I don’t say these words very often, but they are in my head many times a day while I’m trying to meet, reason with or quell the demands of my two boys. Every demand forces me to weigh the effort it will take for me to meet said demand against the long-term consequence of their getting their way on this particular issue paralleled with how much energy I have and am willing to spend on the inevitable fit a 3-year-old throws upon being told “no.” More often than I care to admit these “discussions” end with some version of “fine! here! now please be quiet!”
Please don’t misunderstand. I love my boys. I have happily chosen to stay home and raise them. But holy moly for the love of the goddess and mother earth and Eleanor Roosevelt; they NEVER stop! Never stop talking, needing, begging, questioning or arguing. Never. Not ever. The other day I sent my 3-year-old outside to play in his sand box. When I went to check on him he was having a heated argument with, what I assumed to be, an imaginary friend.
Of all the things I thought would be hard for me as a mom, this wasn’t even on the list. But then again, very little about motherhood has been what I expected. As you may know, parenthood is something that you just can’t fully understand until you are in the thick of it. But I thought I had a better idea than most because I had spent so much of my life caring for other people’s children. This work brought me great joy and it was often the one area of my life where I felt completely competent and at peace. What I couldn’t predict about parenting is how my sweet little babies seem to have been born with little flashlights designed to shine brightly on the few things my therapist and I did not uncover in our 3 years of weekly visits. As a mom I am forever second guessing myself and I don’t think I’m the only one. But why?
I have a theory…
After a baby is born you still have to push out the placenta. I’m fairly certain that while your uterus is growing a baby the placenta is growing a whole lot of maternal guilt. Until I had my own, I was never bothered by babies crying and believed that it was natural for one to fuss a bit before drifting off to sleep. But when I sat listening to my first son cry instead of falling asleep it felt like my uterus would sprout arms legs and go rock that kid to sleep if I didn’t do it myself! It physically hurt to listen to him cry.
I’ve heard that many people save the placenta and ingest it as either a soup (oyster crackers anyone?) or in a dried powder form put into capsules. It is supposed to help replenish some of the nutrients lost during labor and delivery, I think. But here’s my theory: I think we need to eat that placenta not for the vitamins and minerals, but to show our uterus just who is in charge! Yes motherhood is beautiful and natural and amazing. But, just like pregnancy, it’s also strange and uncomfortable, and sometimes when you look in the mirror you don’t quite recognize yourself.