I don’t think I knew what I was getting in to seven years ago. I was hugely pregnant and the only pressing issue for me was getting that darn baby out of me so my fingers and ankles didn’t feel like they were overstuffed into shrunken hosiery. Had I known then what I know now, I might have begged for a little more time in the undersized panty hose.
I think I went into motherhood with the attitude that everything will be rosy and fine, just like a Hallmark commercial. I knew the baby would cry a little and poop a little, but I was so confident and assured that I could handle anything that came my way. I honestly never sat down to consider the expectations and ramifications that came with childrearing.
I would be expected to wipe dirty bottoms. And runny noses. And kitchen counters. High chair trays. Spills off the floor. Puke from the crib. Jelly off fingers and Spaghetti-Os off eyebrows.
I would also be expected to clothe these children with clean clothes. And clothes that fit, too. AND clothes that reflect the weather appropriately! Not to mention, someone’s gotta wash them and put them away, right? Oh, and shop for them too. (Thank you, Beth & Sheryl!)
How about the expectations for hygiene and health? Bathing them and trimming their nails and combing their hair. Applying sunscreen, then reapplying. (Again and again.) Taking them to the pediatrician for fevers and shots. And the dentist. The eye doctor!
I’m expected to civilize these foreigners and show them proper behavior. And mathematics and grammar and nice things like writing thank you notes. How to use a phone, and use their hands without hitting. At some point down the road, I’m also expected to tell them about the birds and the bees. How to change a flat tire. How to withstand bullies and broken hearts. How to get into college (and I’ll be expected to pay for some part of it, too!). How to get a job and pay bills. And long LONG down the road, I’ll probably be expected to babysit for them. Or at the very least, I’ll expect them to let me!
Not only all of this, but the number one expectation on the list is that I teach these children how to accomplish these basic tasks of living for themselves. AND with joy and a sense of responsibility!
For some reason today, it rubbed me the wrong way that I have all of these duties as a mother, but the one that I resent most (at least today) is that I have to FEED my kids. Ugh! It’s silly that out of all these responsibilities, the one I most buck against is the one that is the most basic. Everyone needs to eat, right? So I should just feed ‘em and get on with it. If only it were that easy.
Oh, how I long for the day when I don’t have to feed anyone but myself!