For as long as I could remember I have wanted to be a mother. I dreamed about my pregnancies, I dreamed about what it would feel like to experience labor and delivery, and I longed for the days when I would be at home with my little tribe of beings. We’d play, I’d make amazing nutritious lunches, the TV would rarely be on and my children would certainly never use a tablet much less a smartphone. They’d ask me to read to them and we’d have afternoons where I’d spend hours reading and creating memories. The house, of course, would be totally easy to maintain. It didn’t take long for me to realize how flawed my dreams of motherhood was when I actually became a mother.
I didn’t know being a mother would be this hard.
I didn’t know the havoc pregnancy would wreak on my body and mental state.
I didn’t know how long and how hard I would have to work to get my body recovered from pregnancy.
I didn’t know the pure exhaustion I would feel at the end of each day.
I didn’t expect for my heart, who for so long desired to be a mother, to feel constantly divided into two pieces. One piece devoted to my children and the kind of mother I want to be; the other part constantly wanting to find that woman that I was before I became “mom.”
I didn’t know that there would be times when I would long to turn on that TV.
I didn’t know that the “Paw Patrol” theme song would become the sweetest sound to my ears. Why? Because for at least 21 minutes I can enjoy the sound of silence. Oh no, not silence in the way I was expecting but in the absence of 5 million questions about what we’re going to do today, tomorrow, and the day after that.
I didn’t know that there would be times when my husband and I would feel like two ships passing in the night because we can’t get a word in from the minute he sets foot in the door and I can’t seem to stay awake past 10 p.m.
I didn’t know that me, being the extrovert that I am, would crave alone time and silence.
I didn’t know that along with this beautiful job of being a mother would I have more experiences of being puked on, peed on, pulling juicy boogers out of my child’s nose and that all of those acts would be utterly and completely normal to me.
I didn’t know how much help I would need in caring for these little animals and this building we call our home.
I didn’t know how challenging it would be to ask for help much less accept it from those around me.
I didn’t know how much my heart would break when my child struggles; whether it’s something small like a skinned knee or something major like a developmental delay that is just not right.
I didn’t know that letting my child take those steps of independence would make me feel so lost at who I am.
I didn’t know that my home life would not be quiet, subdued or filled with flowery fields reading books all afternoon.
I didn’t know that I would have to manage and juggle between dance lessons, swim lessons, early childhood classes, music lessons and every lesson under the sun.
I didn’t know how lonely I would feel with a sleeping babe in my arms.
I didn’t understand that the friends I had who became parents long before I did weren’t being rude when they interrupted me 10 times during our phone conversation to tell little Susie to “knock it off and get off of the table.”
I couldn’t comprehend how sad I would feel sending my first baby off to Kindergarten or how I would mourn the loss of his infancy.
I had absolutely no idea how angry my own children could make me feel.
Every single day I experience joy and frustration, accomplishment and defeat. Every day I wake up with a “to-do” list and every day I go to bed having only crossed off two or three things on my list. Every week my husband comes home at least once to a complete war zone. He looks at me with this look of question in his eyes that says, “What did you do today?” All I can say is, “Life. I did life today.” I didn’t expect that despite all of these frustrations, unplanned scenarios and bumps that motherhood has thrown into the middle of my life I would look at my child at the end of each day and say, “I love you; you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”