Nothing anyone could have said, even if I was willing to listen, could have ever prepared me for life as a mother. Even concepts that I thought I grasped beforehand, I really didn’t. But the one that I want to shout from the roof tops to anyone considering becoming a mother (even though I know they won’t listen or fully understand it until they’re in the role) is that you are never NOT a mother.
You’re the one getting up at 2 am. And 3 am. And 4 am. And 4:15am. And 5am, and then actually starting the day as if you’ve had a full night of sleep at 6:15 am. Yes, in some cases there is a father or someone to help with the middle-of-the-nights but, let’s face it, if the wee one is crying, you’re awake regardless of how hard you try to sleep through it.
You’re the one doing the mental checklist of your purse before dashing out the door to run quick errands, because you know the one time you don’t bring a change of pants for her will be the time she blows out everywhere in the middle of Target, or the one time she is teething in the middle of Home Depot and Sophie the Giraffe is on the counter at home, or the one time you muster up the courage to buy a new pair of jeans for “your new body,” your wallet will be in the other diaper bag.
You’re the one obsessively checking your phone when you’re having a night out, even though you know your child would have to be bleeding profusely in the back of an ambulance before your parents who are graciously babysitting would contact you. You’re the one trying to limit yourself to showing ONE picture to your hairdresser when you finally schedule that haircut. You’re the one trying your hardest to not be the first to mention the baby on date night even if it means talking in vague references.
You’re a mom when you just want to finish reading that article, when you want to go to the bathroom alone, when you want to sleep for 5 more minutes, when you just want to eat supper without someone yelling, crying, or touching you. You’re a mom who still needs to cook, clean and rake the yard. Life does not stop just because you became a mom.
But life does change. It’s only on the bad days when your father-in-law calls to say he is stopping by with your husband’s uncle to see the house that you weren’t planning on cleaning until tomorrow, especially since the baby’s morning nap was a disaster and she won’t let you hold her but she also won’t let you put her down and you only got bits and pieces of sleep the night before and you can’t remember where you put your coffee down, but it’s probably with your cell phone, that other sock and… wait… what was I saying? Oh right… it’s only on the bad days that you find yourself not wanting to be in the mom role for just one hour, whether it’s to nap, leave the house, or sit quietly in a corner and just pretend you’re not a mom. But even then you know you can’t turn the “mom” off.
It turns out being a mom isn’t a role you can play, or pause. It’s part of who you are, and you can’t just step away from yourself. You are always a mom. You may be many other things as well, which are just as important and just as valuable, but you are always a mom.
And I wouldn’t want it any other way.