Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies)

BOOK: Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies)
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CONTENTS

Motherhood Is . . .

Introduction

Lie #1
  Motherhood Comes Naturally

Lie #2
  You'll Be Back to Your Old Self in No Time

Lie #3
  Mothers Hate to See Their Children Suffer

Lie #4
  It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Lie #5
  Having Kids Keeps You Young

Lie #6
  Parents Wouldn't Dream of Hurting Their Children

Lie #7
  Parenting Strengthens a Marriage

Lie #8
  You're the Grown-up

Lie #9
  You'll Get More Sleep When They Are Older

Lie #10
  Mothers Love Cooking for Their Kids

Lie #11
  You Are Your Own Harshest Critic

Lie #12
  Going from Two to Three Kids Is a Breeze

Lie #13
  The Parent Is in Charge

Lie #14
  Mother's Day Is All About You

Lie #15
  It Gets Easier

Lie #16
  Pets Make Children More Responsible

Lie #17
  A House Without Children Is an Empty One

Lie #18
  You'll Look Forward to Your Kids' Independence

Lie #19
  Being Home with Your Kids Is the Most Fulfilling Job

Lie #20
  It's Just a Phase

Lie #21
  You Will Succumb to Sentimentality

Lie #22
  Mothers Happily Share

Lie #23
  Parents Have All the Answers

Conclusion

Scary Mommy Confessions

Acknowledgments

About Jill Smokler

For my amazing children,

who gave me a voice,

and for my husband,

who makes me a better everything.

MOTHERHOOD IS . . .

Motherhood is middle-of-the-night wake-up calls for a glass of water or a fan or a night-light or a blanket or a bear or a kiss or a Band-Aid.

Motherhood is making lunch after lunch after lunch after lunch only to find the healthy contents stuffed behind a car seat.

Motherhood is all of your spending money.

Motherhood is not remembering what it's like to get a full night's sleep.

Motherhood is wiping more shit than you ever thought you'd see in your entire life.

Motherhood is a car so filthy that you are embarrassed to let your own husband see it.

Motherhood is hearing the word
why
at least a hundred times a day and, most of the time, not having an answer.

Motherhood is knowing, just from the touch of a forehead, almost exactly what your child's temperature is.

Motherhood is finally appreciating your own mother.

Motherhood is fantasizing over reaching the bottom of the laundry pile, knowing full well that it's never going to happen, and even if it does, someone will end up puking or peeing themselves three seconds later.

Motherhood is singing all the words to your kids' favorite songs even though they annoy the hell out of you.

Motherhood is never feeling at peace unless all of your children are with you, under your own roof.

Motherhood is always feeling mildly sick but never being able to wallow in your own misery.

Motherhood is never peeing or showering in peace.

Motherhood is using your sleeves to wipe runny noses and your spit to clean dirty faces.

Motherhood is not even wanting to say “I told you so” even though you
did
tell them so, countless times.

Motherhood is when, just as you want to curl up into a ball of pure exhaustion and desperation, one of your children suddenly farts or burps or does something spontaneously funny and you forget how exhausted you just were.

Motherhood is the moment you pause and look at your children, all piled on your bed, breathless and rosy-cheeked, and think that the only things that really matter in the world are right there in front of you. They are yours, and they are worth every sacrifice and sleepless night.

And then, it's the moment, two seconds later, when one of them will accidentally kick the other one on the arm and the other will bite into the offending calf in retaliation and you will wish, for the hundredth time that day, that you could just press the rewind button to savor the peace and joy of your perfect, serene children for more than an instant.

Rinse and repeat. A million times.

That's motherhood.

INTRODUCTION

What were you told about motherhood before you had children? That you wouldn't believe how much you love your kids? That your heart would break when they hurt? That you would do anything for them? All true, without a doubt.

But there are some other things you might have been told, too: That parenting strengthens a marriage. That it gets easier after those exhausting days of having a newborn. That being at home with young kids is fulfilling. Are those always true? No. Not for me, at least. On the pages of this book, you'll find everything I thought to be true about parenting . . . before I actually was one.

Some of the lies in this collection may be totally relatable to you, while others might make you question my morals. That's okay, because Scary Mommy has always been about lifting the veil on motherhood and helping women find comfort—and humor—in other mothers' experiences.

