Tag Archives: Motherhood

Before I Was A Mom…

fall 05 (Custom)

…crying children were like nails on a chalkboard. Now? I frantically search until I find the source to make sure a parent is there taking care of the distraught little one.

…I slept as late as I wanted to on the weekends, which wasn’t very late, but still. I slept until I wanted to get up. Now? Wake up call in our house is 6am. Every day. Every. Single. Day.

…my husband and I could have a little romp in the hay, mid-afternoon, take a little nap afterwards and do it all over again. Now? We have to schedule time. And then keep/remember/have the energy for “the date.” Afterwards we say, “Mmmmm. That was nice. Let’s not wait 3 months for the next time, k?”

…having the money to go out was no big deal. We did what we felt like. When we felt like it. Now? We have to tack on $40-50 more to the budget for the babysitter. Ouch!

…I always remembered to shave my legs. Now? Please don’t look!

…I had seen every single Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards. Printed out my ballots and threw a big bash so we could eat popcorn and Twizzlers and comment on the tuxes, dresses, and  speeches. Now? Do they still have those awards shows? After our nightly Curious George episode our tv is off.

…I loved my husband. Now? I adore, cherish, am continually amazed by, LOVE my husband. He is such a wonderful father.

…hugs were nice. Now? Hugs are sticky, slimy, sweet smelling, cozy little wonders all day long.

…my skin was fresh with not a wrinkle in sight. Now? I’ve earned every single “laugh line” quite honestly. My children set me into a fit of giggles at least once a day.

…I wondered how I was going to make a difference in the world. Now? I’m shaping the future with my bare hands.

(Sorry for the re-run. My sister is in town (for 10 days!) and she doesn’t even know I blog. And I’m not telling her now. So, I’m going to be a bit scarce. I’ll try to sneak online but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorite posts. Enjoy your week!)

7 Comments

Filed under children, Moms, Motherhood

The #1 Little Piece Of Information NOT To Share With Your Child

It was a feminist literature class. On the contemporary reading list was The Joy Luck Club. A book chock full of mother/daughter relationships.

The assignment?

An interview with your mother.

The questions we were required to ask were predictable. How did you meet my father? Why did you choose marriage at that time in your life? What was your life like before kids? How far did you take your education? What did you learn from your mother about parenting?

What was your reaction when you heard you were pregnant with me?

“Defeat.”

Huh? Did I hear her right? Did she really say defeat?

Uh. Yes.

She did.

I knew I didn’t really want to hear any more. A glutton for punishment, I asked her to explain.

“Well. When I married your father I knew I wanted to go to college. He wanted to start a family right away. So I made a deal with him. We would have sex one night in the month of March. He could pick the night. If I got pregnant, fine. We’d start having kids. If not, I could start school.”

Oh.

“I was looking through college catalogs and I felt a little sick to my stomach. Then I realized I was a few days late for my period. I knew your father had won. So I threw the catalogs in the trash and here you are.”

A consolation prize?

“You know. I never wanted to be a mother. But that’s what was expected of me. So I did it.”

Four times. What were you thinking?

“You kids kept me from getting my degree for 10 years. But, I eventually got it. So I guess it all worked out, right?”

Uh. No.

It didn’t.

Your response explains a lot. It explains the heavy sighs. The crabby days. How we always seemed in your way. Why we all scurried every time you came home. Your nightly vodka tonics. How some days you could barely look at us.

But it didn’t work out.

Not for me, anyway.

And when you completely forgot my birthday this year? No card. No phone call.

At least now.

I know why.

20 Comments

Filed under Moms, Motherhood

What NOT To Say To Adoptive Parents

“Now that you’re adopting, you’re sure to get pregnant!”

“Oh, it happens all the time. Once you take the pressure off, you’ll get pregnant!”

I have been through adoption twice. Biological birth, once. Happens all the time? Yes, it happened to us – one time. But the first time? No.

Our world was turned upside down and our adoption threatened when we found out that I was 10 weeks pregnant. #1son was already assigned to us and we were waiting for him to come home.

