Why We Do What We Do

February 17, 2011

This week has been one of those weeks during which I find myself fully convinced, every hour upon the hour, that I am not cut out for this motherhood thing. Sure, I hear you say, but isn’t that every week for you? To which I respond, why yes, Clever And Careful Reader! That is indeed every week for me!

Here’s the thing, though: although I struggle with the slog of motherhood – the diaper-changing and the bum-wiping and the mopping up and the sibling-boxing-match-mediating and the struggling to not get buried under towering mounds of laundry and the cooking food that immediately gets rejected because this is not spaghetti Mommy you know that I wanted spaghetti and the chasing of naked batshit sprites WHO WILL NOT GO TO BED and the wrangling of snotty toddlers who are not well enough to go to preschool but totally well enough to turn the living room into Cirque Du Saggy Pants and the exhaustion, sweet hell, the exhaustion – and although I worry that I am keeping up adequately with the work of motherhood, I do truly love the love of motherhood.

I love the cuddles and the rasberries and the sweetness of flushed cheeks and the powdery smell of freshly diapered toddler bum and the way that Emilia’s hair sticks up in the morning and Jasper’s ability to name every single train in the Thomas canon and the tiny clothes that get scattered everywhere because even though the fact they’re scattered annoys me, the moment that I pick up a wee sock or a pair of fuzzy footie pajamas I cannot help but smile, thinking of the tiny bodies that fill those clothes. I love Emilia’s lopsided smile and her crazy style rules and the way that Jasper yells OH HELLO MOMMY in a tone of delighted surprise every time that he sees me, even if I’ve only just stepped out of view for a moment. I love them with every particle of my being, and then some, and I love being their mother, and I love all of the loving that they bring into my life, and Kyle’s, and sometimes I love it all so much I fear that my heart will burst, and yes, I love all of this this much even in those moments when I am bitching about diapers and lack of sleep, maybe even especially in those moments, because I know down to the deepest darkest depths of my complicated soul that no matter how hard this gets, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

You know?

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    { 24 comments }

    Naomi February 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    We had school conferences today, the first time since Jasper started morning preschool. There is nothing better in the whole world than hearing someone else wax poetic about your little munchkins and tell you the funny things they say while you’re not around. Totally makes up for pantsless toddlers crawling in bed with you and first graders rolling their eyes and telling you they need more rockin’ clothes. Moments to cherish.

    I Thought I Knew Mama February 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I do know! ;-)

    Kristen February 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Oh GAWD yes, I know. Even when I’m discovering what it means to be drop-dead bone tired, wishing my 1 year old knew how to entertain himself for just ONE BLESSED MINUTE without my intervening somehow, I know. The love. It’s enough to split one’s heart in two sometimes.

    Jessica February 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    EXACTLY!!! (Pardon my Caps.)

    Roberta February 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Oh. I know. You nailed it as usual, lady.

    Mrs. Wilson February 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Yes, yes I do.

    ps. On bad days, you should just look at that photo of Jasper. Kind of makes one’s uterus skip a beat.

    Christina D. February 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I do know. Absolutely. It is on these edges that we face fear and become someone we didn’t even know existed.

    p.s. I’m getting an error notice that the “CommentLuv plugin” needs to be updated.

    Theresa February 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Batshit sprites is my new favourite phrase! Awesome, I feel your pain sista!

    Oops, your site is telling me to tell you your CommentLuv plugin needs updating…

    Kalani February 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    THANK-YOU
    Had one of THOSE mornings & this was just what I needed to read.
    P.S. Batshit Sprites- is too good!

    MommyV February 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I love this one. Love, love, love your writing and the good truth of this post. Of course they make us crazy and of course drudgery sux and of course it is all worth it. Thank you!

    Eliza February 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    said perfectly, like always :)

    LSM February 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Of course I loved my kids when they were preschoolers, and there were some great moments. But it was really, really hard for me during those years. I much prefer the stage we’re in now with them at ages 12, 14, and 17. People think I’m crazy for saying I’m enjoying parenting teens, but it’s true. While there are plenty of other challenges, it’s much less physically demanding than the toddler/preschooler gig! So, hang in there. It does get easier, even over just the course of the next few years.

