This is not what I had imagined motherhood to be. Never in my wildest childhood fantasies of pushing my baby dolls in play strollers did I ever think parenting would be like this.
Never did I imagine that my baby would still have trouble sleeping through the night at 3 1/2 years old. After making it through nightly newborn feedings, midnight blowouts and years of interrupted blinks of sleep, I figured we would have sooner reached a time of resting for the night.
Never did I think that my kids would be so disgusting — from digging for gold in their noses to, out of nowhere, passing gas. That had to have come from their father — at least the nasty scent matches. Then their germy hands, nevermind the reminders to wash after pottying, go on to shovel goldfishes in their tiny mouths, while spilling them all over the floor at the same time.
Because, well, motherhood is a life of messes! Seriously, I never imagined that a completely (somewhat) cleaned up house could be splattered with kid-everything-confetti in a matter of minutes. And attempting to get those same kids to clean up any of it is harder than middle school math homework (which is another thing I am not looking forward to).
In my day dreams of parenting, I left out the part of there being so many dishes to wash. There is constantly a cluster of cups, bowls and all silverware except spoons — for somehow we manage to lose about two of those a week. And let’s not forget those stinky old milk cups!
And bedtime. Whew, bedtime. Never did I imagine that a request to brush teeth and go potty could become a 30-minute task accompanied with multiple fits and us taking away pretty much everything but the air they breathe for the next week before cooperation comes into play.
And who knew that those same children who were “not tired” the night before would have to be peeled from their sheets the next day (except on holidays and weekends — those special days they love to get up before the sun).
Toothpaste is all over the sink again. There are no matching socks again. There is another unknown spot on the carpet again. There’s another tantrum, another whine, another drenched bathroom floor attempting to wash out shampoo. And don’t forget the nightly request of only mac and cheese for dinner again and again and again.
And then there’s the guilt. The completely failing as a mother guilt. And it comes on strong with a side of absolute exhaustion and a plead for more hours in the day. This is not what I had imagined.
Then, one of those filthy little hands caresses the side of my face and a tiny voice speaks, “I love you so much, Mama.”
And everything I just mentioned comes tumbling down like a bunch of bricks.
This small creature reminded me that, no, this world of mothering is not what I had imagined life as a mother to be at all. In fact, I never imagined that moving to the next set of sight words for my kindergartner or watching a video of her leading the class would make me feel so proud. I didn’t know that my heart would smile just from hearing my child, uncoached, say please and thank you.
Never built in my imagination were the joys of nightly pillow talks, serenades of shark songs, clusters of knock-knock jokes, and family conga trains into the bedroom.
I surely never imagined that waking up to a face-breathing toddler would make me feel so wanted and ready to start the day. Or that my 5 year old would not get on the bus until she told me just how much she loved me, received her “one and a two, and a ‘I love you’” and made sure to tell ME to have a great day.
You guys, I never imagined the love.
Sure, right now, my coffee table is used as their dance stage, my floor as their crumb catcher, even my bed as their comforter. But every single missed second of sleep, messy meltdown, destroyed living room, early morning urging, struggle at dinnertime, bedtime blunder, and ounce of mom guilt is surpassed by the infinite amount of love bestowed on me by these tiny human beings.
So yes, I never thought that motherhood would be like this. Never once did I anticipate just how wanted, needed and loved I would be in my journey of being a mother.
And regardless of every exhausting, frustrating and overwhelming thing that being a mother entails, one thing is for sure, motherhood is truly even better than I had ever imagined.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.