Please, don’t say “Oh, that happens all the time!” It doesn’t.

It didn’t after #1daughter was adopted. And I know of only one instance where pregnancy happened during adoption – out of all the families I’ve come into contact with through the course of our journey.

While we were waiting for a decision from the agency if we could still adopt our son because of my pregnancy, those comments were of little comfort. We were already in love with our son from Korea. He was already born to us, as far as we were concerned. We had pictures. We had named him. To lose him now would be devastating. The pregnancy was no consolation prize.

I can’t tell you how many times someone said to me, “Oh, now that you’re adopting you’ll get pregnant!” I waited 11 long years for that to finally happen. So, I suppose they were right. Eventually. But I had given up all hope of pregnancy. Those comments, as well-meaning as they are, can be little stabs to your heart if you aren’t physically pregnant and you desperately want to be.  It takes away from the joy that you are pregnant in your heart with your adoptive child on the way.

In our case, in our second case, I was actually pregnant, with an adoptive son on the way. All of the well-meaning, but mildly thoughtless comments, took away from the joy of our #1son and HIS place in our family – as if he were second best. As if he were the consolation prize.

I am so grateful that I was able to experience the joy of giving birth. Of being physically pregnant as well as mentally pregnant. If it weren’t for my age, I’d go back on the fertility roller coaster all over again.

But forming a family through adoption is no consolation prize. It is an amazing, wonderful and perfectly viable way of creating family. The planning, wishing, hoping and heartache that accompanies the adoption journey makes it that much more beautiful.

Be excited for the once infertile mom if you ever hear of this happening. Be delighted for her that she gets to experience the joy of adoption and the joy of pregnancy.

Most of all, be thrilled that she is creating this amazing family.

Out of biology.

Out of need.

Out of love.

20 Comments

Filed under children, Motherhood, parenting, Soapbox

The Duplicity Dance With One Mother And One Daughter

duplicity

\doo-PLIS-i-tee, dyoo-\ , noun;

 1.Deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech; also, an instance of deliberate deceptiveness; double-dealing.

 2.The quality or state of being twofold or double.

I didn’t really, truly begin to see my mother until I was an adult. In my childhood and in my teens, I was cast by her spell. My mother suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. But I was only able to name it just recently. In the past she was “weird,” “mean,” “an abuser,” “fake,” and “crazy.”

My parents are known for meeting someone and adopting them into their fold. They are “the best friend I’ve ever known,” “the kindest neighbor I’ve ever had,” “the sweetest person I’ve ever met.” That is, until the first mis-step. And then that person tumbles into a dark abyss. One day you’re the kindest neighbor. The next day you’re the spinster. On and on it goes. The best employee, the crook. The beautiful friend from church, the cripple.

My mother put me on a pedestal. According to her, I was the perfect baby. The perfect child. I was a young adult when my mother came back from a therapy session and she said, “My therapist says I put you on a pedestal and I need to take you off.” I remember the huge relief I felt just her saying that. My feelings validated. But it was also in that moment that I began to stand up for myself. Pull away from her control.

In that moment, I scrambled off that tower as fast as I could. In her eyes, I came tumbling down.

It was the beginning of the end for us.

My parents had followed me to where I lived. Nevermind that they had aging parents back in our home state. I was Golden Girl. I would “fix” my mother. When I tumbled from the pedestal they packed up and moved away. After they left, people in our small town would ask about my parents. How are they? Oh, they are just the sweetest people. I just love your Mom. She has such a wonderful sense of humor.

Sweetest people? Wonderful sense of humor? I didn’t see it. What I saw behind closed doors, within the comfort of their home was unkindness, selfishness and biting sarcasm. Behind closed doors she criticized others, made fun of weaknesses. What were these people seeing that I didn’t?

Duplicity. My mother is a master.

I recently saw an episode of House where the case involved a woman who was able to understand feelings but wasn’t able to experience them. She had perfected the art of lying and lacked a conscience. A clinical psychopath. At one point she deliberately upsets one of the doctors on her case. After the personal attack, the doctor appears to be on the verge of tears. The patient asks, gleefully, if she’s going to cry. She wants to see it happen because she hasn’t mastered that emotion yet.