    Carol February 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I do know exactly what you are writing about. However, I have to agree with LSM’s comment, that although “toddlerhood” is sweet and amazing, the teen and tween years have been more enjoyable for me. Aside from the sometimes drama and angst of “teenhood”, I am truly enjoying being able to carry on conversations with my 16,13 and 11 year old children. We can talk about significant or silly things, and we have fun doing things together. Enjoy your sprites while they are little, and know that even more fun times are in your future.

    Amanda February 19, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    @Carol, Thank you so much for your comment. I have heard from so many people that it only gets harder. I’m sure, in some ways, it does. But I have postpartum depression, and if it gets much harder than it is right now, I won’t be alive in ten years!

    I have a three-year-old daughter, and while I miss my little baby, I am in love with the little girl she has become, and can’t wait to have significant and silly conversations.

    My son is ten months old, and the first conversation we’ll have (when he learns to talk) is about how he needs to stop waking up every two hours during the night.

    I think it’s okay to feel like motherhood is hard, exhausting, and sometimes, even dark and depressing. But even with all of that, maybe because of all of that, we still love our children to the deepest depths.

    Once again, HBM, you nailed it exactly. Thank you!

    Tway February 18, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Oh, the tiredness–the awful, eye-burning, head-pounding, conversation-stopping, please-god-go-back-to-sleep-for-5-more-minutes tiredness. I never thought it would be this bad, so deep and aching and relentless. You never get used to it, you just learn to accept it, little by little.

    But the love is something else, isn’t it? S will put her teenie hands on my cheeks and turn my head so she can give me a kiss. And she says, “Mama! Hair! Pwetty!” when I haven’t even washed it in 2 days. And I catch myself looking at other people in the coffee shop when she shouts out something cute, wondering if they see how smart she is, if they’re going to smile.

    It gets me through the day.

    whoorl February 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Yes. Absolutely, positively, emphatically YES.

    the mama bird diaries February 18, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I hate clutter. It makes me crazy. But then I also take joy in all the kids stuff lying about. And someday my house will be nice, neat and empty and I will be heartbroken and long for the chaos.

    Christie February 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Yep. That pretty much sums it up for me. Especially the last part about the darkest depths of your complicated soul. I had no idea how deep and dark and complicated my soul was until I had two sprites of my own. Nonetheless, just like you said, I wouldn’t trade it, not one minute of it, for the world.

    MamaStotch February 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Ahhhh, very well said! Mommyhood is gut-wrenching and wonderful all at once.

    Meredith February 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Yes, yes and yes. Totally having one of those weeks. You said it all so well.

    Hannah February 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    That’s so cute that he says “Oh hello mommy”!

    Louise Aspden February 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Wonderfully candid post. Thank you from an empty nester longing for those sprites…funny how we choose to remember the good stuff. It wasn’t easy but oh so worth it. Now, I enjoy loving adult relationships with two grown sons and their significant others patiently waiting for the sweet revenge of grandmother-hood! I certainly do know.

    Allison February 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I really don’t know where else to post this, I’ve been a reader for quite a while now but for at least a few months, i’ve been having problems viewing your site with internet explorer, as soon as i open it, it says Internet explorer has stopped working and just shuts down, the problem is “APPCRASH” (it works with firefox though). and the last time i tried it with IE, it came up as a Microsoft security alert that it was an unsafe site and i ought not go there (no warning with firefox). I know i’ve sent links to several friends who have the same problem…. just hoping you could look into what the problems are…

    (great post by the way)

    Tway February 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Posting again to say ay, ay, ay, I’m officially Mommy-with-the-flu to baby-with-lots-of-energy. I haven’t been sick in years–YEARS! So I should count myself lucky, I guess… but baby + 3 freelance projects due + cosleeping/up 3X per night baby + nausea = HELP!

    Thank goodness there’s hubby + weekend + grandma if need be. Cause this can turn into something brutal. Hats off to Moms who’ve done it with 1, 2 or more kids–and two hats off to single moms.

    I will focus on S’s delerious smile and huge kisses and my mantra will be this-is-why-I-do-it, this-is-why-I-do-it, this-is-why-I-do-it…

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