A Mom Confesses

My MOMfessional:

As a mom I have had moments when I’ve questioned my sanity—what was I thinking—sort of mentality. The rewards are suspect and intermittent for such a tough job. The hours are endless and the pay non-existent. If you are considering motherhood, see the mom’s job description before deciding. You might change your mind upon reading.

The Prequel

There were discussions early in the courtship about having children, but nothing concrete. After the big day, we agreed to give it a couple of years before discussing again. I was after all a newlywed, had just left my home in sunny Southern California for London, and was having to reestablish myself professionally. There were long hours in the office and after hour libations in any one of the gazillion wine bars and pubs that are found on just about every street in town. It made sense to wait.

On weekends, there were mini-breaks to every major European city that had an airport. For a gal who had never been anywhere outside of the US, I was living in my version of La Vida Loca. I LOVED IT. Every crowded city, nosey bar, museum, historical monument, the languages I didn’t understand, the endless varieties of bread and cheese was staggering. Until traveling, I had assumed cheese came in a box wrapped in foil and was called Velveeta. Who knew there was double cream Brie made especially for crispy banquettes. 

The Awakening

Life was humming along nicely. I had landed a job with a prestigious British bank, had made friends, realized the US and the UK were two countries divided by a common language, and that drinking tepid tea was a cure all for anything that ailed the human sprit.

Then there was a romantic evening in London’s Mayfair, a fancy dinner, candlelight, hand holding, and too much wine. Nine months later on a blustery day in old Blighty came a nine-pound bouncing baby girl.

I remember thinking, what do I do with this pink thing that wails constantly. I was a hard-hitting career woman who spent her days in the exotic world of Investment Banking. I wore designer suits and bought impractical walking shoes. IT WAS ABOUT ME.

There were sleepless nights, no more lazy mornings in bed, projectile vomiting, ruined silk blouses from baby spew that seemed to come out of nowhere and for no good reason. There was the purchase of a super-sized washing machine because of the spew and the hundreds of times a baby needs changing during a single hour.

Life was no longer about me, or my designer suits. My shoes didn’t fit anymore because the pregnancy wrecked havoc on my body. There were lumps and bumps, where smooth terrain once ruled.

The Transition

Being a mom wasn’t what I expected. I suspect I’m the not the only woman to have felt this way but who confesses to the world, I am unskilled labor, haven’t a clue what I’m doing, and what happened to my mental and physical self-where did they go? I didn’t go gently into mommy-hood. There was never a question of love or commitment. I fell for my girl on sight. The moment the midwife laid her in my arms I wept. It’s what I call instant love. There is nothing quite like it, I mean nothing.

I embraced motherhood, even the spew, but I refused to sacrifice my life for my child. This was my conflict. I had a dozen cities to visit, cheese to sample, and a world to conquer. I had no interest in mommy groups, sitting on a park bench sharing stories about my bundle of spewing joy. I was an anomaly. I didn’t know other women who felt like I did or wanted something more. It was a scary time for me. I was on my own.

I hid my notions of womanhood from the world. I also put all the mommy and me, how to be mom, motherhood and all it’s glory, books I had purchased in a box and donated them to a local charity. I would write my own guidelines. My girl and I would figure it out together.

The Journey

I cannot quantify the number of mistakes I’ve made on the job. Sadly, none of them got me fired. I’d like to say I know a thing or two about being a mom and that the road I paved with my first-born was perfect, but I’m not so sure I can. Mom skills are fluid and the job changes daily. The fact is—and I’ve said this before—motherhood is not an exact science. I liken it to being on par with MacGyver’s job. Never leave home without a paperclip or duck tape, or, a plan b and c, up your sleeve. Be prepared for the absolute worst because if you are, you can react to any situation level headed and compassionately. And know this, what you learned yesterday with child one isn’t a guarantee it will work again tomorrow or with child two.

I have two children, a girl, and a boy. One was born in London and the other in San Francisco. Each are as unique as the their sex, the type of pregnancy I had, and the City they were born in.  One slept through the night after the first month and the other took two years before getting the hang of it.

