by Julie Watson Smith
hul·la·ba·loo: Great noise or excitement; uproar; a state of commotion or excitement
mom·my: A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child
mom·my hul·la·ba·loo: Learning, living and loving the chaos of mommyhood
Stumble out of bed. Give my son a glass of milk. Grab a quick shower. Pull an outfit out of the dryer for me. Wake my daughter. Comb my hair. Kiss the baby. Brush my teeth. Give the baby a bottle. Change a diaper, then two, three, four. I’ve lost count. “Who wants wheat germ and granola?” Horrible screams of NO! Okay, okay. “Who wants pancakes smothered in butter and syrup?” Squeals of delight and syrup kisses follow. Feed the baby a squishy concoction of oatmeal and mango. Kiss my husband good-bye. CRASH! I don’t even want to know what happened. Pull outfits for the kids out of the dryer. Why is the dryer now our closet? Throw the dishes in the sink. Change another diaper. Thump! WAHH! Is there blood? No? Good, because I can’t find the Sesame Street band-aids. Quick game of Candy Land. Wipe down the counter. Brush the kid’s teeth. Go to the bathroom. Guess what? Found the band-aids. All 50 of them stuck to the toilet seat. Become public enemy number one because I won’t turn on the T.V. Glance at the clock. 7:00AM. How can it only be 7:00AM when I’m ready to call it a day?
Sound familiar? I’m sure it does; it’s mommyhood. The most endearing, challenging, humorous, tiresome, and unpredictable responsibility we’ll ever love…usually. Recently, I was asked to describe motherhood to a group of expectant moms. What should I say? What is mommyhood? After having three children in three years (yes, they’re all mine; no, none are twins; yes, I do understand how birth control works; and no, I am not done), I still didn’t have an answer. Mommyhood is unadulterated joy and abysmal worry; it is unbridled compassion and utter despair. It is everything in between and nothing what I expected.
Prior to mommyhood, I had all the answers to parenting. Perhaps we all did. At the grocery store, I would quickly judge the mother pacifying her screaming toddler with candy while she struggled with a cumbersome cart. At the bank, I’d send disdainful looks to the family with the little boy who kept stepping on my foot. When on travel, I cringed when I occupied a flight with a baby. I silently ascertained that these women had no control and were bad mothers. Good Lord, I was naïve…and downright stupid. I understand now, because I’ve had those moments when my kids are screaming on the airplanes or hanging or the ropes in the bank line. And, yes, I, too, have had to shell out cookie after cookie to my battling children, so I can decide which coupon gives me the best deal on 50 tubs of pudding and 400 boxes of macaroni.
Now here I sit wondering what motherhood is. Is it putting up with the toddler tantrums or teenage tribulations? Is it kissing the tears, sweat and blood of our children? Could it be more than just providing an endless stream of encouragement mixed with the right doses of discipline? Will kissing my daughter’s tear-laden cheek put me in the “Mommy Hall of Fame”? Does it boil down to becoming an expert at answering the phone, changing a diaper, searching for “white blankie,” feeding the cats, paying the much-overdue mortgage payment, all while trying to defrost that Antarctically frozen lasagna 30 minutes before dinner? Yes, mommyhood is all of these things and more. It challenges our beliefs and well-being while tugging at our heartstrings and shredding our patience.
Mommyhood is about being happy, sad, joyous, confused, and uncertain. It is knowing that you may never live up to your maternal expectations but that you are fulfilling your children’s. You are just what they need. They need you to giggle, cry and hold them tight. They also need you to yell, fail and not always be right. They need you to be a human; they need you to be a mother.
Mommyhood is about treasuring the moments from diapers to Pull-Ups and Under-roos all the way to training bras, boxers and beyond. It’s about not crying over the spilt milk or soiled linens. It’s about playing yet another game of Candy Land or Go Fish. Mommyhood is about believing in yourself and your children through the chaos. So even on those days – okay, everyday – when there is food on the ceiling, underwear in the refrigerator and band-aids stuck to the toilet, we need to remember that this is the stuff mommyhood is made of. Don’t wish it away. Embrace it. Bring on the hullabaloo. Please just not at 5:00AM.
Copyright 2004 Julie
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Julie Watson Smith is a wife, mother of 3 and freelance writer. Find out more at www.mommyhullabaloo.com.
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