Saturday, February 6, 2010


For centuries motherhood has been considered one of the most difficult and rewarding "jobs" a woman can have. There have been discussions, books, and classes about being a mother. Mothers get their own holiday. Celebrities are either praised or bashed in the press as a result of their mothering abilities. Some women choose to be stay-at-home moms, others take on the task of career and mother. There are young mothers, old mothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, and even godmothers (the last of which doesn't really count unless it's a birthday or holiday).

Ever since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to be a mother someday. My two younger half sisters were born when I was 10 and 12, and after helping take care of them - albeit only two weeks out of the year - I figured I would be pretty good at it. I spent a great deal of time with younger cousins and babies at church. I even nannied a child my senior year of high school. Based on what I considered to be a respectable amount of time caring for children, I assumed motherhood would be a breeze for me.

I never presumed to be an authority on child care, so whenever having conversations (ie: debates) about said subject I would give my opinion but never insinuate that I knew more than the women who actually had children. Obviously I had made decisions beforehand about how I would raise my children - rules I would enforce, which areas I would be lenient, etc. More than once after my mother and I had argued I promised myself that I would not do "this" or "that" when I had kids. In the early stages of our relationship, my husband and I discussed what we did and did not want for our possible future children. We discussed raising them in church; we talked about schools. We agreed on many different areas such as punishment, encouragement and taking interest in their hobbies.

When we found out I was pregnant with our first child, suddenly everything we knew (or thought we knew) about child care suddenly seemed insufficient. We were actually going to be responsible for the raising and molding of a person. We would influence their beliefs and outlooks. It felt like a lot of pressure. I was still confident though, that I would have no problems with the day-to-day care and management of a child and any future children.

Our first daughter, Hayden, was born January 2008. We happened to be staying with my mother and stepfather during that time, so my mother was right there with me, helping me adjust to being a new mom. Feedings, diaper changes, naps, play time. The hardest adjustment was definitely the sudden lack of sleep. Again, mom stepped in and kept the baby a night here and there so we could rest. God bless her. I had hardly even begun to adjust when we found out I was pregnant with baby number two. Since Hayden was still pretty easy to handle, we figured "hey, what's one more?" Ha. Because babies go through so many changes their first year and we were so busy with Hayden, it seemed like Anna got here in no time flat. She was born in December 2008. Our two and only children, born eleven months apart.

2009 for us was pretty smooth, as far as managing two babies goes. Anna came out a great sleeper, so she was a breeze. Hayden was sleeping through the night at a year old, so we got a great deal more sleep at night. It took a while for Hayden to adjust to this new little baby. She didn't quite understand why she couldn't play with Anna like she did with her baby dolls. We fell into a nice little routine, and I thanked God that I wasn't always fighting the urge to pull my hair out or run away screaming like some mothers claimed to. Then Hayden turned two.

To be honest, I never expected Hayden to go through the "terrible twos" phase. She has been, since her birth, one of the happiest babies I've ever known. I'm not just saying that because she's mine. Other people can vouch for me. She has been the smiling, dancing, plays-well-with-others, "oh, she's such a good baby" child. Never fusses in public, never mean to other kids. Then about two weeks before her birthday, something changed. She started bullying Anna by hitting or pushing her, stealing toys and being extra jealous of her. Suddenly she didn't want to mind as well.

On top of Hayden's small personality adjustments, Anna turned one and seemed to suddenly realize that she's now big enough to get into everything, throw mini-tantrums and fight back when Hayden bullies her (I don't entirely blame her on the last one). My girls went from easy and happy all the time, to easy and happy most of the time and the rest of the time making me want to pull my hair out and run away screaming.

Don't get me wrong here. I absolutely adore my children. I love being a mother. Ninety-nine percent of the time I find myself fighting back tears watching them play (nicely) together, when one of them climbs up in my lap or when I watch them sleeping. Random moments when I just feel overwhelmed at how precious they are and how much I love them. I thank God every single day for them. Sometimes, though, I just get so frustrated with them. They'll be having one of their days, and I'll be having one of mine, and I'll get fed up with them fuss too much.

Almost immediately I feel terrible. I feel like an awful mom. The guilt weighs on me and I promise myself that I will be more patient. I'm sure as far as "fussing" goes, I'm one of the less fussy people I know. I'm pretty patient with people in general. I'm very slow to anger, and always quick to get over it. It's like my kids just know how to push my buttons. Well, them and my husband. I wonder if I'm alone on this one. Do any other moms go through this? Maybe by Mother's Day I'll have figured it out.

Ah, motherhood.

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