I was smug. I was self-righteous. I was naïve. I was an idiot. Yes, like many people, I was a better mother before I had my daughter. I watched people navigate the waters of parenting, battle storms, endure choppy water for days and I thought I could do better than them. HA!!
For a brief history of me and kids: I started babysitting as soon as I was able. I was a mother’s helper when I was in 4th or 5th grade to a lady across the street (she was home). The baby rolled off the bed and screamed. The baby knew better than the mother than to let an 11 year old (if I was that old) kid take care of it. Anyway, she let me continue and thus began my long career of childcare. I babysat all through high school, college, a little after college and as recently as my early 30s, worked as a part-time nanny. Most of the time, I was a good sitter and only occasionally dropped them. I played with the kids, rocked the babies, sang and generally stayed off the phone and didn’t have friends over.
Babies barfed on me, kids peed their pants, spilled food, wiped noses on me. All the regular kid stuff. I took care of a colicky baby a few times a week so the mom could survive. He literally would not let you put him down. So I would hold him, rock him, bounce him, jostle him and love on him for 4 or so hours while his mom showered, napped and attempted to maintain her sanity. I was great with kids, or at least confident.
Over the years, I spoke with friends in the early shell-shocked days of parenthood. They would tell me that some days they couldn’t remember to take their vitamins, brush their teeth or shower. They were hanging on by threads. I sympathized, but inside, I recalled the colicky baby and all the others, and thought, “That’s because they haven’t taken care of babies before.” Oh lord. The self-righteousness of it all.
When I was pregnant, a few of those friends warned me about how hard it would be, and I agreed. I knew it would be hard because I remembered the days sitting when I was so happy to give the baby back, run off to meet friends for a beer and tell stories about the baby before going home for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. But I still thought I would be able to juggle the baby, cook, look presentable and maintain some sort of adult social life. You know, because, like um, I’m super woman.
I humbly bow down to all the parents I thought I was better than and take my karmic beating. My sweet, gorgeous baby girl has kicked my ass. Shower? Vitamins? Teeth brushing? Hell, I forgot to shit some days and that’s a bodily function that HAS to be maintained. It is only now, at almost 7 months that I feel like I can see past the blur. At 7 months with a sitter who comes twice a week and a housekeeper who comes every other week so I can maintain my sanity. Yes, I need help. Yes, this parenting thing is HARD. It’s great, fulfilling and nothing beats the smiles Lila gives me, but damn, it’s hard. I’m still looking for my village.
When I was pregnant, I thought I would join the ranks of mommy bloggers and eventually make some money off of ads. I thought that until I became a mom. How and when do these women write and upload photos? Lila likes to be held. A lot. She wants my attention. She wants mommy.
This is my possible re-entry to blogging. I am going to try to find a few minutes a week to regale you with tales from the trenches of mommyhood a la attachment parenting (attached meaning she is always attached to me). We’ll see if I can keep it up.
Here is a long overdue shout out to all the amazing parents out there! And may you all make time to crap today.