Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mothering a three year old

There are days that I wake up and wonder who's life I am living.
I am a mom.
I am defined by things that define her.
Sometimes I feel lost and overwhelmed, and other times I feel like I am rocking this mom thing. Most of the time I feel slightly bewildered, a bit anxious and a tiny bit content.
There are so many things about being a mother, particularly a mother to a three year old, that I was not prepared for. I think that I am finally learning that motherhood, if nothing else, is a constant learning curve.

I wasn't aware of the fact that I may never get a full night's sleep again. It's not really her fault - she rarely gets out of bed once asleep. Instead it's that my mind is always on overdrive and, even with my substandard hearing, I hear every creak, idling car and bump in the night.

I had no clue that I would watch more kids programming than adult shows. I can be considered an expert on Sesame Street, SuperWhy, Dinosaur Train, Curious George, and all things Disney Princesses. I can discuss the distinct qualities of each princess at length and can find a silver lining in all their silly stories.

I didn't know I would become immune to mucus and vomit. I don't enjoy either entity, but deal with both rather well. I've been lucky enough that vomit has only occurred a handful of times, but it seems that around here, the mucus is here to stay.

I wasn't aware that I would think that looking "put together" would mean clean fleece pants, minimally stained t-shirts, mascara and chap stick. Often that is truly the best I've got.

I had no clue I'd lose my title as queen of the household due to the presence to a half-pint "benevolent ruler". Yes, I make and enforce rules. I occasionally make dinner and I usually do the household chores, but to think that I am the one who is in charge is asinine.

I wasn't aware I would worry about every cough and sniffle. Nor was I prepared for three cases of walking pneumonia in 12 months, the scheduling of a tonsil surgery or the plethora of band aids that are dispensed. I also wasn't prepared to truly believe in a mother's intuition - but every time it's been spot on.

I didn't know I'd end up raising a princess. A girly, twirly, pink clad princess. A girl who hates pants, who longs for party shoes and can't stand having sticky hands. A girl who knows how to use her pout, how to effectively bat her eye lashes and isn't above using a smile to get what she wants.

I had no clue I would make hundreds of peanut butter sandwiches, heat up a gazillion hot dogs, fend off requests for a thousand sweet treats a day. Or that my refrigerator would always house cheese sticks, strawberries, milk and pink lemonade.

I wasn't aware that I would worry, already, about school and extracurriculars and making sure that she is able to do all the things that interest her. That going to story times, signing up for gymnastics and carpooling for preschool would become a permanent part of my calendar.

I didn't think that my emotions could be so manipulated - that within one hour I could be frustrated, angry, overjoyed and amused.

I had no clue that I would want to all-out decorate for the holidays and would truly enjoy outings that revolve around pumpkin patches, tree farms and egg hunts.

Mostly, I was not prepared for being so clueless, so frequently. For needing to lean on my friends and family, for always having to ask advice. I didn't know that I would fret over tiny decisions and worry about how my choices impact her.

I wasn't aware that a squeeze from her hand, a snuggle on my lap or a simple smile could make my day.

And I had no clue that I could be so exhausted, and frustrated, and fulfilled, and hopeful all in the same moment.

1 comment:

Mich said...

Great post lady! It is a crazy, wild, exhausting yet rewarding ride isn't it?!