She's Cute, But Sometimes It Sucks

A colleague of mine often brings in her husband's TO DIE FOR key lime pie whenever there's a staff function that involves food. It's my absolute favorite among the potluck options, and that first bite never fails to pack a mighty zing.

That's parenthood.

When you first bring your kid home, it's a shock to the system much like that tart zap to your taste buds. But, after a few bites months, routines emerge and you become acclimated. You find yourself staring at this warm sweet-smelling bundle that mews like a kitten.

Everyone has their own version of parenthood, and their own stories to report. I'm incredibly skeptical of any Mom out there who claims that motherhood is simply "the best thing ever." The end. No, not the end. That sentence, in my world, gets a significant revision: Motherhood is amazing, fulfilling in a way no one can explain, but there are moments, and occasionally days, when even though she's the cutest thing ever, motherhood can suck. When you just want to call a time-out, but you can't.

Uh-huh. That's truth for you folks. Real life. If it sounds harsh and not all Anne Geddes then you're not being realistic.

Honest to god, I love my kid. I love her as wide and deep as the ocean. Love, as I've said before, is almost a trite word when I begin to attempt to encompass what I feel about this little creature. It's too big, too nebulous to fit into four letters. But loving her does not mean that all moments are to be treasured. When you have a baby, people like to preach, "Cherish every moment." That's all well and good, but I've learned you can love someone, and still not like a moment with them.

Let's face it, how can you expect me to cherish my kid when she's miserable and cranky? You want me to cherish her when I'm wiping up the shitty blowout diaper that has defied gravity and magically climbed up her back? These are not treasured moments; they can be memorable (after some space and time), but they're not to be cherished.

And thinking this way does not make me a bad mother. What it does is make me honest. No pretense. The good and the bad. Kind of like marriage. When you take those vows, what are you truly pledging to do? Stick around when times are good? Nope, that's the easy stuff. You're promising to yourself, to your betrothed and to whomever is witness that you're going to stick by your partner when the shit hits the fan. Likewise, when you become a mother, you silently vow to stick with this kid through it all - the poop and the smiles.

Last Friday night, my baby came down with a fever. Saturday she was miserable. I mean inconsolable, cranky, clingy, didn't want to eat - a mess. Buckets of tears. We were convinced an alien had abducted our child. This was NOT a day I cherished. Sunday was better, but then Big Red noticed a developing rash on her when it was time for her bath. A call to the on-duty nurse revealed a suspicion of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, which consequently, we knew was running rampant among kids. You know what some of my first thoughts were?

1. I hope she gets over this quickly.
2. Dammit, now she can't go to school on Tuesday and Thursday, and I won't get any downtime.

Yup. I'm admitting it - I thought of myself. And I felt a little like an asshole for it, but if you've ever had a sick kid, you know that when they're sick, everything stops, nothing gets done, and you're as miserable as long as they are. We won't even talk about the worry factor - cause it's always present and turned up considerably when your babe becomes ill.

Yesterday, I was feeling sorry for her, and still a little for myself, but decided we needed to get out of the house. It was day 3.5 of this dreaded "disease," but she was weathering it well, and good enough for a quick field trip to the store. While in Babies R Us, we ran into another mama who was looking at neck supports that go into car seats. We chatted quickly about how we liked some of these ideas, and in the midst of our discussion, she mentioned that her son has cerebral palsy.

Okay Universe, I hear ya. Loud and clear. All it takes is one moment, a life hip-check to snap you out of whatever mood you're in. My kid is healthy by all stretches of possibility and a little dumb HFAM is nothing compared to larger issues that others face. Got it.

Lucy is on the mend, her appetite has returned, and she's nearly all herself. We are several bites into our key lime pie, and enjoying each other's company again. I know, I'm certain, we are in store for more less-than perfect moments - that's just how it goes, and I'm not going to beat myself up for wishing I could escape once in a while. It's not worth it. Perfection, Supreme Motherhood, and "It's the best thing ever. The end." It's all unreasonable and unattainable.

I love her, I am thankful for her existence and yes, I wouldn't change a thing - but I can also admit that there are moments that suck.

The end.

1 comment:

katiemoe said...

Thank you for writing this. It takes courage and insight to share this honestly. I couldn't second it more.