Like any meaningful relationship, motherhood is give-and-take. It is rarely 50/50 and more often than not, you the mom are the one giving.
This is especially true if you’re the mother of very young children – those sap suckers are an open black hole where all of your give is sucked right out of you and into them in a seemingly never ending vacuum.
In the early years the relationship is more of a give-and-take-take-take-take.
Some of the things I’ve given or plain given-up on in the last few years would be:
1. My body. Now, I’m determined not to let my body go to pot, but for the last 41 months and counting, my body has not been my own. I have either been an incubator or milk factory for my kids. My goal is that for my 30th birthday, I will have been pregnancy and nursing-free for at least a year and my hormones and my body will maybe be at some state of normal. It is then that I am planning to drop my kids like its hot for a week and head off to the Caribbean without them, to celebrate my having maintained the same body weight and hormone level for longer than a week and a half.
2. Sleep. I mean, do I even need to explain this one? We’ve all had a newborn or at least heard the horror stories. What they neglect to mention is that sleepless nights last well into toddlerhood and beyond. Besides getting up at 5 a.m. to the demands of “string cheese!!” I also won’t bother to mention the number of times that I’ve had all four kids in my bed and/or room at the same time. Speaking of my room no longer being a sanctuary for sleep…
3. Alone time. That’s right, I’ve given up any idea of alone time. I’m SUPER excited if Dom is home for five minutes so I can maybe hop in the shower without dragging the bassinet into the bathroom with me. And if I do get those five minutes where I can shower in peace, it is inevitable that my youngest daughter’s “mom radar” will start beeping and she will zero in on my location and decide to bust through the door and talk at me while I’m trying to get shampoo out of my eyes.
4. “Quick” errands. Yea, buh-bye post office! See ya in a couple of years, lady at the bank. Donut shop? It was nice knowing you. When you have four kids under 3-years-old (assuming I’m not the only moron to find myself in this situation), you can kiss quick errands goodbye. Why? Because getting all fours in and out of their five–point harness just isn’t worth the effort when all you need is some stamps. I’m just stockpiling all of our kids savings in mason jars and burying them in the backyard until I can make it to the bank without the entire brood coming in and causing mass confusion and hysteria seen only in banks during times of hold-ups and robbery. And grocery store runs for milk and bread? Yea, I’d rather buy a cow and try my hand at getting it that way. Not only do I get to go through the whole five-point harness song-and-dance there as well, but also it becomes a question of cart space. If you or anyone you know has a degree in geometry or possibly physics, could you e-mail me and let me know how you’d cram all those kids into a cart? ‘Cause I sure don’t know how to do it.
So yea, motherhood is a pretty thankless job a lot of the times. We tend to be the ones giving until our well is dry and beyond.
It doesn’t seem fair most of the time. But then, there are the moments of peace (in my house, that’s when the stars align and at least half of them are snoozing) that we can look at their innocent, sleeping faces and all of a sudden our giving well is refreshed.
Or when we can sit for five minutes and color with our kids and see their imaginations working, or when we can sip our undoubtedly cold coffee and rock the child in our laps.
Okay, sure. So maybe those times make it all worth it.
…That and the knowledge that one day I’m totally cashing in all these chips and making them take care of me when I’m old.
we can look at their innocent, sleeping faces and all of a sudden our giving well is refreshed.