Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Makes Me a Mommy?

I don't really know. I think it has something to do with the fact that I fell asleep on the couch at 2am this morning holding a sweaty little boy who needed to cuddle. I think it has something to do with the fact that I held said little boy in the crook of one arm while I vacuumed the entire house today with the other arm because that little boy is scared of the vacuum if he is ground-level with it. I know I can't stand to hear him cry. I know that before I had him, I could largely ignore a baby crying, but now the sound sends my blood pressure soaring. I know it means that day after day I leave my cute purse hanging on its hook and opt instead to throw my wallet and chapstick into a bookbag-turned-diaper-bag and walk around looking like I'm still a college student. I don't know how I rank as a mommy, but I know that I fall short compared to some women I know. I don't sew, or cook a lot, or have coordinated dressy outfits for Topher to wear to church. But as far as the really important things, I think I measure up. I stay home with him, even when sometimes I daydream about having a career of my own. I hold him each and every time he reaches for me. And those times when I don't really know what to do with him, I just give him kisses and hope that it's enough. The other night he started crying and we couldn't figure out why. He passed his bedtime of 8:30, passed 9:30 and 10:30 and just kept crying. It was like having a colicky newborn again. We tried milk, water, ice, toys, change of rooms. The only thing I knew for sure was that whenever I would try to put him down, he would cry harder. So I didn't put him down. Finally, shamelessly using the animals, we distracted him enough to break the spell of his crying. I got the feeling that he had just started crying and couldn't remember how to stop. And then once he had calmed down, he took a bottle and fell asleep after 11pm. It was one of those nights when I was sure this would be our only baby. I miss doing things on my own time, instead of jamming in brushing my teeth and curling my eyelashes whenever he lies down for a nap. But when his little voice says, "Ma ma ma" over and over again, I can barely contain my love for him. Being a mommy is so complex. You feel a thousand different emotions a day. When he wouldn't stop crying, I was so frustrated with him, but not because he was inconveniencing me or giving me hypertension. I was frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to help him. Whenever I lay him down for a nap, it feels like unloading my arms of a great burden. When he wakes up and I go to lift him to me, it feels like getting a part of myself back that was missing. I'm scared when I think down the road and suddenly I have a 2-year-old, a 6-year-old, a 12-year-old. I don't feel like I'll ever mature enough to be a mom to someone at those ages. I'm afraid I won't be disciplined enough, or that I won't be as put-together as the other moms. Mostly I'm scared that once Topher outgrows the need for me to hold him, I won't know how to fix things for him anymore. I don't know what a mommy is exactly, or why it's such a normal thing to be. It doesn't feel particularly normal. It feels like I will never stop worrying. It feels like a lot of pressure to become someone that Topher will be proud to call his own. It feels a little bit like choking whenever I stop and think how lucky I really am to have such a robust and bright-eyed child. Being a mommy isn't just something that I have added to my resume, it is something that I am ever becoming. And I hope for his sake that I'm becoming a good one. --KC


  1. This post makes me yearn to be a mommy.
    Your words are so beautiful, and I know that someday, when just holding Topher isn't enough to fix his problems, you will always have the right words to say...without a doubt. :)


  2. Why is using the animals as a distraction shameless? It's great! Distraction is a major tool in the parent toolbox, and you'll use it often.
    Have you ever had a headache that wouldn't go away, or your arm just HURT for no reason at all. Well imagine being a baby - with no words and no way of understanding of knowing WHY you hurt. All you can do is cry. Then the crying makes you hurt more. OK - now I'm going to say something that I hope you don't find totally nuts. If he cries and cries and there seems to be no reason why - try giving him some Tylenol. It won't hurt him to have a dose without a reason, and if he IS in pain it will help him out greatly. I recommend Tylenol because Ibuprofrin can cause a stomach ache, and then you'd be worse off. I'm NOT saying to just medicate a baby. Like when people give allergy medicine to make a baby sleepy. I'm just saying that the odds are probably pretty good that he wasn't feeling well - not sick, just something hurt.

    On to being a Mom. You're a great one! Some things you write, they are pretty different from the way I feel or think. But that's just personality. There are plenty of self discoveries I've had to wade through (or are STILL wading through). You'll figure things out as you go, and will ALWAYS be enough if you come at your job with love as the first priority.

    I know you're not one to want a lot of advice, so I'm not gonna give any more. But I'm here if you ever need anything. I've learned a couple lessons in the last 6 years (course I've got a long way to go!).

    luvs, aby

  3. I forgot to mention that...we did give him a dose of baby Tylenol that night to no avail. I don't mind advice, really! I can't always find ways to apply it to my situation, but if I can I will. :) Tne animals come in handy a lot, too. :) I love hearing your thoughts on motherhood just because we are so different, I think it's great. Thanks for being such an avid reader!!

    Also, Tina, thanks for your sweet words. You're going to be a great mommy, without a doubt!!!!