Most things about motherhood confuse me. Before, I thought I was going to LOVE being pregnant. It was going to be a MAGICAL time, I was convinced. I would glow! Then I actually GOT pregnant and found out that the pregnancy glow everyone talks about? Is actually a fine layer of sweat. I never knew Oklahoma winters could be so HOT. The weatherman claimed that it was the coldest winter they had had in 17 years, but weathermen (wait, is it weatherpeople?) are wrong at least 67% of the time. Its true. I did some research.
I was confused about how I felt about my newborn. Wasn’t I supposed to have this overwhelming sense of love and adoration for her? I didn’t. Sure, she was cute. But I’m convinced that kids are cute so parents don’t drop them off at gas stations when they get to be too much. My boobs? They baffled me. Why didn’t they work the way they were supposed to? I mean, they have ONE job to do (and no, it’s not entertaining my husband, as much as he insists that it is) and they weren’t doing it. Come to think of it, my boobs also confused 3 Lactation Consultants, 2 different chapters of LLL, and my mother – who apparently breastfed me until I was three and only stopped because she became pregnant with my kid brother.
As Claire got older, my bafflement of all things child-related grew. Where, exactly, does one learn the “Evil Eye.” Is there a class I missed? Do they also teach “The Voice That Stops Kids In Their Tracks?” Because my lovely sister-in-law doesn’t even have to get to three before her kids run to do whatever it is they’re supposed to do. I tried that once. I said, “Claire. 1……2” thinking she’d jump at the thought of getting in trouble. Nope. She went, “3…4…5!”
In fact, I have failed at every form of punishment I’ve tried. I’ve tried the Stern Voice (“Claire. SIT. DOWN.); I’ve tried the Quiet Voice In Her Ear, which is works well with the Threat (“Claire, if you don’t stop screaming at your cousin, we will leave”). One time, I tried Time-Out and wouldn’t let her get up until she apologized for hitting me. She sat in that chair for 4 and a half hours. You think I’m kidding.
I was confused when my Gymboree teacher asked me to teach a few classes a week. Most of the time I didn’t like my OWN kid. Why would I want to spend time with kids that I DIDN’T grow inside my body for 9 months? I was confused when other mothers suggested I become a preschool teacher. See above. I was confused when I started actually ENJOYING the kids music that played through our car speakers every day. And the night I lay on the couch with Claire – after she fell asleep, mind you – to finish a new episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, I almost didn’t recognize myself.
The truth is, I’d rather stay at home with a good book than go out to a bar. Well, unless that bar has karaoke. I can rock Salt-n-Peppa’s “Shoop” almost better than Salt or Pepper. Because, as I always say, it doesn’t matter HOW much I have to drink, Homeslice is still up at 6am.
Motherhood is confusing and you NEVER learn everything; you think you’ve got everything under control and then they decide that they DON’T like applesauce anymore, that they’d rather poop on the floor than go on the potty. It doesn’t make sense that they only like spaghetti at your sister-in-law’s house, even though you make it the EXACT same way; or that they know just how far to push you before you totally lose your shit, and that’s when they rev up the doe eyes and cuddles. Nothing about motherhood make sense.
But on days when everything goes right; when there aren’t any tears (Yours or theirs), when they take a three hour nap and eat their dinner without walking around the house or asking for 12 different drink options. When, at the end of the day, the house is clean (or clean-ish), dinner’s made, and you’re still laughing. Those days? That’s when it doesn’t matter if it confuses you.
Because it’s so good.