Now I’m not so cruel as to call my mother clinically psychotic. But I saw my mother in that episode. Appearing the wildly successful career woman with the perfect husband, the perfect life.  Behind closed doors? A life that is distorted and phony.

I was recently looking through some photo albums with my children. The pictures of my father with them depicted playfulness, warm hugs and cuddles, belly laughs. With my mother they are forced. She holds them as infants at uncomfortable angles, out away from her body, stiff, with a pained expression as if she can’t wait for the moment to end. She will ask  me to take a picture of her with her grandchildren. To prepare for the pose she will stand a few feet away from them and then you’ll see this flash of recognition, as if suddenly she remembers to lean in, get close.

In the beginning of our marriage my husband would explain to me that my mother was sick. That it was just like any other disease. That I should be more understanding and not take it personally.  But then the behind-closed-doors-meanness crept into his world.

It started with snide remarks, and rolling of the eyes when he’d state an opinion and then moved to direct comments like, “I raised my daughter for better than this!” while appraising our first apartment together during our humble-beginning-years. He no longer tells me to stop taking her comments personally. He no longer talks about her “illness.” Instead, we have established limits for the amount of time we spend with them and never allow the children to be alone with her.

Like a magician, now you see her – now you don’t. She wears one face for some, a different face for others. And I have moved through a range of emotion, acceptance levels and tolerance. I straddle between guilt and anger. Guilt because it’s my mother. I feel like we’re supposed to be close. But when I try to be close she pulls a stunt that brings on anger and I push away. Even my role with her has become a dance with duplicity.

I envy my friends with warm, loving relationships with their mothers. I struggle to recognize destructive behaviour in myself so as not to repeat it with my own daughter. And I wrestle often with feelings of guilt and anger over a lost childhood and lost relationships. Dancing amidst all of the feelings I push myself to let go of destructive memories and people I can’t control.

My life now is about creating a new dance. A pure and joyful, playful, dance with my own children. Thank goodness I can both understand and experience every emotion. Even the negative ones. I am so grateful that I am not crippled by a disease that keeps me from experiencing intimate, loving relationships – filled with good and bad.

Even when I am experiencing loss and longing it means that I am capable of understanding and feeling.

And for that I feel so very, very lucky.  

20 Comments

Filed under Motherhood

Jon and Kate? Meet Fate!

I click on my yahoo page today and I see yet another headline about Jon and Kate. Enough already! Their 15 minutes of fame should have died episodes ago.

When the show first aired my mother and her sister (twins) loved the show. My younger sisters (twins) thought it was intriguing. (Yes, my mother,a twin, had twins. No, that’s an old wives tale that it skips generations.) It was on a few times before I finally gave it a try.

Now, I was an infertile woman who had been through all the non-invasive tests and tricks to get pregnant. Once things got invasive; I drew the line. As far as I was concerned, there were plenty of children already born who needed homes. If my body couldn’t have one I’d help a woman who couldn’t take care of her child.

So, here I sat. Watching a woman berate her husband for all the world to see and then, tears in her eyes, cry to America how stressful and expensive it was to raise 8 kids. Hmmmmm  Did multiples run in her family? (Evidently, it can when fraternal twins are involved – as with my family.) Nope. Fertility drugs.

You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. Seriously? You’re going to cry on national television about the stresses of raising such a large family and you ASKED for this?

Don’t get me wrong. This is America. You have the freedom to deal with your infertility in a myriad of ways. And I’m so glad that we all have these options because adoption isn’t for everyone. But be prepared for the consequences. Know that with fertility drugs you run the “risk” of a multiple birth. And how about before you take said fertility drugs you make sure you’re prepared to feed, clothe, love and care for any amount of children you may conceive and give birth to. Just a suggestion.

Please! Once I heard (because she cried about that too, how hard it was for them to have kids) having this many children was a conscious decision, THEIR choice, I turned it off. And predicted that America would turn them off, as well.

