Monday, December 11, 2006
Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in "Mommy- mode"
This past August my in-laws made a trip down to the "Crik" for a brief visit and to see the sites of our little town and its surrounding metropolis of Charleston. That took all of one day. The rest of the time we spent chatting, eating, and having an all around good time. For me, it was an especially noteworthy visit as I hadn't had much contact with adults other than my husband and parents for about four months at that point. So, they could've come down and stared at the floor for 3 days, and I probably would've been thrilled. Lucky for me, they are remarkably intelligent, warm, and fun people, making the visit all the more inspiring.
Anyway, in the course of conversation, my sister-in-law pointed out that I have been in, "mommy-mode," for approximately 3 years now, and the thought has stuck with me ever since.
For those of you that don't know my immediate history, let me bring you up to speed. Three and a half years ago, I began a period of my life that I like to call the, "reproductive epoch." It all started with an offer to donate eggs to a dear friend of mine struggling with infertility. After several months of repeated visits to the fertility clinic, many vials of blood, one month of daily injections, and a "harvest", three little eggs found their way out of a petri dish and into her uterus. Today they are two beautiful little boys and a dream come true. And up until that point, it was the best thing I had ever done with my life.
Then I found MYSELF pregnant six months later and only two months after getting married. Nine months later, Emma graced us with our presence on 9/9/ 04, and I began my new role as, "stay-at-home-mom." Exactly nine months after that, I found myself pregnant again, this time with Nicholas. And again, nine months passed and we became a family of four. Emma is now 2 years and three months, and Nicholas is.....9 months old. So, I'm sure you can understand that given our luck with the number 9, I'm a bit weary to acknowledge Nicholas' 9 month anniversary for fear that there's yet another reproductive surprise waiting around the corner. And quite frankly, I know that my body, mind, and spirit can't handle any more....particularly my body. I'm DONE! I have two healthy, beautiful children, and that's it for me. No more baby making, eggs, embryo, pregnancy or otherwise. My body has done enough for this family, especially considering that both kids were breastfed for 9 months each as well. I formally reclaim my body here and now.....if only I could reclaim it in its pre-baby making days!
As for my mind and spirit, well, I'm still a, "stay-at-home-mom." So, my biggest decisions during the day tend to revolve around things like how to hide peas and spinach in meatloaf, how to keep little hands out of light sockets despite the fact that they've learned to open the safety covers, and how best to facilitate the bowel movement of my constipated infant. I know....vegetables, safety, and poop....thrilling. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids dearly. But quite frankly, being home with two small kids under the age of 2 and a half is frustrating part of the time, mind-numbing most of the time, and psychologically exhausting ALL of the time. It tries the patience in ways that I never thought possible. And so, I have my days when I've reached my wits end, and the slightest thing sets me off.
I remember one such occasion when in the midst of the third toddler melt-down of the day and Nicky's 7th poopy "incident", "Potty-Time Elmo" had uttered the words, "Oops, accidents happen," one too many times, and he found himself 30 feet out in the yard after being hurled there from the back porch while I growled, "OOPS! ACCIDENTS HAPPEN J****SS!" (I beg your pardon.) And this was all before 10 in the morning. I know, I know, it's not the most mature or even sane way to handle my frustration, but in my defense, it did make me feel better, it prevented me from taking my frustration out on my kids by yelling at them, and Emma had finished playing with him prior to his taking to the not-so-friendly skies. And for those of you that are worried about our dear, little, red, furry friend, he's been recovered and sits comfortably on his potty on a shelf at my mom's house where he's visited once a week, which is just about as much as I can stand of him.
So, needless to say, the last 2 years and 3 months have been a learning experience. I've learned that I am a person who once thought of herself as patient, and then I had kids. I've learned that my fuse can be very short if presented with enough poop, tears, tantrums, sleeplessness, and whining. I've learned that ANYTHING can be hidden in meatloaf made with enough ketchup, and thereby consumed by the unsuspecting toddler palette (and no, I have not abused this little discovery, although the thought has crossed my mind once or twice). I've learned that wearing work clothes as opposed to "mommy" clothes does make you feel a bit more adult during the day. I've learned that when trying to put together furniture or hang picutres, ALWAYS have an associated activity for your 2 year old toddler to do nearby that doesn't involve your tools, hardware or furniture pieces, or these things WILL go missing or get broken. I've learned that with two small children in the house, if you can find the time to shower and get dressed by 11am, you're 2 hours ahead of schedule! I've learned to always make extra breakfast for myself because even though Emma has wolfed down a bowl and a half of cheerios and half a banana, she will ALWAYS want some of whatever I'm having. I've learned that child-proof gates are only child-proof if your child is deaf, dumb, and blind. Otherwise, they will carefully study the operation of said gate and have it mastered in a matter of hours. And I've learned that no matter how mind-numbing or frustrating my days can sometimes be, when I reach the end of my life, I won't wish that I had spent more time on my career or at the office during these days (thanks for reminding me of that mom). I'm lucky to have this time with my kids, even if it means we make quite a few sacrifices. Now if I could just figure out a way to get paid for all this work.....