hul·la·ba·loo: Great noise or excitement;
uproar; a state of commotion or excitement
mom·my: A woman who conceives,
gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child
living and loving the chaos of mommyhood
Groan. 5:00AM. Why is it most preschoolers think this is the
perfect time to start their day? Each day, without fail, I
awake at this ungodly hour to my calcium-addicted son’s
request, “Mommy, can I have a glass of milk, please?”
“No. Go back to sleep. The sun isn’t up yet.” After
several more requests for milk and a failed ten-minute
attempt to drift back to sleep, I realize it’s time for
the chaos to begin. So…on your mark, get set, GO!
Stumble out of bed. Give my son a glass
of milk. Grab a quick shower. Pull an outfit out of the
dryer for me. Wake my daughter. Comb my hair. Kiss the baby.
Brush my teeth. Give the baby a bottle. Change a diaper,
then two, three, four. I’ve lost count. “Who wants wheat
germ and granola?” Horrible screams of NO! Okay, okay.
“Who wants pancakes smothered in butter and syrup?”
Squeals of delight and syrup kisses follow. Feed the baby a
squishy concoction of oatmeal and mango. Kiss my husband
good-bye. CRASH! I don’t even want to know what happened.
Pull outfits for the kids out of the dryer. Why is the dryer
now our closet? Throw the dishes in the sink. Change another
diaper. Thump! WAHH! Is there blood? No? Good, because I
can’t find the Sesame Street band-aids. Quick game of
Candy Land. Wipe down the counter. Brush the kid’s teeth.
Go to the bathroom. Guess what? Found the band-aids. All 50
of them stuck to the toilet seat. Become public enemy number
one because I won’t turn on the T.V. Glance at the clock.
7:00AM. How can it only be 7:00AM when I’m ready to call
it a day?
Sound familiar? I’m sure it does;
it’s mommyhood. The most endearing, challenging, humorous,
tiresome, and unpredictable responsibility we’ll ever
love…usually. Recently, I was asked to describe motherhood
to a group of expectant moms. What should I say? What is
mommyhood? After having three children in three years (yes,
they’re all mine; no, none are twins; yes, I do understand
how birth control works; and no, I am not done), I still
didn’t have an answer. Mommyhood is unadulterated joy and
abysmal worry; it is unbridled compassion and utter despair.
It is everything in between and nothing what I expected.
Prior to mommyhood, I had all the answers
to parenting. Perhaps we all did. At the grocery store, I
would quickly judge the mother pacifying her screaming
toddler with candy while she struggled with a cumbersome
cart. At the bank, I’d send disdainful looks to the family
with the little boy who kept stepping on my foot. When on
travel, I cringed when I occupied a flight with a baby. I
silently ascertained that these women had no control and
were bad mothers. Good Lord, I was naïve…and downright
stupid. I understand now, because I’ve had those moments
when my kids are screaming on the airplanes or hanging or
the ropes in the bank line. And, yes, I, too, have had to
shell out cookie after cookie to my battling children, so I
can decide which coupon gives me the best deal on 50 tubs of
pudding and 400 boxes of macaroni.
Now here I sit wondering what motherhood
is. Is it putting up with the toddler tantrums or teenage
tribulations? Is it kissing the tears, sweat and blood of
our children? Could it be more than just providing an
endless stream of encouragement mixed with the right doses
of discipline? Will kissing my daughter’s tear-laden cheek
put me in the “Mommy Hall of Fame”? Does it boil down to
becoming an expert at answering the phone, changing a
diaper, searching for “white blankie,”feeding the cats,
paying the much-overdue mortgage payment, all while trying
to defrost that Antarctically frozen lasagna 30 minutes
before dinner? Yes, mommyhood is all of these things and
more. It challenges our beliefs and well-being while tugging
at our heartstrings and shredding our patience.
Mommyhood is about being happy, sad,
joyous, confused, and uncertain. It is knowing that you may
never live up to yourmaternal expectations but that
you are fulfilling your children’s. You are just what they
need. They need you to giggle, cry and hold them tight. They
also need you to yell, fail and not always be right. They
need you to be a human; they need you to be a mother.
Mommyhood is about treasuring the moments
from diapers to Pull-Ups and Under-roos all the way to
training bras, boxers and beyond. It’s about not crying
over the spilt milk or soiled linens. It’s about playing
yet another game of Candy Land or Go Fish. Mommyhood is
about believing in yourself and your children through the
chaos. So even on those days – okay, everyday – when
there is food on the ceiling, underwear in the refrigerator
and band-aids stuck to the toilet, we need to remember that
this is the stuff mommyhood is made of. Don’t wish it
away. Embrace it. Bring on the hullabaloo. Please just not
Julie Watson Smith
All Rights Reserved
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Julie Watson Smith is a wife, mother of 3 and