What some of us consider a burden, others view as a blessing. And what some of us are willing to do with a smile on our face, others would prefer a lobotomy to. Volunteering in a kindergarten classroom; taking the kids trick-or-treating for hours
on Halloween; reading bedtime story after bedtime story when we should be sleeping ourselves. Some of us love those particular moments and some of us wish them away, in exchange for whatever moments we savor most. It's one of the many beauties of motherhood: like DNA, no woman's experience is the same as anyone else's.

I would never claim to be an expert on parenting—far from it. This is not a parenting manual or a how-to guide; rather, think of it as a coping resource; a place to turn when you feel like the only mother on earth who isn't handling the gig with utter grace and ease. It's a way to find some humor in the not so easy parts of motherhood. Because as wonderful as motherhood is, it's also the hardest job in the world, and we'd all go crazy if we couldn't laugh at ourselves.

That's
one thing I know to be true.

Lie #1
MOTHERHOOD COMES NATURALLY

I am the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I speak three languages. I have negotiated multimillion-dollar deals without breaking a sweat. However, just thinking about bedtime for my three kids makes me want to vomit.

—Scary Mommy Confession #208830

O
nce upon a time, I found myself unexpectedly expecting and scared out of my mind. If I clearly wasn't responsible enough to practice safe sex, it was pretty safe to say that I wasn't responsible enough to bring a child into the world. A few days after I peed on every kind of stick the drugstore had to offer, I found myself at the gynecologist for further confirmation. As I hyperventilated on the table, flashing back to that night of one too many margaritas, I was consoled by a kind nurse. She was a sweet older woman in faded Dora the Explorer scrubs, with years of experience and wisdom under her
belt. “Honey,” she confidently told me in her soothing James Earl Jonesey voice, “motherhood is the most natural thing in the world. You'll love it.”

That was the first time I ever listened to a grown woman in cartoon-themed hospital scrubs, and the last. She wasn't
all
wrong; the latter part of her wisdom has certainly proven to be true. Almost ten years have passed since that day, and I love being a mother like I have never loved anything before in my life. I have three beautiful and hilarious and amazing children whom I would lay down my life for without thinking twice. It is, without a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to me. But, natural? No, I'm afraid not. Motherhood doesn't always come all that naturally.

Things that come naturally to me: Food. Sleep. Comfort. Privacy. Basically, all of the things that pregnancy and children have cruelly robbed from me.

Let's start with pregnancy—not exactly what I would call natural. I spent almost all of my nine months puking my guts out. For the first time in my life, I couldn't eat what
I
wanted to eat, since I was being held hostage by this mystery creature who dictated my diet. I craved tuna sandwiches on white bread layered with potato chips, and my normal staple breakfast of Cheerios suddenly made me queasy. The baby I didn't know prevented me from finding a comfortable position to sleep in and ensured that I ran to the bathroom every three seconds to pee. I had a hard enough time getting used to sharing a bathroom with my husband when we first moved in together. My body—the only thing that was ever mine and all mine—now belonged to someone else. What's natural about that?

Labor was another extraordinarily unnatural event for me. Sitting in a chair, legs practically over my head, I felt like some sort of freak show contortionist on display for the doctors and nurses. I half expected someone to start making popcorn. I spent much of my time in labor envying those women who sit on a toilet and shit out a baby. Bizarre, sure, but at least they're alone, in a room where they're used to expelling things, having gravity work for them rather than against them. That sounds a hell of a lot more natural to me.

Once the baby comes, you're suddenly supposed to know exactly what is best for the child, as if mother's intuition arrives along with the onset of breast milk. Guess what? It doesn't. That first car ride home together felt as natural as me driving a spaceship straight to Mars.

The first few days and weeks home with a baby, I felt more like I was hired to play the role of Mother than actually
be
a mother. Wasn't I supposed to have changed overnight, suddenly in possession of all the answers? That's what I expected, at least, but I remained the same exact person I was before, except now I was responsible for a human being other than myself. I remember a friend telling me that cries were just the baby's way of communicating and I could decode them if I tried hard enough. Was she hungry? Hot? Cold? Wet? Clearly, I didn't speak baby because every scream sounded exactly the same to me: like a baby crying.

BOOK: Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies)
6.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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