It takes a Village to be more than a Mom

I consider myself a realist, if not even veering off into pessimist at times. I don’t like “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best” as it’s an emotionally exhausting way to be, but I naturally do it because I’m an anxious person.

I recently posted that I wasn’t sleeping well to facebook and had immediate responses from several moms telling me that I should “just get used to it.” Implying that lack of sleep would be “all I get” when the baby is here.

Ever the person who remembers that people are icebergs – wherein 90% of their mass (emotions) lie below the surface. It annoys me to no end that my sleep deprivation had to do with anxiety attacks and nothing to do about being a mom. In fact, I’m a mom right now, but I’m not only a mom.

Lately though, it’s everything I can do to keep chanting what Amy Poehler writes so poignantly about other mothers in her book Yes Please!. “Good for her. Not for me.”

I’m trying to pick myself up, and it feels like I’m alone sometimes. I can’t help but deal with the weight gain and the fact that I’m giving up my “status” at work as able to stay late or come in early or to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Sure, I’m giving up plenty of things that I used to have, and may never or won’t have for some time coming. Disposable income. Size 6 dresses. Late nights out of dancing.

I want to be a mom more than anything, and I’m happy to give up those things, but I’m not thrilled about people reminding me what a hopeless, lifeless, lifelong, death march motherhood apparently is. I have a hard enough time with my current state dealing with day to day. I realize when a child gets here I will have no sleep, no sex drive, no social life, nothing – but perhaps it’s more I won’t have that in the “same way” that I used to.

I will have a whole new normal to adjust to – and I’m excited about that.

I’m excited that I will get a fresh start on parents who become friends who go to day care and understand the woes of first time mommy hood. I am excited that my husband and I have to change our schedule of everything up partially because we are so comfortably in a rut now that I love it, but I could see any routine getting stale after a year or two. I’m excited that I will be up for hours with my son, because I realize in ten years, or even five, that moment will be gone, and something else will replace it.

I knew this is what I’ve wanted since I knew what motherhood was, and spent many years crying tears watching my exhusband go through his medical struggles, accepting we would never have kids. Then I went through four years of what was the most ignorant relationship and self esteem murder I could have put myself through. But I did that all with good reason – because those experiences placed me where I am now. The fact that I’m even here, let alone over the moon with my husband who made this child with me, I can’t even imagine that I’m here. I just can’t. I often  ask Ray if the baby is still in there. Because it’s just amazing to me. Shocking even.

I got everything I ever wanted and never thought I could have. You can’t BUY this. You can’t even EARN it. Ray said that the other day – we were just meant to be – there’s nothing I could have done to get me here. There’s no way I’m going to spit in the face of God’s plan and be made to feel shitty about it.

It’s heartbreaking to me to have mom’s tell me how little sleep, and how horrible their lives have become. It hurts me for their own children’s sake. I know I’m probably sounding like the biggest and naive-st freshman out there when it comes to all the knowledge that these moms have and that I haven’t experienced it yet. I know that I will have puke on my dress, or that my child will get sick, or that I will forget the concept of sleeping in or what being “put together” even means.

I knew the whole time what I was getting into. I know it’s going to be hard. I’m tired of being told by others that the only thing I am is a Mom. Nope. I’m not. I’m a wife. I’m an analyst. I’m a band booster. I’m a oil and gas group member. I am a swing dancer. I’m a crafter. I’m a friend. I’m a daughter. I’m a photographer. I’m many things. I know Mom will be the title that requires the most work, but I’m tired of that being the only thing that I am, as it’s not the only thing that defines me.

If I want my child to be “all the things”, I need to maintain being “all the things” with my child. We forget that we’re still other things other than moms. We have husbands. We have fashion wants. We have body issues. We have interests. We have jobs. We have aspirations. Those things didn’t die just because we added something amazingly massively life changing to the mix, they just got reallocated. They aren’t gone. and guess what,there are ways to join kids in! I swear to God I know there’s a way to have it all. I’m hell bent on making sure I get it. Life is too short, too big, and too amazing to go around wearing one label for the rest of my life.

Why can’t we all work together and do that? Why do we spend our time doling out the pessimistic advice and tearing down those who we could be using to lift us up?

I guess in the end, if I have to be the lifter of the doom cloud, is that why don’t moms lift each other up? I mean, I have so many mom friends. but very few of them seem to want to actually gather together as a force to be reckoned with. I don’t want someone to be naive and in denial about what I’m about to journey in on, but whatever happened to “Yes! Those hours of missed sleep suck! What can I do to help!” …..or “Let’s meet for a playdate so you don’t feel alone and we can vent and destress while our kids get exercise!”….or “Hey! Nice new stroller, let’s go do squats and grab a smoothie while pushing them because lord knows I want to get postbaby body a little more managed!”….instead it feels like we retreat to our corners and lose sight of the idea that it “takes a village”. I don’t care how tired I am. I don’t. I can’t have a plan, because planning is a futile exercise – but I do have a goal. and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my child watch me not achieve what I want to. Not at their expense, but finding our own way to do it all. One of the few things I want to make sure they do is learn how to get the things they want by using what they have and that what they want, no matter how massive or outside the lines it seems, is achievable.

Instead of treating me like the new kid to a school and banishing me to eating by myself at lunch, what if we took just a bit of time to remember the positive, to lift each other up in such a time of uncertainty. Remind each other what an amazing gift life is – whether your a Mom or not. Every day we get to live on this Earth is a gift. Share that. Remember that. OWN IT. Quit telling me I need a lack of sleep to earn my stripes – remember that this stripe can’t be earned. This is fate where I am. Deal with it.

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One Response to It takes a Village to be more than a Mom

  1. Patty says:

    First of all, I’m sorry it’s all anxiety driven to your sleepless night. And I had posted the comment about baby training as a tease, didn’t realized that you may not be in the mood to be teased. As people inevitably will tell you how to be a mom, how to do this or that with the baby, that comment on FB was done in jest. I too went thru working crazy hours in my ‘condition’, but I was doing it for me and my career. And I agree, we are alot of things not just a mom, though, I will never trade that for anything else. Know that you’re not alone, we’re not making you sit at the cafeteria eating lunch by yourself, I think we were all saying that more as a empathetic – yep sistah, we’ve been there, can totally give you the ‘Amen’; as opposed to, haha newbie, you’ll have yours, earn your stripes than come and talk to us. We can’t offer you more sleep since we’re lack of it ourselves, but we can offer you our deliriousness and our sillyness. We are your network of support, whether you want it or not, we are here for you. 🙂

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