This isn’t difficult for me to write about, but it might be difficult for people to read, I dunno. In the spirit of keeping things transparent around here, I figured I’d just be honest about my stance on motherhood and how I got where I am. I was asked to join a fantastic group of amazing women for the year, where we write about Motherhood in a completely honest and transparent way. We are the #NakedMoms.
When I was younger, my goal in life was to be an advertising executive. I wanted to live in New York City in a loft with hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows with no man, no children, and only a Harlequin Great Dane to keep me company at night. That was long before Sex in the City became popular, and it was my dream. When I talked about my plans with people, I was told that advertising was extremely cut throat and that it was difficult to become successful. I was told that New York is expensive and that I would likely just be a starving waitress with a college education. Despite the fact that I had a natural artistic talent and a penchant for writing, I became discouraged. By my own family.
My senior year in high school. I tossed my acceptance letter from Brown and decided to go to Auburn University and enter their pre-med track which was a whole lotta’ math and science, two things I’m not even remotely interested in, or good at. Despite my enormously strong ties to Auburn and all the “WAR EAGLE” yelling that goes on during football season, my career there was relatively short-lived. My mom didn’t let me go back after my first year so I moved back to Orlando to live with my family.
I enrolled in the local community college, lost my long distance high school romance, hooked up with one of the biggest scrubs I’ve ever in my life met, got knocked up, then married, and became a mom.
I’d love to tell you that I don’t know how I got there, but that would be a lie. I had given up on my own dreams before they had even started. I had let my loved ones tell me that my dreams weren’t attainable. I had let my own insecurities stand in the way of my dreams. I let other people’s ambitions for me seep into my being like a slow leak, dripping away at my own wants and desires.
When I got pregnant, I seriously considered terminating the pregnancy, but The Scrub wanted to keep it. I don’t care what your thoughts on abortion are, please don’t make this post about that. I was only 19 and still hanging onto a thread of hope that one day I would be something.
But instead, I became a very young mom, married to a man who was allergic to work, trying to find my way in the world.
When they placed Styles (AKA “The Nerd”) on my chest, I didn’t even touch him. I didn’t know how to act, or how to love this little thing squirming on my chest. My mom yelled at me to touch him, so I reached down and touched his slimy little back. I wasn’t immediately in love.
I still don’t understand women who are so excited to give birth to their babies and fall immediately in love with their purple, screaming infants. I can’t relate because that wasn’t me. It took several months of breastfeeding latch issues and gas that could rival BP’s production, to finally have a super warm spot in my heart for my baby. When I finally did fall in love with my baby, it still wasn’t like what other moms talk about having. We’re all different, right? I love my baby boy so much and he has created so many smiles and much laughter, but I’m selfish. I wanted my dreams. I wanted to be something other than a mom struggling as a waitress to support her work-allergic husband and baby boy.
I thank God for the very day that I confirmed The Scrub was cheating. I was finally down to only one mouth to feed other than my own. I made it my mission to provide a better life for my sweet little Styles. I didn’t want to ever let anyone neglect him again. I worked two jobs to pay my bills. I enrolled back in school, online courses so that I could study and attend class at my leisure. I picked myself up by the bra straps and charged ahead. Styles spent hours playing in his room while I studied and many more hours at school and daycare. I wasn’t going to give up my dreams of being better than a single mom waiting tables for people who could afford to eat out. I wanted to be able to eat out.
Sometimes I didn’t know where our next meal was going to come from. I was on and off of food stamps, but because I was a waitress, and an honest one at that, after a good season I wouldn’t qualify for food stamps. That meant that during the slow season I didn’t have the assistance I needed.
Through the struggle, I learned to enjoy being a mom, but I’m still not a warm and fuzzy, lovey dovey, “My kids are so great” kind of mom. I married The Workaholic and we had two more kids, against all endometriosis and PCOS odds.
My kids are pretty great. They all have very strong personalities. They all drive me absolutely INSANE. They all talk way too much (no idea who they got that from). They’re all really cute. And they all deserve a better mom, but don’t they all?
I still have dreams. I still have things I want to do with my life. And I’m still not an ooey-gooey, chocolate chewy, sweet & dreamy kind of mom. I’m just me.
I struggle to make eye contact with my kids. I have a canned response for just about every question under the sun. I am hard-lined focused on getting them through childhood and into adulthood so that I no longer have to tell them all day long to stop talking, stop hitting, stop touching one another, get off the XBox, turn the TV down, stop screaming, OMG WHY IS THERE POOP ON THE WALL AND IN YOUR HAIR? and so that I no longer have to worry about trips to the ER for broken bones where I’m always afraid CPS is going to come knocking on my door wondering why on earth my 2 year old was standing up in a shopping cart anyways.
They rattle my brains and step on each of my every last nerve on the days that I fail to communicate with them or just look them in the eye. My self-centeredness gets the better of me sometimes and I forget what it takes to be an engaged mom. The days I remember the importance of just looking at them when they talk, of touching them when they’re pulling on me, of being patient with them when they’re tired; those are the days it’s easier to be a mom. Those are the days I’m OK with the fact that I’m a married mom to three instead of living a cut-throat life in New York City in a flat. Alone.
I’m working on maintaining my sense of self while being a more engaged mom. On the days I maintain that balance, all is right with the world. The days I give or withhold too much of myself are the days I just want to lay down and give up.
But if there is one thing my past has taught me, it’s that there is no giving up. There is only “do” and “can” and “will”.
OH, and I will.
On the 14th of every month, I’ll be revealing the truth about motherhood with 12 other writers. Follow the hashtag #NakedMoms, and check out the links from the other moms and find out which stories resonate with you the most:
To Be a Better Mom You Have to Give Up by Steph at Confessions of A Stay-At-Home Mom
I Am A Recovering Perfectionist by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny
Giving Up On Perfect Single Motherhood by Laila at Only Laila
The Time I Almost Gave Up on Motherhood by Vaneese at Mommy Works A Lot
Motherhood: The Sacrifices No One Tells You About, But You Need to Know by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show
To Let Go and Let God by Jacquie at The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood
I Didn’t Want to be a Mom by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries
Mothering While Introverted by Diamonte at Liberated Mommy
Motherhood is About Giving Up by Jessica at A Parent In Silver Springs
Motherhood: I Give Up by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
Giving Up Supposed To Be by Brandi at Mama Knows It All
Giving Up And Getting Down by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom