I never wanted to be a mother. When all the other little girls were practicing with baby dolls and fawning over Barbies, I was hanging off trees and riding my bike. Or, reading books.Or breaking the neighbor girl’s tea set. I wasn’t exactly what you’d call gentle.
By high school when everyone was dying to babysit to earn some extra cash, I just didn’t get it. Entertain kids for a few hours? To hell with that. I took a job bussing tables at the restaurant up the street (which was actually a smart move. Paid for college).
When my friends all got married in their 20’s and had babies, I was busy getting my master’s degree. I wanted a career. And, yes, I did fall in love, but I never, ever wanted to have a baby. (For the record, I never really got why they had to rush the whole baby thing. And, I’m also not really sure I ever touched one of their kids)
Then one day, I had a random change of heart. Actually, it was more of a curiosity thing.
I remember saying to my hubby, “What if we could take all of the great qualities from you and me and roll it into one perfect person?” I never actually even considered that this baby might get the bad stuff too. I learned later when temper tantrums started.
We tried for a couple of years. And, after many “time to make the donut moments” (if you’ve ever had fertility issues you get what I mean), I was finally pregnant. And, while I was happy I was also (dare I say it out loud) a little tortured. What was I going to do with a live baby? Hell, I had never changed a diaper. Or touched a stroller. And, to be honest, I never, ever wanted to. If I was going to pull this off, I needed a crash course in everything Mommy.
So, I read books. Lots of them. And, made plans. You know the ones. Before you have a baby when you talk about all the things you won’t do? I fought my way through nine months of terrible sea sickness, crazy complications and self-doubt. And, at the end of it, I thought I was ready to be a mother.
After ten days of labor (and no I’m not kidding, I don’t like to do anything easy), I finally was ready to meet Miss Jaiden Rose. But, instead of setting her on my chest after delivery like we planned, they whisked her away for a while.When we finally got the chance to hold her, both Kelly and I were sobbing. And, to be honest, I was no longer scared. I never had another moment to think about it.
From day one Rosie was sick. So, I never really had time to worry about the “right” way to do things or what the books said. Every night for months I stayed awake rocking her. Trying to soothe her. Singing to her. At one point, I think my hubby was scared for my health (and sanity). But it was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me.
I’m a perfectionist. I never do anything half ass. Motherhood scared the crap out of me. It was so foreign. It was for other girls- the ones that played with dolls and liked pink. Not for people like me. But, when you have a sick baby, you don’t have time to plan. You just time to do.
I found myself in what I call “combat mode” for three full years. I researched. Fought the doctors. Did everything I could to make sure my child was comfortable. Safe. Adored. And because of that, I became a good mother.
I learned how to change diapers. Live through Rotovirus and still have a sense of humor. I pumped enough milk to feed a third world country. And, yes, I duct taped my baby once (but we never speak of that).
I went to Gymboree. Hired and fired day-care providers and tried to figure out how to get along with other Mothers. But most of all, I learned how to be a mommy myself.
Over time I learned how to snuggle. How to love. How to care for someone with all my heart and soul. I became patient for the first time in my life. Learned how to listen. Attempted to be flexible (and even succeeded sometimes).
As scary as it sounds (Even my mother told me she was worried when I announced I was pregnant). Motherhood wound up to be a pretty good fit. And, after a while, I found myself enjoying all the random mommy moments.
When Rosie was three, I made the choice to leave Corporate America to be a better mom. My kid needed me and honestly, I needed her so I decided to find something flexible that might work for all of us. While I feel like there are times I’m still searching for the perfect fit, I did find the best job for me all along. That job is…. Mama.
Over the years, I’ve played a lot of dolls (for the first time in my life, I might add). Wiped thousands of butts and tears. Gone on countless playdates (which now that I have a teen is called hanging out). Sat through hundreds of dance events. And, I’ve adored every moment.
You know what’s interesting? I never wanted to be a mother. But, I’m an amazing one.
So, I never played with dolls or baby sat. I never practiced (or pretended). I never yearned for this. But guess what? It doesn’t matter. Parenting isn’t about being wired to be one, it’s about stepping up to the plate to become one. I love being a mother.