I spent the week of 4th of July on the West Coast with The Man and my future stepson. (Henceforth he shall be known as “Baby Bear”. Just because it’s cute and it’s what we referred to him as the entire week.)
This was the first time I met Baby Bear in person. We spoke to each other on skype, but it’s definitely not the same. The Man and I had decided we wanted to wait a bit to meet each other in person – plus the timing was never quite right, as Baby Bear lives with his mother a handful of states away. This trip it finally happened…and I’m not ashamed to say I was scared to death of that first meeting.
I should mention that I don’t have kids, never have had kids, and when someone in the family needs a baby-sitter, they don’t call me. (There is a valid reason for this, I will be the first to admit. Nobody got hurt, I just wasn’t paying attention. At all.) Plus I’m not one of those people who is inherently good with kids, like my baby sister is. (She should be sainted. She teaches twenty some pre-schoolers on a daily basis. I’d die.) I never know how to interact with them, or what to say to them, and I always end up looking or feeling stupid. So, suffice to say that I was petrified.
Turns out I didn’t have to worry – I couldn’t love that little five year old boy any more than if he was my own flesh and blood. And as strongly as I feel about him as a future stepparent, I can’t even imagine the strength of the bond between mother and son. Amazing.
That being said – to all the mothers out there – I have crazy mad respect for you. Don’t get me wrong, I knew motherhood was tough and I had a lot of respect for moms before…but having had just a slight taste of it? Wow. I applaud you. (And this goes for Dads, too!) I do not know how you do it on a regular basis! One week of parenting and I felt like I needed another week just to recover! Which made me think that writing a blog post on what I’ve learned about motherhood would probably (possibly?) be pretty amusing – especially for all the moms out there!
(Or you could just read this and shake your head and roll your eyes at me for my ignorance. I wouldn’t blame you at all.)
Full disclosure: most of these are very well known facts. But as parents will agree – it’s one thing to “know” them, and quite another to know them.
1. Little boys are attracted to anything and everything gross. Like poop. Or dead bugs. And they will announce what they have found and/or shove it in your face to share. Often.
2. Laundry is an entire second job. Actually I think we spent more time sorting through laundry than the amount of time I would normally spend at work. I don’t even know how it happens – Baby Bear puts on a shirt, I turn around for one second, and by the time I look back, it’s dirty. Amazing. And maddening. And totally and completely mind boggling.
3. Parenting is exhausting. And that’s all I have to say about that. I was tired ALL the TIME.
4. The first couple of days I complained to The Man about not running or getting to the gym. And then I kept wondering why my whole body was hurting, and I remembered a few things. Like picking up a child three hundred times a minute. And setting him back down. Or craning around in my seat to make sure he’s buckled in or to pick toys up off the floor of the car. Or sorting laundry. Or running after a five year old on the beach. Or holding on to him for dear life in the Pacific Ocean because I was so worried we’d both get sucked away. Or tensing up as he rides his scooter down a hill. Or running with him through the zoo. Or holding him up to see the hippos. And playing tickle monster. Or diving down to catch sinking toys in the pool. Or catching him in the pool.
And then I stopped complaining about working out.
5. Playing Angry Birds and BeyBlades and racing remote control cars becomes a daily event.
6. I now have three new games downloaded onto my phone. I have no idea how to play any of them.
7. “No”, is the most maddening word in the world. Especially when it’s spoken by a cranky five year old who is really overdue for a nap.
8. Naps are seriously overrated.
9. Always take advantage of naptime when you get it – as in, TAKE A NAP TOO. (I learned this the hard way.)
10. You will really start to look forward to naptime – so you can nap.
11. But you still never get enough sleep at night.
12. Having little arms wrap around your waist while a face presses into your tummy and hearing the words “I love you Becky Bear” may in fact be the greatest feeling in the entire world.
13. Seeing things through the eyes of a child is an entirely different (and awe inspiring, and humbling) experience.
14. Family snuggles are the best.
15. And I didn’t realize it was possible to love another human being so much.