motherhood. it’s like playing a 20 year game of capture the flag on a mine field that opposing sides are using as a paintball battleground. you never know when you’ll get ambushed, blindsided, hit from all sides or step on a massive explosion that takes your feet out from under you, leaving you flat on your back wondering how the hell your well planned life has turned into a nightmare you created yourself and can’t explain to anyone but every other mother knows it in that look of battle fatigue behind their glazed and puffy eyes.
now while this war is raging all day and all night, try showering, making dinner, cleaning the house, instilling values and providing life coaching, helping with homework, creating family memories, arranging vaccinations and dental appointments, and making sure you have no baby vomit or feces in your hair by the time your husband gets home after work. while looking like you are rested, smiling, happy and have not been beat up and under attack all day.
you smell like a roadside restroom at a truck stop. you think you may have brushed your teeth yesterday but judging from the amount of dental fur you can feel with your tongue, that’s probably stretching it. your legs look like a 16 year old boys and forget about landscaping! the last time your lady parts had any type of grooming was when your legs were in stirrups and 2 Doctors, 7 interns and 3 nurses had their heads between your knees to get educated on episiotomies.
by the time you throw the laundry you were going to fold this afternoon off the bed and onto the floor, it’s too late to notice the cat puke it landed on because it’s 11:30 at night and you know there are 3 hours before the baby gets up to be nursed for an hour then changed and if you are lucky you might get another 1-2 or 3 hours of sleep before the toddler wakes up all happy and perky, ready to start the day by running a marathon through the house while grabbing everything off counters and under cupboards just like yesterday and the day before and every single day since they learned to walk.
and as you flop onto the bed, splayed like a semi gutted fish which has been in the sun too long, praying that you survive tomorrow; you feel your husbands boner press into your side as he humps his hips forward while clutching at your milk stained t-shirt that smells like it went through questionable experiences during frosh week at university, as his hand blindly gropes across crusted stains of mashed sweet potato and strained peas that you tried feeding the baby at dinner.
by the time it registers that this idiot actually wants to have sex with a comatose, half dead, exhausted, hairy woman who smells like a forgotten jock strap a Sasquatch wore while gutting fish, he’s finished and rolled back onto his side of the bed with a sigh of blissful contentment as he falls asleep for a solid 7 hours before he gets to get up, shower alone then escape for 9 hours as he goes to a magical place of adults and coffee where you get to have an hour lunch break while talking and laughing with people who aren’t throwing food at you or the walls.
the thought enters your mind that you should kill him as he lay there. lamp base to the back of his head nestled all cozy on his fluffy pillow. but it would require you lifting your arm, maybe even getting out of bed. and that’s just not possible. you realize the only thing saving him tonight is the fact you are too tired to kill the person you hate the most even though he is 6 inches from you. you’d put it on the ‘to do’ list but that’s downstairs and let’s face it, all that list ends up doing is mocking you day after day of things you can’t possibly get to while trying to survive the suicidal tendencies of your toddler long enough to meet the basic care needs of your infant so they don’t both die before the man who did this to you comes home again.
it’s funny how people say ‘it will get better’. no. it doesn’t get better. all that happens is days pass and the needs change and you adapt to the new situations, but no, things do not ‘get better.’ you are running through this giant minefield called parenting, you are being pelted by paintballs from both sides as you try to navigate your way through every kind of obstacle imaginable. of course there are mini victories as you narrowly avoid pitfalls but this entire race is about endurance. there is no finish line.
once you make the choice to invite these little people into your life, then your life as you know it stops and everything is about what is on their playing field which has now been layered on top of yours. the more kids you have, the more levels you are playing through. it’s like one great big 3D chess game where you barely feel like you know the rules, let alone understand anything other than just getting through one more day, by any means possible, with as little collateral damage as you can manage.
motherhood. no one tells you how hard it’s going to be because no one who hasn’t gone through it would believe you. it is impossible to convey the amount of fear and uncertainty you have while simultaneously loving someone so much that you would kill for them or die for them without even thinking about it. mothers do not think about things. they react. planning is something that happens when you have free time and that’s not something mothers have an abundance of. if they do get any, it can easily be filled up with worry; over kids, spouse, finances, parenting ability and choices they’ve made.
a mother is clinical and ruthless if she has to be. every single mother on the planet shares a common goal, raising their kids to adulthood as healthy as possible, to be productive members of their society. everything else comes after this. every single mother shares the language of maternity. words are not needed because every mother reacts the same way to a crying or injured child and other mothers will risk their own lives in the protection of children who are not their own, when they hear it.
it’s exhausting. it’s everything. it’s motherhood.