I read this lovey-dovey article the other day, speaking about the “things that kids don’t know about their mothers.”
Post-delivery I would have been so (with delicate sobbing) “Oh this article is so speaking to me PERSONALLY”.
Because you are the only woman to have given birth, ever. You are special, blessed. The baby is a gift from God (for the believers) or Mother Nature (for the atheist hippies). This is what your messed up hormones will have you believe.
But now, with a nearly 1-year-old and a nearly 3-year-old, I feel there are certain truths that should be mentioned.
1. “You made her cry… A lot… When she found out she was pregnant, and crying with happiness when she was giving birth.”
Absolutely true. I cried A LOT.
I cried when I put on 10kg in the first trimester simply by breathing. Stupid calorie-laden air.
I cried when Suzie at the café accidentally put soft cheese on my croissant instead of cheddar. She is no longer known as Suzie… but as evil Listeria-witch.
And I cried in late pregnancy when my husband gently suggested that my comfy pink-striped-tracksuit pants were not suitable for the restaurant, because clearly that meant he was having an affair with a hot stripper named Candy, hated me, and wanted an immediate divorce.
And anyone who tells you they were crying from happiness whilst giving birth is a liar. You are crying because you are actually living the experience of Alien vs Predator (except the baby is both the alien and predator) and you are poor Linda Hamilton before she could do pull ups; weak and lame. You are crying due to the pain akin to falling into a vat of molten steel. And I don’t even care that I got my movies mixed up.
2. “She wanted that last piece of pie… But when she saw that you, her child, wanted it she gave it up because it would make her happier to see your tummy filled.”
Yeah sorry, so not true. I ate the damn pie, yeah the WHOLE THING. Sometimes, on a good day, I’d give you little crumbs… And then remind you how lucky you were because little kids in North Korea don’t even get pie crumbs.
3. “She was always afraid… Afraid of you waking up with nightmares… Afraid that you would need cuddles at night…”
I was afraid. Afraid of many things.
Afraid that my sleep debt would never be paid back.
Afraid of the next childcare pestilence you would bring home.
Afraid that I would break the delicate balance of number of coffees per day for survival vs making the baby jittery and unable to sleep due to caffeinated breast milk.
But mostly I was afraid when you were breastfeeding and teething at the same time. For that we mothers deserve the Purple Heart.
4. “She carried you longer than 9 months… She held and snuggled and loved you. She held you all the time.”
Yep, sure did. Mostly to avoid meltdowns. And also to train as a one-handed Ninja with a pelvic floor of concrete.
5. “She put you first… She did it because she loved you and because you are a good parent.”
Partially true. Of course I love you. Of course I put you first (except when there’s pie involved, see point 2). And of COURSE I’m a good parent, because:
a) I use reusable organic nappies and feed you organic food in organic packaging (no wait, should be organically grown in your organic garden) with organic water that is gluten-free. And fair trade. Preferably water that is made from the saliva of one-armed ethnic minority women who make bracelets from the faeces of rare, endangered birds;
b) I give you the right amount of stimulation – so that you end up somewhere in between a Ukranian orphanage kid and a child who’s been diagnosed with ADHD and started on Ritalin aged 2 weeks;
c) I ‘enable’ sleep – this can only be done after reading books which extol varying amounts of putting down/ picking up/ patting/ shushing/ sleep school/ environmental cue changes/ dietary changes. I don’t know if the kid ends up sleeping, but I do know that you can shush so loud you’re spraying saliva everywhere and you will still be decibel-inferior to a screaming kid, and that the only thing that leaning over into the cot and patting gives you is a Saturday Night Palsy… Every night of the week… Sadly unrelated to alcohol.
And there you have it, the things kids don’t know about their mothers. But most importantly…