There were a lot of things I looked forward to about becoming a mom. The tea parties, and puddle jumping; the teachable moments and snuggle sessions- I dreamed about it from the moment I found out I was pregnant (and let’s be honest, way, way before that too). I remembered the way I looked up to and admired my own mother and I wanted that. I wanted to be the nurturer, the owie kisser, the one they strove to be like.
I pictured the exciting moments in my mind: her first birthday party would be perfect. I would choose a theme that was completely original but not so original that it was weird. I would cook the healthiest, gluten and dairy free smash cake that my daughter would indeed smash- all while looking impossibly cute in her tutu and handmade birthday crown. The other moms (who were actually all my very close friends who I had weekly, kid-less coffee dates with) would “oooh” and “ahhh” over the simple yet appropriate decorations and know that for years to come they would be sending their children to all of my child’s birthday parties. (Confession: I didn’t even throw my child a first birthday party. I was too busy throwing up and double checking the pregnancy tests after finding out about her little sister…).
I set the bar unreasonably high for myself and promptly lowered it even before the aforementioned birthday party that never happened. I thought I knew what to expect from motherhood. And in some ways I did- the joy, the love, the tantrums, the impatience, all the things you read about or see in movies. But there were more things that took me by surprise.
The loneliness, for one thing, was completely unexpected. If I would have been more observant, I would I anticipated that spending most of my days at home with a toddler who speaks her own language and a newborn who uses my shirt as a napkin would be a lonely way to pass the time. Don’t get me wrong, theirs’ is the sweetest, most loved company in the world, but some days I’m all too ready to unpack the diaper bag and go somewhere that requires the use of an actual purse and adult conversation in the English language.
I would love to be able to go out in public without my entourage. I would love to tell you that I have friends that I go out for drinks with once a week. But in reality- this phase is lonely. My babies need me at home, my husband needs me at home and it’s a rare occasion that I get to go anywhere without at least one of them.
What’s more, no one really prepares you for the unglamorous side of motherhood. (Is there even a glamorous side to motherhood? That is yet to be determined.) The spit up, the poop, the make-up less
days weeks- I heard about it from my other friends who had kids, but it’s a completely different story when you’re the one waking up at two a.m. to change another blow out that somehow managed to get onto every single item in the room. Motherhood is sacrifice- and I wasn’t truly prepared for it.
Another thing they don’t tell you about: all this sacrifice; it’s worth it. Sure, there are days when I wish my kid had a snooze button or that I had a social life. There are plenty of times when I miss the days I could spend longer than 5 minutes on my make-up. But those days are not now. These are the days of 5:30 a.m. wake up calls and haphazard “mom-buns”. They’re the days of speaking toddler-ese in public and picking up the same toy 58 times in one day. It may be lonely at times and it may be unglamorous.
But these are my days, and it’s worth it.