Oh, the joys of motherhood!
If there was an official checklist to validate that a woman had been officially indoctrinated into the world of motherhood, it might go like this: Sleepless nights. Bags under the eyes; Yellow-green, mushy, vinegary smelling baby feces caked under her not-so-beautifully manicured nails.
Maybe your mommy checklist includes rocking that “I haven’t showered in five days” look for a seventh day in a row, or “Little immobile being rules my every thought and dictates my every move from the comfort of his or her very own lounger, bassinet, or Bumbo seat, often as he or she is swaddled, like a mental patient in a strait jacket-
Oh, wait, maybe that’s just how I’m feeling today
-hands and feet unable to escape the soft, stretchy fabric, yet somehow, despite this incapability, remains in complete control.”
Oh, what joy!
The joys of motherhood evaded me for nearly two decades once I was prepared to experience them.
After finishing college, landing a teaching job, marrying at 30, wading through the deep, darkness of the infertility pool, mothering hundreds of students and a handful of Labrador pups to quench my ever-present mothering thirst, and jumping through the innumerable hoops of the adoption process that left me feeling hopeless, I was finally indoctrinated into motherhood, the “official” checklist, and the “joys”, two years ago, at 43, when a selfless angel entrusted my husband and me with a part of her soul in the form of our son, Thayer.
I had been inaugurated, at last, and was shared the secret handshake to this extraordinary sisterhood that had for so long eluded me!
I had reached nirvana, and this membership was even more enchanting than I had ever hoped or dreamed. I felt like Dorothy reaching the Emerald City, and everything, just everything, seemed much more vibrant and beautiful.
And, at last, I would get to live out the coveted “Mommy checklist” I had so envied and admired.
Sleepless nights spent caring for and cuddling my son were nothing short of perfection. The bags and dark circles arrived pretty quickly and were celebrated, like a badge of honor. The weird smelling, yellowy-green excrement that dispelled from my infant’s tiny and perfect little behind not only ended up under my nails, but on my clothes and in my hair, and I didn’t even notice, as I was buried deep in the joyful throngs of motherhood.
As my son has grown, the joys have become even more magical and significant. He became mobile, and no longer controlled my every thought and move from the comfy confines of his bouncer, but from here and there (and everywhere), in a manner that felt much like a Couch to 5K training regime as I chased him from room to room.
One of my favorite moments with him was when Daddy had the nerve to leave us for an ENTIRE weekend. At first, we were doing amazingly well. I had everything handled (Who needs Daddy?), until…it came time…to take a shower. Uh? Um. Sigh.
Yeah, I was dumfounded. Who was going to entertain Thayer while Mommy was in the shower?
I contemplated my options and decided the best course of action was to put him in the bathroom with me and keep the door secure. What could possibly go wrong in that 10 x 5 foot space?
I hurriedly procured my shower and was pleased that I hadn’t heard any crashes or cries.
Finished, I pulled back the shower curtain to reveal the most unexpected sight: there sat my sweet angel bearing the most innocent smile, surrounded by not one, not two, but FIVE rolls of unraveled toilet paper. My heart swelled with pride, check!
He looked so darn cute!
As a mother you may recognize the joy in your child taking an extra-long nap that enables you to catch up around the house and make it presentable enough that if CPS were to stop by, they wouldn’t confiscate your children.
After you pick up the plethora of toys, chisel off the sticky, vacuum the Cheerios that are entangled in the carpet, you are feeling on top of your game when, suddenly, you hear the virtuous sounds of your angel waking from his or her slumber.
Often I have come to realize that there is always a price to pay for long naps.
Opening the door to my son’s room, I am greeted by the ungodly, pungent smell of…SHIT! I look over to his crib where he stands partially naked, from the waist down, covered in his own poo; his diaper lays open, unsoiled, in the opposite corner of the crib, while he, his sheet, and the crib, look as though a jar of Hershey’s chocolate sauce has imploded all over them.
No longer feeling on top of my game, I begin to scrub away the bits of Almond Joy (and Mounds too), from him and the surrounding surfaces and check “Kid shits all over everything!” off my coveted list.
On the other hand, the joys of motherhood aren’t always quite as messy per se. As a mother, one of the most celebrated moments of the day is bath time.
Pour the water, add a little lavender magic, role play as the dolphin trainer at Sea World in the land of bath toys, scrub some body parts, and you are a book read away from bedtime.
Unless, your child decides to switch up the routine and you don’t get the memo until after the bath has been partially poured. As he sits in the rocker in his bedroom contemplating whether he would like to listen to me recite I’ll Love You Forever or Guess How Much I Love You this particular evening, I decide to utilize the interim to dispose of the bathroom trash.
Quickly, I hurry back to his bedroom in complete and utter anticipation of what book has been chosen when I pass the bathroom and notice my son, fully clothed…in the bath tub!
I am overcome by panic until I see it — there on the counter — his iPhone 6, and am thankful that he had the foresight to remove it from his pocket, before diving in. Ok, so it was a play phone, but whatever.
The “joys”, the “joys”, the “joys”!
As you continue to experience the “joys” and check items off your mommy checklist, consider what Elder M. Russell Ballard once said, “The joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.”
The joys of motherhood: May you embrace them, cherish them, and celebrate them.
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