My momfessional, I did it my way. Was it easy? Hell no. Every person I met along the way had an opinion and gave it to me even though I didn’t ask for it or offer up any of my own. Something I never understood.

The next time a new mom comes to you quivering from head to toe, from either fright or lack of sleep, listen to her words. Make thoughtful suggestions and be clear, what worked for you, might not work for her. I promise you’ll make a friend for life and help a fellow woman stay sane.

(And for the record, wherever I have gone my monkeys were along for the ride. We continue writing the guidelines on parenting together.)

Have a MOMfessional? Share and pass the baton to another.

Do you have a momfessional you want to share? Perhaps you had a moment as a mom or a child that makes you cringe or laugh.

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

42 thoughts on “A Mom Confesses

  1. I have too many momfessionals to count. I in no way went gently into motherhood–I thought I would, then I was hit by a train and haven’t quite been the same since. Though, as you say, the love is full and intense. Love your point that the job is fluid and changes daily–that’s the hardest part about it. Right when you think you’ve got the hang of it, the kids turn things upside down on you.
    Jessica Vealitzek recently posted….Boys and nail polishMy Profile

    • Jessica, I love being mom, but it wasn’t easy. Even now I have the odd bad day and wish I knew all their answers and had magic bandaids to mend their woes. I’ve made a few changes to my lifestyle along the way, but mostly I drug them along with me so they could experience life. Now, I’m the one at home (writing, of course) and they are trying to drag me out. I can’t I say, I have other chapter to write. Go figure.

    • Astra, GOOD LUCK! Girls, as you know, have an entirely different level of angst and emotional swings. I’m here if you need a shoulder. Hugs.

  2. As a Dad, I can tell you that getting up with the bundle of joy and letting her sleep is essential. As is massages with warm washcloths.

    The coolest part is when the lights go on above the bundle of joy and they get what you are trying to show them.

    But, the duty really never goes away. Mine are 21 and 18 and I still wonder what they will do when they grow up.

    Of course, I wonder the same thing about myself.
    Christopher Mitchell (Another Government Employee) recently posted….The Cabin (Blogophlia 34.5 and GBE 74)My Profile

    • Chris, I do believe we do the best we can with what we know and learn along the way. I think it’s expected we will make mistakes. The trick is learning from them and being honest with ourselves and our kids. Sadly, not everyone is. Thanks much for visiting. I appreciate your time and your words.

  3. Hi, Brenda! ~

    I wanted desperately to become a mother from about the time I was 18 years old. My husband finally gave in after 6 years of marriage, when I was 24 years old, because I gave him an ultimatum: If he didn’t want to have kids with me, I’d have to find someone who would — it’s non-negotiable. He strapped the cross of the martyr onto his back, we procreated, and he never forgave me for ‘ruining’ his life. This is the Reader’s Digest version of ‘How I Became a Single Mom’.

    At this point in my life, 2012, my kids have left the familial nest for successful & happy lives of their own. I’m on my own for the first time EVER! It’s so WONDERFUL! Even though raising my kids is the most amazing, life-changing, fulfilling experience I’ve ever had, I must admit that I’ve recently wondered if I’d experienced this type of freedom & independence, and a fulfilling romantic partnership like the one I have with Mr. C, before I had kids, if I might not have been so insistent on having them either…
    Dangerous Linda recently posted….phoenix risingMy Profile

    • Hi Brenda, I’ve been wanting to stop by your site for weeks, but haven’t been able to find even an extra minute until today…and this minute belongs to you. I love your post and wanted to respond, as I have many such moments. But with so little time to write, I couldn’t do it justice. Wish I could come back when I could stay longer…but the post will be gone by then. Love your writing. Hope all is well with you. Any luck with the submission process?

      • Thanks much, Nancy. It’s going. Nothing positive to report yet. I’ve had interest, but the process is long. At first, I broke like a reed when I rec’d a rejection, now I get it. It’s a matter of connecting with the right person. In the meantime I am working short pieces, submitting, until December, when I go back and write the second draft of my second WIP. I like having a writing plan.

