that came along with this milestone birthday – the one which made me a full-fledged adult in my naïve, youthful, barely grown logic.

Entering motherhood when I still hadn’t matured as an individual… still hadn’t fully experienced adulthood… still hadn’t grown out of my childhood… was a challenge in and of itself. My life was only beginning to unravel itself. Everything I knew about responsibility and stability was merely secondhand knowledge, as I had barely gotten my feet wet thus far.

Now I had to add raising a child to the mix. All the secondhand knowledge I had about that wasn’t going to get me very far. Despite spending the mass majority of my childhood looking after everyone lessens children, I knew there was so much more to being a parent than what went into babysitting. I needed to fill in the gaps my dysfunctional, alcoholic parents had left out of the equation, so I began a quest to learn how to be a “real” mother.
The first thing I did was run out and purchase every copy of the ‘What To Expect…” series- the original expecting one, the first year, and the toddler years were all covered now. But, just in case, I grabbed a copy of The Everything Baby’s First Year, The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide, and Mother & Child: A Journey from Conception to Birth. One can never have too many books, after all. I read them all, cover to cover, before I ever felt my fetus kick for the first time. I already began picturing how my journey would unfold.

Then I discovered how wonderful the creation of reality television was in the beginning of this new century. A Baby Story, A Birth Story, A Special Delivery, Make Room For Baby, Bringing Home Baby: Multiples… every episode of every season was meticulously studied and dually noted. How did mothers and fathers look and appear? What kind of lifestyles did these adults have? How did these couples interact within their marriages? What kind of celebrations did they have? What kind of clothes, gear, nursery décor, car seats, etc., did the parents choose? What was their birth plan, what type of birth, and what complications arose? My needs to know grew with every passing day.

In between the books and boob tube, I engrossed myself with baby and parenting themed magazines and milestone tracking websites. I joined chat communities. There was no end in sight to the resources I was using to fill in the empty space left by my fading youth. By the time my baby shower rolled around, I had a clear picture of exactly how my life would play out forevermore. Just like a grownup version of my favorite childhood game, M.A.S.H., I had hand-selected every critical detail of the life I would be providing for this baby. I never wanted it to grow up in a remotely related environment as I had been raised in. And certainly not in one like the deadbeat loser sperm donor had brought to the table, either. Every last detail was figured out. I knew exactly what I wanted, how I wanted it, where I wanted it, when I wanted it. Nothing was too good and perfection was required.

Then I opened my gifts.

It was all wrong. I swore I would never allow my baby to use those cheap, store-brand and knock-off dollar store items. God only knew what kind of poisonous, cancer-causing chemicals were in those products. It was MY right as the mother to decide what brands were acceptable and it seemed like I was being disrespected before my child had even been born! What was the point of having a registry if no one was going to use it?

When my son was born, I carried on with the madness. Focusing on the image of motherhood portrayed in these resources, I continued my quest. Every time, though, life handed me limes to make my lemonade with. The farther along into my journey I went, the farther away from my picture of perfection I got. The life I had expected was always just out of reach. No ostentatiously decorated nurseries. No fancy strollers. No baby scrapbooks with accompanying video diaries. The high-tech, high-class baby monitors, cradles, and swings I had coveted were out of my realm of possibilities. The adult relationship I craved was just a joke to my boyfriend – instead of a marriage proposal and a mortgage I got a defunct apartment and a second pregnancy.

The resulting disappointments gnawed at my tender heart. I allowed them the power to control my emotional state. They crept in when I was preoccupied with being in love with the living piece of my heart I wanted to hold tight and breathe in deeply forevermore. They made me feel guilty for being so young; I knew it was why I couldn’t provide all the nice things those participants of my never-ending studies had. Couldn’t even give my child parents who were joined in holy matrimony for better or worse, let alone, a farther who wanted to rise to the role of family man. Before my baby and his unborn sibling had a chance in this world, I had failed them, miserably. I felt worthless compared to those mothers I so greatly admired in their mall store bought maternity wear and white picket fenced-in suburbia homes. I said I would never, yet here I was; everything I hadn’t imagined.

Twelve years later… I am looking back at those days over four not-so little anymore heads as a married woman to good, family man, laughing at the naivety of my youth. All those things I never expected or wanted or imagined ever mattered in the first place. The whole ordeal was completely unnecessary. And insanely unrealistic. Life… motherhood… marriage… none of it can be scripted ahead of time. There is no copying someone else’s game plan, because everyone gets a very different test. I was quite the immature, materialistic narcissist when I first became a mother at twenty-one, but my children have changed me. For the better.

I am living every never I swore against and couldn’t be in a happier place. The only thing I ever needed to be the perfect mother I was hard-driven to become was love. I had plenty of that to give all along.

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My subject is: “Ahh, naivete . . . what are some things that, before you had kids, you swore you’d never do but ended up doing”.  
It was submitted by: Baking In A Tornado.  

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:
Baking In A Tornado

Southern Belle Charm

Not That Sarah Michelle

The Lieber Family Blog

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Someone Else’s Genius

My Brain on Kids

Confessions of a part time working mom

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Climaxed

Once Upon A Blue Moon Ago, You Were Still My Baby

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There is a lot that has changed since I became a mother for the first time – four children and twelve years, ago. My hair has thinned a bit, even begun to turn silver where auburn and copper highlights once shimmered from the sunlight in my deep chestnut locks. The shape of my body is no longer lean and tight as it was in my youth, but, rather voluptuous and a tad saggy around the edges these days. My previously taut skin is beginning to sag like an outstretched hair tie; crows feet and laugh lines are definitive proof of my age.

