Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scaring the living daylights out of friends sans children

Of course I am perfectly well-behaved ALL the time.
Of course I am!
I was at a bless-ed baby shower the other night, which for me, unless I am hosting, is like the biggest girl gab fest I can sometimes find, and I love it.  I used to not be crazy about [baby/wedding] showers. What's the big deal about a mixer, you ask?  Or, how many bibs can a little bub have?  (Not too many, I tell you, not too many.)
But now I look at them as an excellent way to get a collective mass of fun-loving, heart-throbbing people (mostly women) together to discuss the "hilarities" of life, including the good and the bad.

I was part of one such conversation Sunday night, which upon reflection, and confirmation from these gal-pals, slightly scared them from EVER wanting to have children.

What is it about moms that makes them discuss perhaps the most non-flattering aspects of parenthood?  Do we just love to torture others?  Are we sharing battle wounds?  Looking for commiseration?  
Indeed I think it is multi-faceted.

I will confess there is some enjoyment in seeing the shock on others' faces and their jaw drops because they cannot believe you just said [that].  I would give you a real example but I know I have some more prim & proper readers on this blog and don't want to make even them aghast.

There is also enjoyment in explaining to others: "This is how it really goes down."  People will tell you all aspects of motherhood are glorious and while the good most definitely outweigh the bad, there are a few parts of being a mom that are not glamorous.  Privacy, diaper poop, pumps, I mean...let's face it.  Little people are little people, still learning the ropes and don't know that generally speaking, most adults like to close the bathroom door when they need to go.

But most of all, I think there is enjoyment in relating to other women & moms that what happened to me is also happening to you...and vice versa.  There's a sense of normalcy at that point that I'm not totally absurd and my house isn't running perfectly 24/7 and nor is yours...and we're okay.

This perplexed me quite a bit pre-Mia.  I heard awful stories about crazy, ill-behaved children, sleepless nights, never going out with your spouse, and then what felt like in the same breath, a person exclaiming "I LOVE my children! I can't imagine life without them!  I love being a mommy!!!!!!!"  (With probably at least that many exclamation points.)  
I thought, okay, either you're LYING, or there's something I'm seriously missing here.

Until I had Mia.  I got it.  There are minutes, hours or days where the role of motherhood is challenging, daunting, gross, irritating, awful, despicable, unflattering, lonely, grueling.  It's true.  Just like pretty much any other job.  There are days you love it, and days you hate it.  And sometimes it takes a while to get used to it.
BUT.  And this is a BIG but.  And not a butt.  To be a mom, to have your own little munchkin(s), to be building something greater than yourself, with your best friend (who also drives you bonkers sometimes as you do to him -- let's face it, marriage ain't always a cake walk either, is it?), is one of the coolest jobs in the world.  
I told my friends, after I realized I probably scarred them for life with my "horror" stories (which are not funny as they are occurring, but are much funnier weeks & months later), that being a mom has helped me be more balanced, content, secure, and even chilled out in some ways.  Cause we all know, I was all over the place beforehand; at least I felt like I was!

So do not fear. You will hear unflattering stories. You will hear people proclaiming there's nothing better.  You will wonder what to believe.  Believe both, but know that you can also choose your 'tude and make it how you want to be.  And create a purpose that will drive you and keep you going.  It's not all drudgery but it ain't all tulips either.  It's life.

So go on, have a kid*. Don't be skeered!  It will change things, of that I will not lie.  But in my limited experience, it can improve things too.  

/The End.

*Of course if you cannot have children or do not want to have children, I do not intend to say that by not having children your life is incomplete.  Certainly not.  The Apostle Paul was not married nor did he have children and I would venture to say he lived a pretty full life.  I am only sharing this message for people earnestly contending with the idea of having children and am in no way trying to say to others that your life won't be grand if you don't have them.  It can be grand either way.  Again, choose your 'tude.  God bless.


Leah said...

Thanks for this lovely insight that is well put. I am due in July and as a first timer...I feel all the same things. Thanks again!

The Bigelows said...

Megan! This was so good- really resonated with me! We got pregnant with Ethan as a surprise, so although we were excited, I was also a little definitely wasn't on my "to-do" list yet! But once I had him, I completely and totally understood the crazy paradoxes and contradictions inherent in motherhood: crazy love and crazy frustration, loving staying home and also feeling like you're going stir crazy... And I also agree with you that motherhood has helped me (read: forced me to) chill out and loosen up, while simultaneously helping me to feel more secure and content- well put!

But I also want to say THANK YOU for being HONEST about the not so glamorous moments of motherhood, and count yourself lucky that you have friends who are too. Because although it might seem scary to women who haven't had children yet, it is sooooo comforting to new mothers to hear that they aren't the only ones who struggle! SO MANY WOMEN put up a superwoman front when talking about their children at things like that, or when they're all in coordinated outfits at church, all smiles, etc... I can tell you that I got (and continue to get) the most encouragement from friends who are REAL, like you are in this blog!

Keep on enjoying those ups and downs with your sweet Mia, and thanks for sharing them with us! :-)

Monica Crafts said...

It was a delightful conversation. I was particularly enjoying Linz face. I called her about an hour later and continued the discussion. I'm grateful to have:
1. a mother who has felt it her mission in life to communicate EVERYTHING (even when I didn't want to hear it) regarding marriage, family, sex, pregnancy, babies and children. Her mother didn't and she was determined to give us a life sans nasty suprises.
And 2. Over a decade of friendships with women like you.
Love Ya Babe!

Lindsay said...

Despite my face, I was truly enjoying the conversation as well. I had heard that your feet can grow after pregnancy. That would be less than desirable, but okay. However, I've never been privy to the information shared last Sunday night. Changes in location; yes. But not changes in size? That's just disappointing. (Is this cryptic enough?)
Anyway, I'm grateful for friends who can show me the way through open and honest discussions (and occasional word vomit). Here's to REAL friendship!

Rose said...

I'm sure you had me in mind as one of your prim & proper (prim&prop for short) readers...

But really, I'm fine with the gory details. I figure it will all work out when'er we have little ones. I think we've been more in the mode of sharing what marriage is like to our single friends. Which sometimes feels like we're frightening them.