Sounds a little dramatic at first, but let me explain.
Before I became a mother, I didn’t know what it was all about. I’m sure most mothers would agree. I thought I knew, sure. I’d been around children my whole life and cared for many of them. How much harder could it be to do that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
The answer is: HAHAHAHAHA! You fool.
The problem, for me anyway, wasn’t the physical aspects of parenting that threw me for a loop. Not to say that things like sleep deprivation, breast-feeding constantly at times, and having someone just on you for hours at a time isn’t exhausting because, well, it totally is.
It’s the emotional toll that is alarming. Specifically though, the constant, never-ending, ceaseless, debilitating, all-consuming worry that comes with motherhood (and I’m sure fatherhood too but I’m talking about my sisters here right now). That was the hardest difference between looking after someone else’s kid and trying to care for my own.
The closest anyone got to warning me about this was the whole, “You’ll never love anyone else as much as you love your children.” Well, that may be true but it’s an entirely different kind of love. The kind where you can’t breathe when you imagine something happening to them. And you will imagine all the horrible things that could happen to them, as dark as that sounds, because you can’t help it. The worrying never ends and it persists in little ways as I scan the floor constantly for lurking dangers, to the big ways when I think about illnesses and kidnappers and cars and natural disasters and household accidents. It. is. exhausting. Worrying constantly is exhausting. But, you can’t shut it off. So, you learn to live with it and just accept that you will be exhausted and you will worry until the day you die, because it doesn’t end when they leave the house. Of this I am sure.
So, what’s a girl to do? You’re tired, emotionally spent, insecure about your ability to do this thing properly, you name it. I’ll tell you what I did. I hopped on the internet to see if I was the only freak out there who felt this way and guess what? I am not! I found that my thoughts and worries were so common I was almost considered boring.
Without this group of women that I have become close with over the years (and it has grown to a very large number!) I probably would have: 1) Lost my mind, 2) Been in the emergency room every time my child sneezed, and 3) Probably be a little bit richer since we seem to encourage each other to shop. A lot. But hey, 9 times out of 10 it’s some sort of incredible sale or deal so it’s okay!
In all seriousness, I probably would have thought I was the worst mother in the world if it wasn’t for some very sage ladies in my mommy arsenal. I appreciate them every day.