Boy, was I wrong. To date they’ve aired more than 100 episodes. How can this happen? The show I saw, Kate was so mean to her husband. She treated him like a child. I predicted that marriage to end in divorce back when the show first began. Is anyone else surprised? Did you not see that coming? Why are we still following this nightmare?  

Because it’s THEIR nightmare. Not ours. Someone else’s life is worse. But we, with our voyeurism fascination, have created a nightmare for the children. Don’t get me wrong. Ultimately, I blame Jon and Kate for putting their children in a fishbowl. But who is out there watching the fish?

Ok. I’ll step down off my soapbox now. Darn. I knew I couldn’t really make it a Wordless Wednesday!

14 Comments

Filed under Soapbox

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points

A straight line. No detours. No stopping at “Go” to collect $200 (although, that does sound kinda nice.) I just want to walk a straight line. Go from point A to point B. And be done. Finished with whatever it is I want to accomplish.

Moms don’t walk in straight lines. We have to step off the track. Kiss a boo-boo. Fix breakfast. Throw that load of laundry in. Take the dog out. Break up another WWF-worthy wrestling match.

I woke up this morning positively energized. How? I don’t know; because I was up until 1am reading all of YOUR wonderful blogs. But this morning I had ideas for posts just bursting to get on “paper.” (What do you young kids call it these days? On screen?) I’m in the shower just hoping I’ll remember all of these fabulous ideas long enough to get them jotted down in a rough form. I must have had a weeks worth spilling forth. Amazing posts that would undoubtedly change YOUR life (yes, I’m speaking to you, sitting there in your pj’s, sipping coffee and sneaking the last of the Oreos) FOREVER! Then son#2 came into the bathroom, “Mom? If I could be a real superhero… I mean really be one…can I do it for a job someday?”  Sure sweetie, you can be anything you want to be. Now go watch TV with your brother. I’m trying to get ready for the day.

I step out of the shower, walk to my closet and the cat has left me a lovely gift. Hairball mixed with regurgitated Meow Mix. Lovely. Clean that up. Wash hands. Dry hair. Skip make-up because I can still remember about 6 of those FABULOUS post ideas. “Mom!!!” Yes? “Can we play Xbox? It’s raining out!” Son #1 has already anticipated my typical response of “Go play outside.” Yes, you can play Xbox. Good! That’ll give me at least a half an hour to jot down ideas.

The phone rings. My husband, sweet man that he is, heard something on the radio on his way to work that reminded him of me and wants to share. Blah, blah, blah. Unload dishwasher while I listen and see that I forgot to put the load from the washer to the dryer last night. Do that, too. Hang up. Remember that I need to strip the beds. While stuffing sheets into the washer I remember that I had all these good ideas for a post today. What were they again? One. Ok. Two. Uh-huh. What was three again? No idea.

Ok. Upstairs to the computer. Turn it on. Two ideas out of seven, not bad. Just hurry up and boot up so I can write (type?) you down. “Mom!!!!!” #1son screams from downstairs. “It’s lightening out. Do we have to shut off Xbox?” Yes. And I have to shut down slow dinosaur of a computer. Set the good example and all of that.

Sigh. So now, it’s two hours later and I’ve got NADA. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

The shortest distance between two points is a line. I just want to walk a straight line sometimes.

11 Comments

Filed under children, Motherhood

I Thought I Knew

I taught a high school composition course and one semester, the way the schedule fell, there were only females in the class. Can you imagine? Well, I suppose you can if you teach in an all-girls school but this was a dream class for me. And since it was a private school I had a bit of leeway with the curriculum. So with a snip here and a stitch there I tailored the class for young women. It was an amazing semester. Full of women’s literature, women’s essays and short stories. They wrote and wrote and wrote and it was great fun. And true to my collaborative style THEY came up with an assignment: Interview our mothers and then write about the responses, how we felt about their responses, what we expected and how we were surprised. And then they added one more requirement. I had to participate, as well.

I was in my mid 20’s and had a co-dependant, close relationship with my mother. Secretly, I knew I was the favorite of her 4 daughters. I thought I knew her inside and out. I wouldn’t even have to call her. I knew how she would respond.

