…when you’re a mom. Ugh. That is such a frustrating phrase to hear…when you aren’t a mom. What do you mean I don’t know what all-encompassing love is really like? How can you say that I don’t understand what it means to be so tired that I could cry? Why do you think I can’t relate to your life as a mother?
Easy. Because you can’t.
My husband and I were married for three and half years before Kendall was born. During those three and a half years we were able to live our lives as carefree twenty-somethings. We went out to eat when we wanted to, drank wine when we wanted to, left the house in a moment’s notice, and were completely absorbed in our own lives. It was wonderful! Yet this carefree existence made it really hard to relate to a few of my friends who already had children. Why were they ALWAYS late? Why can’t they just get a babysitter and come to hang out with us? What do you mean you are cancelling our plans? I DON’T GET IT!
Of course I didn’t get it. How could I? When I had to get ready to go anywhere, I was free to shower in peace. I could dry my hair, put on my make-up, and spend as much time as I wanted standing in front of my closest choosing an outfit. I didn’t need anyone to babysit my dog, Chloe. She was pretty self-sufficient, so long as there was food and water left for her. And other than grave illness, there was very little that would cause me to cancel my plans.
However, once I had Kendall I slowly began to understand. Leaving the house is an art. Forget getting myself ready, how about getting a baby ready? Was she fed? Has she napped? Did I pack her diaper bag with four diapers, two clean outfits, a few toys, milk/ water, snacks, bib, spoon, etc.? What if her nap ran longer than I expected? I dare not wake her. I’m going to be late. Or how about the two dozen times we got in to the car only for her to poop at that exact moment, requiring a trip back in to the house to get changed? I understand why you were late.
Why don’t you get a babysitter? Um, how about because I don’t want to. Save for the glorious summer months, I work full-time. I am a teacher, which means that my hours of operation are from 5:00 am until TBD. School ends at 2:30 pm. My ride home takes between an hour to an hour and a half. Then once I am home I have lessons and grades that could take me until 9:00 pm to as late as 12:00 am. There is no rhyme or reason to my schedule. So when you want to plan a whole Saturday to go out and about to an event that is not at all baby friendly, do not even consider asking me to get a babysitter. Because guess what? I don’t want to. I don’t want to give up my precious time with my child to go out. Sorry. Actually, I’m not.
(And now that it is summer and I am blessed with being home all week with my little girl, I still may not want to “get a babysitter.” No offense, but listening to my daughter say, “Hop!” when I ask her what a bunny does is infinitely more fun than anything I would have been doing with you.)
As far as cancelling our plans, something has come up. My kid is sick. I am sick. I am too tired. I feel guilty asking my babysitter to come and sit with a teething baby. I have mastitis.** Any and all of these have been my very valid reasons for cancelling plans. And no, I can’t just bring my child. Unless where we are going is around the corner from my house and child-friendly, don’t even ask.
It was such a pain to hear all of the new and glorious things I would learn when I was a mom, especially when I was CERTAIN I already knew them. How wrong could I have been?! I had no idea. The love I have for my daughter is all-consuming, amazing, and miraculous. I cry thinking about it and her and how she is the greatest blessing of my whole life. I could have never perceived what that love would be like. Ever. And it is that love that has changed me. It makes me tardy for events, makes me not want to go places, and it makes me flakey, and flighty, and a different person than you used to know.
But don’t worry, you’ll understand…when you’re a mom. J
**For the record, when a woman tells you she can’t go out because she has mastitis, the appropriate response is, “OH MY GOSH! I am SO sorry. I will pray for you!” Because it is that bad.
Summer fun with my lady