  4. Before the term ‘Attachment Parenting’ was coined I was one who loved identifying myself as a mom. Maybe it’s because, unlike you, Brenda, I’d never seen the world. (But I did travel across the country as a teen just to get off the NC farm).

    I kept my children with me 24:7. I discovered the miracle of Snugli baby carriers and kept my infants next to my heartbeat while I vacuumed and cooked. It would take a herculean effort to pry us apart. A pillar in Le Leche League and still a hippie, I nursed anywhere and everywhere just because I could: at parks, in restrooms, at Burger King and McDonald’s, in movie theaters… The Family Bed was my bible and we all co-slept. My kids were all around three before they gave up the boob. Then they were all homeschooled. I can’t imagine not having kids underfoot. But what will I do when my babygirl leaves the nest? Lord help me.
    Debra recently posted….Preaching to the ChoirMy Profile

    • Well, Debra, you and I have had an exchange offline about this. Thanks for sharing and explaining attachment parenting. Of course, you and I approached mom-hood very differently but I am guessing we have both yield positive results. I am proud of my kids more and more everyday.

    • Thanks, Sandra. I believe everyone has their view of mom-hood, mine is mine and it worked for all of us very well. We all traveled a lot and continue to take life at face value. Of course, it’s hard these days to take off with the economy cutting into my budget, but we always have mini breaks to beaches, and there is always good cheese.

    • Nadine, if anything I’ve learned to be truthful when it comes to parenting, with myself and my kids. It’s better all the way around. I made a point to say ‘it wasn’t about me’ because many don’t know that until they don the mom persona. I still give it my all, hoping I get top billing, but they just laugh at me. Love ’em. Now I wonder if I can sell them on ebay! :-)

  5. Brenda, I LOVE this post. Like you, I was a professional before I became a mom and also a traveler/lover of flitting from here to there. It’s definitely a transition when you throw a little bundle of complexity into the mix. I’ve always said that parenthood is the greatest adventure of all, and one that no guidebook could ever help you navigate. Thanks for giving me such a big smile today.
    Becky Green Aaronson recently posted….Paying It Forward One Flit at a TimeMy Profile

    • Thanks, Becky. I appreciate the kind words. I know my way isn’t everyone’s way, but it worked for us. I’m sure you, like me, altered your life for you child. I did have to tweak my path along the way, but it all worked out. I traveled and tasted cheese and so did they. My kids only recently discovered velveeta cheese. I thought that was hysterical.

    • Edith, I can’t lobby my way is perfect, but it works for me. I do wonder if new moms or soon to be moms have any clue what they are getting into when they sign on the dotted line of mom–hood. I wouldn’t mind sharing this with the world but only if it connected me with an agent. My goals are shallow and single threaded at this point.

  6. One of my sisters is going through her first pregnancy and has been throwing up for months. Our family can’t wait for the time the babe arrives. I can tell how much love there is in your grand heart and your beautiful kids will, under such influence, grow up to being wonderful people. I’m not a mom but I have a feeling I might be a foster mom/adoptive mom/ or someone who shows up frequently to many kids one day.

    • Claudine, I feel for you sister, I went through that with my son. C, I love my kids more than I let on all. Even though my writing speaks from my heart, I don’t’ write in depth about the comings and goings in my life. As noted earlier, to Monica, I think if you asked my kids they’d tell you I was a strange lady but a good mom. Good luck with the new addition to the family. Hugs!

  7. Brenda, this is a very nice tribute to the ups and downs of being a mom and all that it entails. I bet you are a great mom and for your children, you are the best mom in the world. It’s a job we do everyday, and though the kids grow up and move out, being a mom never gets old. My kids are both in their 20’s now, though my son is pushing 30. Being their mom is the best gift of all.
    Monica recently posted….Ohio, Meet Your Newest Resident!My Profile

    • Monica, I think if you asked them they’d tell you I was a strange lady, who happens to be a cool, but tough mom. They’d also tell you that I’m not perfect, but I give it my best.

  8. Brenda, I’m reading this from my perch in Rome, heading to Assisi tomorrow and Amalfi next week. Cheeses? Oh my goodness, yes. Sorry – were you writing about motherhood? You lost me at European cities and cheeses….

