It was a dark and stormy night…. Any one who blogs must begin the daunting task of the first entry. Visions of Snoopy typing furiously away on his house, throwing sheets of paper away come to mind. As you can see, this blog will be one of the bajillions of mommy blogs out there. Unoriginal? Yes. Boring? A good chance of that. Might start a discussion with you? Hopefully. I do know that it is unlikely that I will say anything earth shattering or new to any of you who may occasionally read this (i.e. my friends). This blog is simply for myself to keep the brain juices flowing and prevent further loss of my thinning vocabulary.
I am an older, stay-at-home mom of a 2 year old girl. I think that older moms find the “job” of motherhood humbling. At least I do. I initially worked in the entertainment business then went on to be a lawyer. Both were high stress jobs. In the biz (entertainment folks call it that), my hours were from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., lunch and dinner on the run, making a paltry sum with high-powered execs screaming at you and yet, ignoring you at the same time. I remember one executive producer standing in front of my desk, screaming at me like a lunatic, and tearing the leaves off a potted tree because the call from his wife in Europe, got dropped. ATT’s crappy coverage somehow became my problem.
I then traded one crazy career for another by going to law school. Hours at the law firm were horrendous: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. There were several months when I worked every single day except one. When I say every day, I mean Every Day — Saturday and Sunday too. I managed to take one day out of an entire month off. One case was particularly grueling for all the associates working on it. The day I took a 20 minute nap in the conference room on a Saturday was a low point.
So, now you’re saying, being a stay-at-home mom is total cake-walk, sister! Nope. The stresses are different and while I may not be dealing with a crumbling corporation or screaming, ego-filled execs, the stakes are higher. I have a little being whom I responsible for; someone who will be an adult in this world, must handle it all and ultimately succeed. We’re talking more than ABC’s and potty training. She has to deftly handle emotions, obstacles, demands, social media, and boys! Or worse, girls!
There is no specialized education or training for motherhood. You have only 9 months to prepare yourself with what’s to come. You think you know what to do, because all your friends have already told you everything. But the baby arrives and you’re just wildly stabbing in the dark mostly because you’re just so freakin’ exhausted. In law, I could find all the answers in a book, or at least fashion an answer from a book. Yes, parenting advice is also available in books. As a type-A lawyer, it’s not surprising that I’ve read more parenting books than I would care to admit. When my little munchkin was 4 months old, I desperately read so many sleep training books, convinced that the golden answer would miraculously put her to sleep without screaming or crying. But no. I cobbled some theories and ultimately, she just cried and screamed anyway as she put herself to sleep. I might as well have not read a single book. Raising children is not like practicing law. There is no right answer. You can’t study it or acquire training beforehand. You just hope it works.
I’ve also noticed that, unlike finding legal precedent on-line quickly for an agitated partner, parenting advice is often not available at critical moments. Oh, say, such as being by yourself with a toddler as she melts down on an airplane when your hands are full of stuff, you’re sweaty because you had to carry this 25 pound person through the airport along with everything you could possibly stuff in your carry-on; people are glaring at you and you know they are furiously Facebooking about the nightmare kid on the airplane and you’re doing everything you can to calm her. Snacks….pacifier…. new toy I bought for the airplane…Sky Mall….air sickness bag… anything dammit! The shrugs and sheepish smiles you flash to the flight attendants and other passengers feel pathetic.
Motherhood is humbling because it’s so personal and no one has all the answers. Especially not me. Flying by the seat of my pants. Each moment is a teachable moment – either for her or for me. But I wouldn’t trade this “job” or these moments with her for the world. For every bump or trial, there’s the warm, sleepy snuggle in the bed before the first light of morning, the giggles, the quiet reading together, dancing around like fools, watching her experience everything for the first time and seeing the wonderment and joy in her face, and last but not least, the “i love you mommy.”