I’m of a certain age where most of my girlfriends have kid(s). Plural. Which, is odd to me because I still feel like one myself. Sometimes I feel sad about it. (Shrug) I guess. I mean. Am I missing out on something? Is there a certain joy in my miserable little life that the light of a child and its endless fucking inane questions could fill? And, if I do want a child. Will I be too old by the time that I have it? Or, more importantly. Can I make it through nine months without drinking? I volley endlessly between the sweet relief of freedom and questioning whether or not I’m actually just broken inside. And then one day, not long ago, as I was scrambling to run errands (Time Warner Cable, the Post Office, the grocery store), doing laundry, dishes, and chasing down my cat like he was a greased up pig because I left the door open while I was on the phone with the police, I realized wait a fucking minute! I AM A MOM! I’m a #Momtician. #Ijusttrademarkedthat
Now hold up for one second before you go on one of those, “it’s great that you think you’re a mom to your pet (insert dead people and grieving families), but your pet is not a child. Children are harder. You’re not a real mom. I’m better than you. I’m a better human!!” type rant. Stop it. Stop it now. Because I’m about to drop a truth bomb. Those social media rants are incredibly insensitive. You have no idea whether or not that woman you’re railing against is unable to get pregnant in the first place, or has tried and lost her baby, or has tried and tried and lost every single one of her babies. You don’t know that after burying her first child her relationship with her husband slowly crumbled in agony and isolation. Neither of them able to reconcile over their loss. That one day he left, and that all she had to love and cherish was her dog or her cat (which is enough to me). And, if you think it’s not that common. Think again. For every one thousand live births, six die. And in 2014, twenty-three thousand infants died.* I have personally held in my hands all various ages, from fetus, to toddler, to “you’ll always be my baby. Even at thirty.” Kids die all the time and it’s awful. So please, I am using these precious words and your attention span right now to tell you, never ever tell another woman, or man for that matter, that they cannot have biologically expressed emotions and care for a creature that is not a human baby. We should never encourage humans to stop loving in the first place. #petpeeve #ImAMomtician #notakebacks
Ok (wipes brow) Phew. I just had to get that off my chest and this seemed like an appropriately themed piece to say that real quick. Cuz I can see people reading this and being like “You’re not a mom!” IT’S A METAPHOR!
So, there I was. Holding my cat by its tail while he screamed at me. Shutting the door in his face while trying not to slam my fingers in it. Talking to the police about a person who had passed away at home but was not on hospice. Hearing the sirens of the E.M.T. following in the background. The laundry was almost done. Dishes were piled up in the sink waiting to be washed. And I was really hoping I remembered to put the parking break on in my car. As, when my phone rang and I had to dash back inside. Either that, or I was about to walk outside to find it smashed into the wall at the bottom of the driveway. And amidst all that I thought, huh, this is what it must feel like to be a mom. Because here I am. Trying to comfort someone who is crying and upset. Someone who has lost something and doesn’t know why. Doesn’t know what to do. And they are looking at me. To me. And I must confidently comfort and guide them through this moment of growth and terror. While I am trying desperately not to pull all my hair out and tap myself to a Chardonnay IV (and I don’t even like Chardonnay). All while also being wary that at times I will be lashed out at despite the fact that this human has come to me for help. And that at others I will get a hug and a smile and the reaffirmation that I have done literal good. And psssssst, those are the times that make it worth being a #momtician.
Sometimes it feels like no one really appreciates the strength and devotion a mother gives to their child. And likewise, it feels like nobody appreciates, and I mean truly appreciates the #momtician. The late hours coupled with the really early ones. You have nighttime feedings? I have nighttime calls from nurses letting me know someone died. I have been awake from midnight to 6am with cries (insert calls) every hour from the nurse at the assisted living home (multiple calls), the family, my answering service, and my pick-up driver. And I answer them all, patiently, until everything has settled down no matter the hour. No matter how long it takes. Moms never get a moment of peace. You can sit in the living room with your child (insert phone) and not be bothered for hours on end. But the second you go to the bathroom, try to take a shower, RING-RING-RING! MOM MAHM MOMMY MOM MOM MAHHHHHM! That’s when the world wants your attention. Have you ever been at a restaurant and watched a parent try to calm their screaming two year old? It’s about as futile as attempting to quell Death when it too wants something. They are both unstoppable, cruel, and at times selfish in their demands for attention. But it’s your calling. You chose to be there. And you lovingly hold the ache, the pain, and the tears of this hurting human against you. You do it because there is no other path. You know that the pay will never be worth it. Society will never give you the props you deserve. But you know that the reward is that somewhere down the line that little human you helped nourish and thrive, will always remember that you were there for them when they needed it most. And even if you are never verbally thanked, or even if you never see them again, you know in your heart that you have helped make their life a little better. And at the end of the day that’s what keeps you going. That’s what keeps you from going completely bananas. That and a shot of Jame-O.