It’s not even morning; not time to get up at least. Why is this child still awake? She hasn’t slept in over 29 hours and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. No reprieve for a sleep deprived mommy. Apparently it is tough being three years old. Reading books, playing toys, eating whenever you demand food, drinking chocolate milk and not getting sick from it; all of these things sound like a blast. I guess this is just one of the many things they never tell you about motherhood ― there are no breaks.
I remember a time where I was wide-eyed and excited about life. The prospect of motherhood never even crossed my mind. All I wanted out of life was a career in the wrestling industry, a big house with enough room for my friends, a decent car, and a good-looking man to wake up with every morning. Now, I have a career as a stay-at-home mom, live in a small house that is falling apart, driving car I can’t afford, and wake up to the sounds of my ex-husband snoring louder than the passing traffic even though there are two closed doors separating us. My days are spent yelling at children, scrubbing things, and trying to finish up writing assignments without typing the things I am yelling at said children. Yelling becomes a pastime. That’s another thing they don’t tell you about motherhood.
Ten years ago, I ate, slept, and went out with my friends without consideration for other people. Today, my life is ruled by these tiny humans. Every move I make is determined by their moods and my ability to provide proper care. Even at the age of seven, the slightest variation in schedule can send my daughter into a mood swing tailspin of epic proportion. Those mood swings will prevent even the most necessary of outings. There is no way to keep track of the times a full cart of much-needed groceries were left in the middle of an aisle at the store, or how medicines go unclaimed at the pharmacy because there is no way to get the kids moving in the same direction without a meltdown. Nobody tells you about this side of it, about motherhood; the side that makes you wish you could go back and slap yourself for thinking sex with the kid’s daddy was a good idea.
Relationships are non-existent. Dating is nearly impossible. If you do date, awesome sitters are beyond expensive and hard to find. Even when you go out, the kids never leave your train of thought. Did I mention the mommy guilt? Oh, the mommy guilt is harsh. As a mom, you are made to feel guilt for any act that isn’t directly benefiting your children. You want to go to the mall on a rainy day? Someone will comment on how you shouldn’t take the child out in such weather. You were thinking of having lunch with a friend? People will ask why you would bring your child to a restaurant where there isn’t a play area. You decided to go out to the bar? There is always the one person that comments on how horrible you must feel that you left your child in the care of another human being. Other people’s opinions about your parenting are definitely something you aren’t told about motherhood.
As the final decision-maker in the child’s life, especially when they start school, punctuality is important. Punctuality can keep you out of jail. My daughter has been late to school several times; I can count on one hand how many days she has been tardy and absent. Even so, I am still informed that we are looming ever closer to the magic number of tardies that means I must be some sort of abusive parent, trying to buck the system of sheeple that public school strives to create. I can’t sleep at night because of a child that has her days and nights backwards. There is no rest during the day because of being solely responsible for taking a child to school since I, as the mother, am the only person in the house capable of operating a motor vehicle before noon and am the only person that knows where her school is located. They definitely don’t tell you that you will be a single parent even if you are married; that is conveniently left out of discussions about motherhood.
It becomes more and more difficult with the passing days to remember why I supposedly chose motherhood as a path. I’ve come to realize that motherhood is not a choice. It finds you, ready or not. Watching the kids grow up is very rewarding at times, but very straining on your patience and your psychological health. A mother questions her every move. She tries to keep her kids safe by any means necessary, even if that means putting herself directly in the way of harm. The mama bear pokes her head out when her child is prodded by a bully, either adult or child. She will not stand by and allow her child to feel anything but joy and love. If only that scenario were possible all of the time. They forget to tell you that it isn’t. They don’t tell you that motherhood is chaos. And that chaos chose me.