Thursday, June 3, 2010


If you are a mom you should appreciate this post. I think.

I've been wanting to write it since I visited my old friend Sasha.

Oh where to start? Where to start?


Momness. Such an incredibly huge topic. Full of so many elements most of which I cannot possibly get a grip on really, you know, me being the opposite of Momness. You may wonder how I could even dream of trying to write about this topic. We'll see I guess.

The reason I wanted to write on it is because I am a woman whom, for twenty some odd years in her life lived to become a mother. Dreamed about finding Mr. Right, dreamed of having a home to call her own, dreamed for so long of feeling life grow inside of her. I can't tell you how often I prayed my birth control pills wouldn't work (when I was on them).

I never intentionally would ever skip one or delay taking one, I wasn't that kind of wife. As impatient as I felt sometimes waiting for my husband to 'give permission' for us to start .... well 'seeing what would happen' I could never ever disrespect him in that way. (I do have a friend or two that would with theirs).

I bugged him here and there the first few months at which point initially he offered getting a dog. That worked well for about 9 months or so then I bugged again. He said 'another few months and we'll talk again' and so I waited and bugged along the wait. A couple of years had passed and I once again really wanted to start 'seeing what would happen' and that's when he suggested another dog. Clearly underneath I must've known that the kid thing would be a while because I took whatever baby I could get and jumped at the chance for another little life in our home.

I believe it was a few months after dog number two that I quit taking THE pill as I was worried that the 3 years I was on it may start to affect how quickly we'd get pregnant and Wally had said (rather shakily) that we could finally 'see what would happen'.

So, for about a year or so we waited to 'see what would happen'. The view was pretty boring. There wasn't a whole heck of a lot to see. Other than Wally unhappy in his job, then out of a job, then me withholding a desire to ever have a family with this man whom I didn't think could provide for one. Actually, I guess there was a lot to see.

I'm not sure when it happened but I eventually 'saw what was happening' and I didn't like it. Wally and I had our head to head and were saddened by ourselves. Then I realized that momness wouldn't be all I hoped it would be if Husband wasn't all he could be. I thank God for that realization often. 'Seeing what would happen' totally paid off.

In the years since we gave up being completely open to having a family so very much has changed. We've discovered strengths in ourselves we didn't know existed, we've seen dreams grow where we didn't know dreams could grow, we've actually learned very well how to live without the old dreams. To a point where we don't recognize them anymore.

I have to work really hard to try and remember what it was like to long for a baby to 'complete me'. I do sometimes wish I could feel the life of my love and I developing inside of my body, but whenever I have these romantic thoughts reality soon smacks me in the face to remind me of what it's really like. For example, when I visited Sasha ...

We were sitting on the couch in deep conversation, chatting perhaps about my unromantic baby thoughts and she shared with me about (WARNING: COULD BE TMI!!!) her pregnancy and how after two children can no longer use tampons.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! If the lack of bladder control , the epesiotomy stories, and the fact that your boobs are no longer your boobs anymore weren't all enough, you can no longer be guaranteed to be able to use your choice of feminine protection?! Now that ladies, could be the straw that breaks the camel's back for me.

When I was under the baby spell before, I never noticed the mommy culture. Y'all know what I mean. Yesterday I turned on the tv for a few minutes before going to the gym and there was a show on, I think it was called 'Just for Mom's' or 'Only Moms'. It should have been renamed 'If you ever want to be a mom don't watch this'.

I quickly came to the conclusion that I was completely alienated from this culture. The culture where it is completely acceptable to be rudely interrupted 85 times during a conversation. Where if you want to phone a friend you'd better hide in the closet or else 'they'll' find you with problems at the exact time you are on that phone ('they' being the children).

The culture that puts 'their' needs ahead of your needs, where food being on your clothes or in your hair is a definite norm, where the bottom of the sink doesn't exist, crying all day does, where pee in the potty is cause for a serious throw down of a celebration, sleeping 6 hours straight is a marathon not often experienced. Where single letters in the alphabet no longer represent your degree, and where your degree isn't worth 2 cents, but 2 cents are.

The mom culture is one where throwing a birthday party could become your worst nightmare, but every year you hope you have another to celebrate. One where you aren't concerned so much about your non existent paycheck but rather how much you can save on the winter boots your kids will be lucky not to grow out of in a couple of months. A culture that excites itself with the discovery of edible crafts, no bake cookies, and 5 minute meals. It's one where when you see 'them' sleeping after hours of dealing with a cold or illness you have more peace than you ever thought possible. Where when 'they' remember their manner at someone else's house and another parent says what an angel they were during their visit you think your job is complete and they are there (or you wonder what creature has possessed your child and if they may indeed overtake the world). Where the success of their first two steps, to you, equal and deserve the same amount of attention as the winner of the Boston Marathon.

The culture of Momness seems to be one that is the absolute most self sacrificing, celebratory, challenging, creative, dirty, enlightening, horrifying, heartbreaking, fulfilling, exhaustifying, funny, miracle filled culture there is.

I say all this because as I watch my friends, and complete strangers take on this culture I sit amazed. For a few reasons. I'm amazed that so many get wooed into this culture by visions of a sleeping baby, even though those visions are few compared to all the others you see. (STU-PID). I'm amazed that they don't go certifiably crazy (as I don't' have any children and I definitely feel on the verge most of the time). I'm amazed that though many times people get pulled into this culture by surprise, they are often able to embrace it wholeheartedly. I'm amazed that, for the most part, they come out of it alive.

One of the biggest things that amaze me is when someone from the Mom culture will accept someone from the Not-Mom culture into their world. That amazes me. The fact that I have friends that have the enormous burden (or gift) of raising small human beings to be grown human beings, will even talk to me, listen to me, read me, care about me. That, to me, is amazing.

Clearly I'm in the Not-Mom culture as this amazing observation is indeed ... all about me.

You see I'm quite sure if I was a mom I would never care about anyone who didn't understand where I was at. I'm sure that the minute I am responsible for another life I will automatically decide that anyone not in my position is clearly ignorant and, well, stupid, about all things in life. It's true, I'll be rude like that.

It was a few months ago now that I realized that becoming a mom is really essential in some ways (or at least having the responsibilities of a mom) to understanding well ... everything.

I pursue in my life to be open minded and understanding of as much as I can. I try to always put myself in others' positions so I can do my best to understand where they are coming from, learning something they could teach me.

Sometimes being open minded is not enough. Sometimes you have to try something yourself to actually know and learn the depths of what an experience has to teach you. I am positive that Momness can only be fully learned in Momness.

So, what am I saying?

If you are a mom, you amaze me. Someday I hope to understand you more (admittedly at this point mostly because I know the best way to understand you is to stand in the same place as you).

If you are not a mom, thank you for keeping me company. Only you could understand where I am in this moment. It never feels good to be alone.

Momness: an adventure so far beyond any 40 day experience.

Moms, I respect you.