I feel like I wrote my previous post a little too soon. I now get the “how old is she? how old is he?” followed by look of horror when they find out how close my kids are at least once every time we encounter other humans. Seriously, I should just structure my retirement plan to receive a nickel every time this exchange happens. Excuse me while I go plan our extensive post-retirement tour of Europe now that we can afford it.
It’s precisely because I feel inundated with this negative view of motherhood – or maybe just having kids way too close together apparently – that I feel the need to set the record straight.
Motherhood is fun! Can I say that again, cause you may never have heard it – Motherhood is fun! When you were told ad nauseum that it’s hard, or prepared by well-meaning people for all the trials it presents, the people saying it weren’t lying. But since when was anything worth doing easy and why do people think that pointing out the difficulty of your choice makes it better?
Think of something you did, or people you know who did something big. Hard work is a given, be it running a marathon, starting a non-profit, graduating magna cum laude, or going for a big promotion. Such undertakings demand choosing some things and foregoing others to achieve what you want. In the end, we make hard choices to achieve these things because we know these experiences make us better people.
Well guess what – if you’re a mom, you’re one of these kinds of people. Turning narcissistic dictators into good people is something really big. Soul-cleansing big. You have to work really hard, choosing some things and foregoing a lot of others. But because of these choices you make, the sleep you lose, the things you forego, you’re a better person. Your little hedonists have the ability to make you a saint, and the road to Heaven is not a walk in the park. Why do we live in a world where motherhood is viewed largely in a negative light when it’s really just another hugely worthwhile thing to do, right up there with climbing Everest (arguably far above)? I don’t really have an answer without getting mildly conspiratorial. I’ll just tell you my experience.
Motherhood is an incredible outlet for me as a woman, full of the creative problem solving opportunities that I crave. It doesn’t limit me, it doesn’t confine me, it stretches me and pushes me to be the best version of myself everyday no matter what the circumstance is. Sure, loading up two kids to go on an outing every day can be a fiasco, and the prep required would probably make for a decently funny Abbott and Costello type routine. But doing these things even when I don’t want to out of love for my little heathens is good for me, and if I work at it well every day, it’s what will get me to Heaven, and hopefully them too.
As much as I miss my old life at times, this new one is fun and – dare I say it – stimulating. My work right now is to introduce two little humans to everything that this world has to offer, and it’s 24/7. I am the curator of the world for them. What they see, what they say and what they do is a direct result of whether I take them somewhere or teach them a new skill. As a result, I have to expand my own world so as to expand theirs. My world may be small compared to some, but because I have to see everything through their eyes, it is all fresh and new and exciting. (To be fair, my world has also expanded into less fun things like diaper contents, but you try not being obsessed with the surest sign that your fragile, mute and illiterate human is adequately fed and healthy.)
Each thing I plan to do with my kids presents logistical challenges that I have to solve in the most fun and easy going way I can possibly muster, because if someone is going to throw a tantrum, it really shouldn’t be me. Each challenge overcome brings with it a sense of accomplishment, and the challenges that get the better of me usually become things to file away for later when the kids are a little older. No matter what, I’m constantly challenged to make the best out of whatever is thrown my way. We used to call that being well rounded.
I’ve never been one to sugarcoat when things are rough, and I don’t want you to think that I’ve gotten sappy and turned into Polyanna. There’s plenty of days where lack of sleep and lots of tantrums will probably send me back to to this post to remind myself why I do what I do.
But seeing the looks of horror and pity on people’s faces over and over and over again when they see me with two young kids has made me realize that they genuinely think that I’ve given something up that I shouldn’t have, or that I’m missing out on some better part of life. They’ve simply bought bad information.
In the interest of doing my bit to change the world’s mind about the greatness of motherhood, here’s a few pictures of my severely limited, pitiable life. Enjoy!