The questions all revolved around how our mothers approached relationships with boyfriends, parents, husbands and children. We would interview our mothers and then report as a group some of our findings before we sat down to write.

I called my mother, told her about the assignment and began asking questions.

Q. So, Mom. Why did you marry Dad?    A. Because I knew he’d be a good provider.

What?!? Didn’t you love him? Didn’t you love how funny he was , cute, endearing, fun to be around? I was stunned. She was very matter of fact. She said she grew to love him but no, she wasn’t really in love at first. She just wanted to get out of the house and go to college – which her parents didn’t want her to do. They felt college for a woman was a waste of time. She knew he loved her and he was college educated. That was enough for her.

Q. How did you and Dad decide to have me?    A. Your Dad wanted kids and I didn’t. I wanted to go to school. So I gave him one night during my fertile time and if I got pregnant I’d be a mom. If I didn’t, I’d go to nursing school.

Guess what? She got pregnant. With me. And then 3 others in the span of 3 years. At one point she had 4 children age 3 and under (the two youngest were twins.) How’s that for karma?

Looking back, after years of getting over my stunned reaction, it makes so much sense now. She resented all of us. She resented how we kept her from getting the career she wanted, when she wanted it. She did, eventually, go to school and become a very fine intensive care nurse. Once we were all in school, when society deemed it acceptable for her to have something of her own, she went to school. And worked nights. And left us to take care of each other. In elementary school, I made all of our lunches and would envy the kids who went home after school to a mom complete with milk and cookies. By the 6th grade I was making dinners for the family. I taught 6th grade one time (never again!) and do you know how tiny they are? Granted, we ate a lot of spaghetti, french toast and scrambled eggs, “Madhatter Meatballs” from the kid’s Betty Crocker cookbook – the few things I could make. But still.

I used to say I wouldn’t be the woman I am now if it weren’t for my mother. Back then I was talking about the person that made school a priority, lived an independent life. But now I see that my crusade to make sure EVERY child is wanted stems more from her example than anything else. I made a conscious decision to adopt. I made a conscious decision to have a biological child. I’ve welcomed foster children into my home. I preach birth control because no innocent child should have to be a “consequence” of your actions. I pray for a world where abortion is unnecessary.

I had no idea where that conviction to “save the children” came from. Until now.

11 Comments

Filed under Moms, Motherhood

Before I Was A Mom…

fall 05 (Custom)

…crying children were like nails on a chalkboard. Now? I frantically search until I find the source to make sure a parent is there taking care of the distraught little one.

…I slept as late as I wanted to on the weekends, which wasn’t very late, but still. I slept until I wanted to get up. Now? Wake up call in our house is 6am. Every day. Every. Single. Day.

…my husband and I could have a little romp in the hay, mid-afternoon, take a little nap afterwards and do it all over again. Now? We have to schedule time. And then keep/remember/have the energy for “the date.” Afterwards we say, “Mmmmm. That was nice. Let’s not wait 3 months for the next time, k?”

…having the money to go out was no big deal. We did what we felt like. When we felt like it. Now? We have to tack on $40-50 more to the budget for the babysitter. Ouch!

…I always remembered to shave my legs. Now? Please don’t look!

…I had seen every single Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards. Printed out my ballots and threw a big bash so we could eat popcorn and Twizzlers and comment on the tuxes, dresses, and  speeches. Now? Do they still have those awards shows? After our nightly Curious George episode our tv is off.

…I loved my husband. Now? I adore, cherish, am continually amazed by, LOVE my husband. He is such a wonderful father.

…hugs were nice. Now? Hugs are sticky, slimy, sweet smelling, cozy little wonders all day long.

…my skin was fresh with not a wrinkle in sight. Now? I’ve earned every single “laugh line” quite honestly. My children set me into a fit of giggles at least once a day.

…I wondered how I was going to make a difference in the world. Now? I’m shaping the future with my bare hands.

 

This post was inspired by the Group Writing Project. Click the picture below for more info!

MamaBlogga Group Writing Project

6 Comments

Filed under Motherhood