Anyone who knows me personally, knows that all I have ever wanted to be is a mother. I have always wanted a big family. I look forward to the day when I can finally have children of my own, biologically or adopted.
I have always been open about this longing and have talked to almost everyone about it. Many times people have responded with, “Just wait until you have one. Then you might change your mind about how many you want.” Or, “You don’t really know what you are getting yourself in to.” While technically both statements may be true, neither have ever swayed my desire to make my lifelong career motherhood.
I have been babysitting, nannying, and working with children since I was nine. I absolutely love hearing the goofy things children have to say and the way newborns crave to be held and coddled. I have had my fair share of experience with children, even though I have none of my own.
This weekend brought on a new round of experiences to add to my list.
Friday was a long day. The agency that I am interning for was just approved to travel again and Friday was our first day back on the road. We had thirteen appointments to make stretching throughout two states. I had some of my own office work that needed to be completed prior to the trip, so I decided to go in to the office an hour early. After I got all of my work done, we headed out to make our appointments, One appointment had to be rescheduled and another was canceled. All in all, we made eleven appointments, traveled to two different residential facilities and a college, transported a client, and made it home after an eleven hour day (two hours shorter than we had planned). I was tired, but overall I felt pretty good. I came home from my day of work to my nephews being at the house. They were playing with blocks and were having a good time. I slumped down on the couch and caught up with my mother. The boys started bickering and after a few warnings, my mother told them that they needed to clean up the blocks. Both of the boys protested. She responded by telling them that they could either clean up the blocks and stay up a little longer or not clean up the blocks and go straight to bed. After having to repeat herself a few times, one of the boys decided to give up and clean the blocks up while the other boy threw a tantrum. The tantrum thrower was quickly told that it was bedtime and that he needed to put on his pajamas. Kicking and screaming began and before I knew it I was helping by standing in the hallway to make sure he didn’t come out of his room. After about twenty minutes of him fighting, I went in and explained to him that he had no more chances and that he needed to change in to his pajamas and go to bed. He wasn’t happy, but eventually he got in to his pajamas with the request to talk to “grandma.” Grandma was brought in once he was changed and he asked for one more chance. Once again, he was told that there were no more chances and it was bed time. The kicking and screaming started all over again. I decided that I was going to pick him up and carry him to bed. This seemed like a good idea in the moment, but turned out to be the worst. I picked him up and he wrapped his arm around my neck like he normally does. Except when I laid him in bed, instead of letting go he gripped tighter and had me in a choke hold. I tried to break free. That little dude’s arm may look tiny but they are strong! I was trapped. As he held me in the choke hold he started yelling, “I won’t let you go until you let me out or bring my brother in!” Well, that escalated quickly. I can now say that I have been held hostage… I began to laugh hysterically because the idea of being held hostage by my little nephew was quite comical and the fact that I was exhausted may have contributed. I was trying to keep my hysterical laughter quiet because I did not want him to realize I was laughing. After a few minutes of being held hostage, my mom came to my rescue and helped me pry the jaws of life -er my nephews arms- off of my neck. The tantrum went on for another half hour before he settled down.
So, glimpse of motherhood number one: I hope to be a stay at home mom, but just in case that isn’t feasible, I got a taste of what it is like to work a long day and come home to not so happy children. Now I understand that this was just one day, not five in a row and my mom was there too, but this is about a “glimpse” of motherhood.
Friday night I began to feel sick and tossed and turned most of the night. The next morning I felt worse and ended up spending most of the day in bed. Saturday evening I had to babysit and the night went so smoothly. The three children that I had were well behaved and went to sleep with no problems. I got home from babysitting around 11:30 that night to find that one of my nephews had gotten sick all over the bathroom and had failed to alert anyone. I put on my big girl panties and went to work. I have a weak stomach and was very proud of myself for being able to clean everything without getting sick myself. I Lysoled everything and then got ready for bed. I fell asleep around 12:30 in the morning.
Around 4:30 I was awoken by a whimpering child. I got up and spent the next two hours helping my poor, sick nephew who kept yelling, “I hate the flu!” I know buddy, me too, me too. By about 6:30 I had re-Lysoled the bathroom and he finally fell back to sleep. I washed up and laid back down in my own bed. I was overly exhausted, but wide awake at the same time. Within ten minutes the whimpering began again. Back up I went and back up I would stay. I stayed with my poor sick nephew until about 8:30. At that point my mom took my place and by 9:00 he was asleep.
Glimpse at motherhood number two: I got to face a few of my weaknesses and maintain my composure while doing so. I know that if I want to have kids of my own, I have many more stomach bug filled nights ahead of me. There are just some things that you cannot avoid as a mother. I got to practice running on very little sleep and still having enough energy to do all of the things a poor sick and demanding child commands (that is a motherhood skill that I will have to continue to practice). Again, this was just a glimpse as I had the option to hand it over to my mom and that it wasn’t a big deal for me to take a nap at noon when I could hardly keep my eyes open and fell asleep while sitting up.
Point is, I am thankful for these experiences. While they were not glamorous and I would have been fine if they had not happened, I know that they will only further prepare me for motherhood. I know that the difference between these nights and having my own children is the length of time. This weekend was just that, a weekend. I was able to sleep when I got sick. I got breaks in between and none of it was really my responsibility. When they are my own children, it won’t be for just a weekend but for a lifetime (however, I hope that cleaning up after the flu will only last a small portion of that lifetime). As difficult and heart breaking as it was to watch my nephew writhe in pain this one time, it will be even more heart wrenching to watch my own child face pain over and over again in their lifetime.
But once again, this was just a glimpse.