You know how they name that guy Flounder on Animal House? I’m identifying all too well with him.
I used to know who I was. I may not have always been a very good me, but I was me. I was an aspiring if not progressing writer, blogger, photographer, teacher, aunt, wife, and gunner. I think I have officially turned into a mom and a mom alone. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t take that lightly. It’s a huge effing accomplishment to just survive motherhood, if you ask me! I can’t freaking imagine a mother out there who doesn’t agree! In fact, I now fully understand why Mother’s Day was created!
I remember when I was on maternity leave and Jimmy Fallon had just had his second child and he said his greatest accomplishment was being a dad. No shit. I’ve walked beans with a bean hook. I have washed the balls of a bull. I have worked in the hood and eaten at the Burger King on 30th and Ames at night. In all of my life, NOTHING has been scarier, harder, or more challenging than being a parent. Wait. I take that back.. The damn rope in PE was much harder. I never could do that damn thing. But other than that – hardest task ever! Is it worth it? Hell to the yeah.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I feel like I should say what no one else has the guts to. Everyday, I hear people spouting off about how glorious motherhood is and how it is the most rewarding thing in the world and it makes them glow. Well, I call bullshit. It is the most frustrating, guilt-ridden, time-consuming thing ever. Do I love her smiles, giggles, and blowing bubbles? Most definitely. When she’s sick, do I feel helpless and like the worst mom ever? Um, yeah, but when she grabs for my hand when she’s coughing, nothing makes me feel more needed. Do I feel like I’m failing miserably at everything else? Most definitely. It’s hard to be a mom. It’s exhausting and terrifying and everything in between. I’ve been through more bacon, ice cream, and chocolate than I care to think about. I love my daughter dearly. You couldn’t pry her out of my cold, dead hands, but parenting is not for the weak and pathetic. Holy crap on a diaper, a shoe, and a cracker!
I saw how much work my sisters put in. I saw that Carol Brady desperately needed Alice. I put off being a parent for years telling my spouse it was too hard and I wouldn’t be good at it. He changed my mind and thank God for that. However, people be warned, if you texted me, emailed me, called me, or told me 2700 times about something, I’m probably still going to forget it! If you knew me pre-baby, you know I am a control freak, anal retentive, on-top-of-things kind of person. That blew up on me like a zit on an oily teenager! I have forgotten meetings I was in charge of. I have paid bills via credit card so they wouldn’t be late. I have gone multiple weeks without shaving my legs. I have a list of tasks longer than Santa’s and my only excuse is a 16 pound slobbering, chattering squiggleworm that trumps everything. But here’s what I’ve concluded: after spending all of second semester trying to finish Helen Fielding’s Mad About the Boy, I realized she was speaking to me, that my focus on little girl and my inability to keep up with anything else was the answer.
The quote was: “I just sat there and thought, ‘This will just have to do. Me. The kid(s). Just let the days flow by.’ I didn’t feel sad, really. I couldn’t remember the feeling of not having to do the next thing. Not having to squeeze the last second out of the day. Or find out why the fridge was making that noise.
And I’d love to say something marvellous came out of it. But it didn’t, really. My bum probably got fatter or something. But I sensed a sort of mental clarity emerging. A sense that what I needed to do now was find some peace.”
Exactly. Maybe I was trying too hard to be too many things… Or maybe I wasn’t…Maybe that’s just who I am…mom or not. So this is me – the new me – squeezing the life out of the last seconds of the day – trying to return to the living, blogging world and the working mom world and the creative-for-a-cause-in-Oakland world and the student world as I try to take classes to make more money at my job and the wife world who makes sugar-free chocolates just because OR, on any given day, I might be the complete contradiction because, well, that seems to be how I’m rolling these days and I might be in my just-saying-no-because-I-have-a-kid world because, ultimately, I may be going back to my hectic ways, but she’s still going to matter most.
So should you be prepared for me to screw up some of it? Should you expect me to forget to pick up milk or not text you back? Should you expect fewer blogs than the old Bolton Carley? Yes – on all fronts. Should you still expect to laugh at me and with me? I sure as hell hope so. And in the meantime, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who’ve made it through! You deserve a chocolate bar and a cool mill. Sorry, I can’t give it to you. I’m too busy Spray ‘n Washing spit-up!
Do you have a piece of advice? Do you have an epic fail or success due to your children to share? Do you have something to say about me being dumb enough to still try to overachieve? Well, let’s hear it.