Gone are the days of experimenting with homemade baby foods, lugging around overstuffed diaper bags, and fussing over every sniffle. Blowout diapers, breast pad slippage, and the ridiculously exhausting pantomimes required before sleep is allowed, are merely just recollections of the past. I don’t go running for every little bump, crash, or ear-piercing wail- not even when “Mom” becomes a mantra instead of my name. My subconscious learned to decipher between typical overdramatics and sheer panic long ago.

Back then, my name was even different. They called me “MaMa”. It is a time I  long for again. A magical place in time I can never go back to no matter how much my heart yearns.

Once upon a Blue Moon ago, in a far away dream land… my children were still newborn babies. Sweet smelling bundles of joyful bliss and tender-hearted innocence. Lively, eager, and full of exuberance, they brought light into my dim world.  Brighter than any sun could shine upon the wastelands of my heart, my little ones lit up the darkness of my lonely, bitter, old soul. Without saying a word, they could keep me chattering endlessly – to them and about them. There was so much to be said of those precious hearts of mine. The wonderment of it all was joyously overwhelming at times, but,  so fulfilling.

As infants, their every need solely depended on me – Mama. Every waking moment, regardless of the hour, they relied upon my nurturing instincts for their survival. So small and helpless. Itty bitty, football-sized alien immigrants who were quite figuratively, deaf, dumb, and blind to the world. Our only discourse came through the exchange of emotional energy. It truly is a beautiful thing to see, if you get a chance to watch a mother and child communicating so intensely without ever speaking a word. A language only understood by them – two souls in perfect harmony. Those moments exemplified absolute mindfulness and the deep-rooted bond between mother and baby. Those moments consumed me.

With each birth, I found myself wasting away the subsequent days in admiration of my new little one. I wished I could suck every last second I had with them into a vortex of time, sending them into an eternal dream land full of the memories I never wanted to forget. A place unlike regular memories, where I could relive the moment as real as it once was. Even in the moments when the sleepless nights and colic seemed too much to bear, one look into the loving, undoubtedly trusting eyes of my infant and feel my calm return. Every movement… Every sound… Every expression they made, I was obsessively fascinated with and irresistibly enamored by. The only perfection I had ever witnessed in my lifetime. So hard to believe I made them.

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Milestones were celebrated like national holidays- which were celebrated, in return, like sixteenth birthday blowout extravaganzas. Their first and second birthdays were always ostentatious productions of hoopla and hokum; none of which would even be remembered. At the time, though, the endless giggles and incessant squeals of delight erupting, made my heart swell with pride as my babies toddled around taking in the festivities. I would do it all over again, if I could. Nothing was too good for my little rays of sunshine. Every day spent with them was worth celebrating and that’s a good reason for throwing a party for my cutie pies as any. They were the stars of their own shows back then.

Those baby days felt like being on a runaway rollercoaster all of the time. An older, wooden structure type, to be precise. The coaster keeps zooming through the station, refusing to stop and let its passengers unload as it loops the track over and over again. Bumpy and nerve-rattling, the ride can be challenging to endure both mentally and physically. Miraculously, though, the following adrenaline response allowed me to push away from the negativity of the experience and embrace the  exhilaration of the ride. Life never felt so full. So grand. So amazingly perfect.

The magic inside my babies proved to be contagious – spreading light, love, laughter, and liveliness wherever they went. It was a constant rush of pleasure to be with them when they were happy and full of joy. There was a humbling sensation of pride felt when I finally soothed my miserably teething baby to sleep. It was refreshing to my soul to see a miniature replica of my face light up every time it saw mine appear above. So many feelings were evoked from one bundle of love.
The tears, the tiredness, and the mental breakdowns have long been forgotten about; such distant memories are hidden beyond my mind’s reach, lost forever.

Only traces of the enchantment which beheld me for so many years lingers, waiting to be called upon when my heart needs its fill. Waiting for me to escape into that dream land I created, holding spent time.

For now, those babies are already halfway grown children. Time is already working on changing my oldest two, again, as puberty has begun to transform them, once more. The magic within my babies has withered with their innocence over the course of rising moons. No longer alienated to the ways of the world, my children are out of tune with the heartsong we once shared; they are marching along to a beat I no longer hear inside me. Independence has become their main objective, and the tiny little hands, which held onto a single of my fingers with such powerful grip, have grown to be the size of mine and let go for good. My hand has never felt so cold before.

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I am still continuously in awe of all that my children are becoming and learning to do, but, now, it seems,  they are no longer as fascinated by me. Nevertheless, I continue on as their biggest fan in life – taking in the moments of laughter and joy, as I have always done. Even if it annoys them greatly for me to do so. I am their mother, I know of nothing else but cheering them along. Encouraging them to reach farther, climb higher, fall harder, get up faster, dream bigger, and wish on brighter stars… it is all I have ever done since they became mine. My babies.

It is sad to have said goodbye to the days where magic was alive and the light emanating from within my babies shined brightly upon my home. It was a time unlike any other I have ever experienced and I can feel an ache in my heart where I long to go back to months after they were each born, just for a little while. One last snuggle against my chest where their whole body actually fit, nestled against mine tightly. One last soulful eye gaze, as we stare so deeply into each other’s eyes while my baby nourishes his sweet, round, soft tummy. One last deep breath, taking in the glorious smell that is pure baby, which can never be replicated nor can anything ever smell as scrumptiously good. Just. One. More. It was all over before I was ready.

Time has changed so much from where we started. When I was a young, first time mom to a baby boy I had no idea what to do with. I am wiser, calmer, and more liberal as a parent than before. My children are much larger, louder, and sarcastically wittier than ever. My babies have all but disappeared into these young ladies and gentlemen I have before me today. I still cannot believe I made these children of mine. But I did… once upon a Blue Moon ago.

By: Kristina Hammer, aka, The Angrivated Mom