If you told me twenty years ago that I’d become a mother, I would have laughed in your face.
Because I was rude, but also because twenty years ago, I didn’t want kids.
I didn’t even like kids all that much.
Like every woman, as a teenager I was a pro babysitter. Watching kids is the thing to do when you’re too young for a side hustle like slinging cocktails. I had a kid brother and kid cousins and family friends with kids that were always looking for a babysitter, so I obliged for some cold hard cash in return for watching their
TV kids whine eat
junk food pound on each other while the parents escaped for a few
hours on the odd Saturday night. But it wasn’t my favorite activity.
But twenty years ago, when I was a single gal, footloose and fancy free, I had long conversations with friends about how much I didn’t want kids because kids are terrible.
Yeah. That’s about as far as my reasoning went for not wanting kids. It’s fair to say that because I didn’t have kids, it was easy enough to say I didn’t want kids.
Then my husband and I had kids.
I was for it, of course. I mean, the timing of our kids wasn’t planned, but we agreed that we’d try them out for a while.
And it just so happened that I am a pretty good mom. And my kids are pretty amazing because of me. Hey, you think I’m going to give them all the credit for being awesome? Okay, my husband had something to do with it, too. But still. I’m a kick-ass mom.
Might as well say it myself, because they sure won’t.
So, yeah. I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy being a mom. Take THAT, twenty years ago me! IN YOUR FACE! HA HAHA HAHAHA HA!
I guess some things don’t change.
Here are the top ten things I love about motherhood:
1. I can do this.
A person needs no special training or skill to be a mother. It’s scary how utterly unprepared people really are for parenthood. It’s on-the-job training every second of every day. It’s flying by the seat of your pants and making it up as you go along. When people say “We’re not ready to have kids yet” I love to squash their spirits and inform them that there is no planning for this. You’re never ready, and you either do it or you don’t. And when you do it, it’s the best feeling ever.
2. These nerds.
Yeah. I pretty much love the spit out of them. Seriously – they can spit on the ground and I would love that spit. BUT THEY BETTER NOT EVER DO THAT BECAUSE SPITTING ON THE GROUND IS GROTESQUE AND I DID NOT RAISE DISGUSTING ANIMALS WHO SPIT ON THE GROUND.
3. It’s a challenge.
One of the weirdest things I love about motherhood is how difficult it is. Once you are in it you can’t escape it, and even though I totally look for the easy way out of nearly everything, I do not cut corners at being a mom. I love all the difficult conversations and the teen years and defusing tantrums because this stuff is important. I will work tirelessly to help my kids do or learn something, and it’s because their lives are worth my best.
4. The food.
Having kids around all the time means that you eat chicken nuggets and candy and pudding and cupcakes as part of a regular diet and not feel like you have to justify your preferences. Kraft mac and cheese has had our number for years, and I am more than okay with this.
5. The TV.
Cartoons make anybody feel like a kid again. Not too many adults will watch Spongebob on a random Thursday afternoon on their own without kids around, and this is too bad. I believe that Spongebob can be better than therapy.
6. You are always teaching.
When I was in grad school I wanted to be a professor, and as luck would have it I got to teach undergrads. This was a terrible experience. Those cats knew they were smarter than me and weren’t afraid to let me know how low my effectiveness ranked on the list of educators they had known. They didn’t give me a chance, and I knew then that I was no teacher. But with my kids? I’m the first teacher they knew and they STILL look to me to teach them. Getting your students early is where it’s at.
7. You are always learning.
I’ve learned more being a mother than all the years I spent in school, which is a bold statement and one that I dare you to try to quantify. Being a mother has taught me practical wisdom, like how long a person needs to transition from sitting on the couch playing video games to getting in the car to go somewhere (two minutes), but also problem-solving skills, like if you have a kid who zones out while playing video games, revving up the car engine while honking the horn to get them moving works pretty darn well.
8. Personal improvement.
I was a jerk before I had kids, and I’m marginally less of a jerk now. Having kids made me want to be a better person, because now I have people who I am casting into the world who watch me like the spongy little hawk-eyed humans they are. Do I want them to be jerks on top of them being horribly disfigured? No, I don’t. I shaped up when I had kids, and everybody is happier. Especially me.
9. The surprise factor.
When my kids walk in the door after school with a cool story, or talk about something they learned, or sing along to an old song that I love but didn’t know they also loved, or share their opinions about anything, I am surprised at their sense of humor, what they know, what they think, and what they can do – as if they are new people every day. Literally, I say “Who are you? I don’t know you – go away, stranger, or I’m calling the cops!” because I love to mess with my kids. Which brings us to the last point I’d like to make.
10. Having kids is fun.
SO MUCH FUN. Having fun is my deal, and they are my favorite people to joke with, to laugh with, and to play with. My kids are fun people. They get my sense of humor, and I love theirs. I know it’s because they learned from me, and I’m in love with this.
You’re welcome, world.
This post inspired by:
Prompt #1: List 10 things you love about motherhood.