    I have a momfessional – I can’t even think of my children right now. Am I a mother? Where is my home? Okay, okay, I DO love what you wrote here and I have 2 daughters and 2 sons – and “ditto” what you oberve about them being different. I’ve never thought about the possible relationship to where they were born. Hmmmmmm.
    And the part of making it up along the way and doing it your way? We have to give ourselves the permission slip to do that as moms. Hooray for you on that front too.

    Okay – off to indulge in more cheese and watching handsome Italian men in nice shoes and sharp suits, along with counting the many ways Italian women wear their scarves. So much to breathe in…
    Barbara recently posted….KonditoreiMy Profile

    • Barbara – I know exactly where you were – and boy am I jealous. Such a great place, and your right, talk about the place to go for cheese, wine, men, vistas, amazing.

    • Kim, It’s true, I thought cheese came in a box. All I can say is how grateful I am to have discovered the real stuff. Hugs, great v-blog by the way. Emotional and gut wrenching, but powerful, too.

  9. Brenda, what a lovely tribute to motherhood! I love it! As for me, I have enough momfessionals to write a book! All the way from puberty to young adulthood, it’s been one hell of a ride to parent both my children. Like yours, they are night and day and it’s take gladiator skills to steer them to their rightful path. Now that they’re both adults, it’s their job for them to remain there and make the right choices. Nevertheless, it sure is gratifying to see them triumph and excel in life, isn’t it? :)

    • Thanks, Bella. It is indeed what you say, a hell of a road. Some days are easier while others are worthy of a glass of wine. I loved that expression, gladiator skills. Indeed.

    • Adriana – I think it’s unrealistic to strive for sainthood. It’s not as if motherhood comes with an instruction book. I do think it’s a custom job. Each mom and child is unique, so the rules are altered.

  10. I read your post again, Brenda, this time more carefully. It is so honest and well written. I would like to write about my experience raising two daughters, but there is so much to say it would take more than the space I feel I should take up here. My girls were born in the 1950s so life was very different then, especially for women. When I compare my way of first becoming a mom to my eldest daughter’s way, they are totally the opposite. None of my friends breast fed, no one let their newborn sleep in the same bed with them (that was more a European thing) and so forth. I think my daughter’s daughter slept with her until she was ten or eleven. Anyhow, the world keeps changing, and now more rapidly than ever.

  11. I’m not cut out for motherhood, a fact I’m neither proud or ashamed of. I treat women who have young children; there’s desperation in their eyes and words. They love their kids, but the isolation and physical and mental demands sometimes make them doubt this, and they feel guilty, ashamed and abnormal, which makes them feel more isolated. I can’t imagine how they do it. Really, I can’t. I listen, marveling at their ability to survive it. I think what helps them most is my telling them over and over, you are not a bad mother, not a bad person. These feelings are normal. That seems to bring them some small measure of relief.
    I have the utmost of respect for these women.
    June O’Hara recently posted….The SnoringMy Profile

    • June, we all have different strengths. I would never has figure myself as a mom, but it happened. Turns out I loved it. Was it easy? No f’ing way. Was it fun? Beyond words. Would I do it all over? Absolutely. I’ve been amazingly blessed.

  12. Just want to pop back in and say thank you to June for her comment. Even as empty nest moms, sometimes, we, or at least I, feel guilty or bad about my mothering, what I could have done better, what I should have seen but didn’t, where I was distracted, how i thought I was doing better than I maybe was – and your words were comforting – that I don’t need to feel guilty, ashamed, abnormal or just bad in general. Mothering takes the heart from any of us at times. Thank you. Thank you.
    Barbara recently posted….Pain in the NeckMy Profile

    • Barbara, I’m so glad you took my words to heart. Nothing in this world can compare to the demands of motherhood (or fatherthood, depending). It takes everything you’ve got, times a thousand. In raising your kids, you’ve given of yourself more than I ever could. When those niggling doubts come to mind, do exactly what you’re doing and give yourself a break!
      June O’Hara recently posted….The SnoringMy Profile

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