You’ve heard them. You may even be one of them. Without a whole lot of whining you dare to vent a tiny little fact related to how challenging your life has become with your (now seven months old) little bundle of joy, and Super Mom smiles and replies: “But they [children] are worth it”. Personally, I want to punch this woman in the face. Instead, I reply “Are they?”, and I quickly dismiss it with a laugh and an of course they are. And yes, of course children are worth it… As long as they don’t eat me alive.
During the last months I’ve gone through all kinds of feelings about motherhood. I’ve been deep down in the hole, and then up in the clouds giggling and playing with my tiny terror. All those times I have wanted to type my heart out on this site, and I’ve held my hand for fear. A huge tremendous fear of being judged. And worse: Being judged by my own. But you know what? I’m kind of tired of that. If you’re going to judge me, then, forget you Super Mom… and Super Dad (as if a full-time working dad could, really).
My beautiful baby is now crawling, and pulling himself up, and bumping his head and bottom many times a day. He follows me around wherever I go. I can’t go quick to the kitchen to get a glass of water without having to interrupt this tiny “me” thing to go and protect him from falling on the kitchen floor, or hurt himself with the bouncy seat he always finds on his way to the kitchen. No longer can I do anything else while Joaquin is awake, other than chase his butt and watch him play. And of course, he doesn’t tolerate even one minute in the playpen. This, more than breastfeeding… more than sleep deprivation… more than c–section recovery… more than almost anything in the world, is a slow cruel death for me.
Go ahead: Tell me I shouldn’t want anything else but take care my child… Tell me it will only last so much… Tell me that you would trade all your problems and take care of my baby instead… Tell me that I shouldn’t have had a baby… Tell me anything that won’t sound like you understand me, and I’ll slap you. I also prefer being with my baby than having your problems, but loving my child has NOTHING to do with the fact that I also have needs beyond a shower and a meal, and I must draw the line somewhere. Or I’ll die.
This week, after numerous neglected invitations, I finally joined Facebook. Within two hours I had already connected with two old friends from high school. That same night I chatted with one of them. The 30something–year–old version of her was even cooler than what I remembered. She asked me bluntly how I felt about my new life as a mom, and I told her the truth… This week’s truth. She has a three–year–old little boy, and we engaged in a wonderfully refreshing conversation where I didn’t feel like a heartless villain. Instead, I felt validated in my need to keep my dreams alive, and do whatever I can to steal a little time for myself.
This is the kind of moms I would love to be surrounded by. Moms who are not afraid to admit that this is the toughest job on earth… That a few times they feel they can’t wait to get out. Women like me, very far away from the “Super Mom” model. Flesh and bones, with dreams, and the cojones to draw the line a little closer to ourselves while still loving our children.