Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why becoming a mother AGAIN at 36 was the best thing I've ever done

I read somewhere recently some rules for blogging (yeah yeah you caught me referencing The Pioneer Woman again. Whatcha gonna do about it?). You can read that post, it's enlightening. Or not. Whatever. In any case, here I sit. I don't have any sort of case of writer's block or anything, just a case of what do I need to blog about today... Here's what's on my mind:

When I told my dad we were expecting a baby (my 4th, hubs 1st) his words to me were actually, "Are you SURE you want to do that AGAIN?" Of course this isn't saying much for my dad (he doesn't read the blog though so he'll never know). When I was pregnant with my 2nd child he warmly declared, "Wow. You really want me to not be able to deny that I'm a grandfather." Geez. Thanks dad. No, seriously. I love my dad. He's fantastic. He played guitar and sang me down the aisle when Matt and I got married in July. He cried at our wedding. Like cried. A lot. He's a genuinely genuine guy. And I'm a genuine daddy's girl. He might have some trouble seeing the value in having children though. I'm just guessing.

It's my sweet husband's birthday today. He's 36 years old. He's younger than me by 78 days (but who's counting). He just became a father for the first time (though for all intents and purposes he's got 4 kids. A real parenting crash course.). Anyway, thanks to Ella, my well functioning uterus and a night back in December, he now has a biological child as well. This occurred 8 weeks ago today. And this is "why becoming a mother AGAIN at age 36 was the best thing I ever did" reason #1 (I'm in a list making sort of mood this week, for what's it's worth). Also, these are in no particular order. For what it's worth.

1. I made my husband a daddy. And he's super good at it too. Seeing him hold our little baby girl just makes my heart feel like it's going to explode.

(This isn't really physiologically possible btw. Maye a valve or two would bust, but the heart actually exploding... Not likely.)

2. Renewed (or expanded) faith in my body and myself. In case you haven't read this blog, I had Ella at home. Strange and/or controversial as this may seem to some, it was literally the best decision we have made to date (aside from making her, which was obviously a precursor). Having a baby at home is fun (no, I'm not using drugs of any kind). I'd do it again (I said I wasn't using drugs.). Like tomorrow (no, really, I'm not). Also, as the post I mention above declares, while any birth I believe helps make a woman what she is, this one was paramount for me. I believe that what a woman gains from her empowered birth makes her stronger, wiser and generally more capable. This may sound braggart to some, but I'm proud of myself for having a nearly 10 and a half pound baby. In. The. Kitchen.

We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.
-Laura Stavoe Harm

That pretty much sums that up.

3. Becoming a mother again has made me appreciate the kids I already have that much more. Corny. True. It might sound like I'm saying I didn't already appreciate them. Not the case. Moms (and dads, to be fair), remember when you had your first baby and you loved it so much you thought your heart would burst? (See #1. It won't.) Then you were going to have #2 and were scared you wouldn't be able to love it as much/give it enough attention/etc. (See #8) Then you had the new little baby and bam, love multiplied, not divided. The human brain has an amazing capacity for love. Thank you oxytocin.

4. I have more patience now. That's not saying too much. I'll admit I wasn't the most patient mother at age 20. I still have my moments (you know like when two adolescent boys are trying to kill each other over a PSP or I open the 15 yo's closet to find a hidden pile of clothes that reaches my knees) but my 3 big kids and Ella all benefit from the mellowing that occurs with age. I'm like a fine wine. I think.

5. I have a better grasp on what's important in life. Priorities. For example:

Important: breastfeeding a hungry baby on demand. Not important: scrubbing toilets.
Important: talking with my children. Not important: talking on the phone to my mother (sorry mom. You're moving down the list.)
Important: Hearing my kids laugh. Not important: Hearing people on TV laugh.
Important: Feeling good about your body and your health. Not important: Obsessing over the size of your backside.

I think you get what I'm saying. Life is short. Enjoy.

6. I'm no longer terrified of being a mother. At the risk of having a calamity of some kind, I'll admit, there is little (in the realm of normal, and some not so normal) that I haven't seen or done. This includes, but is not limited to: Wounds of all shapes and sizes, depths and widths. Colic. Various surgeries. Snotty noses and attitudes. Vomit and/or poop all over everything, including your clothes and/or furniture (sometimes simultaneously). Pneumonia. Asthma. Boy trouble. Girl trouble. Heartbreak. Bad grades. Trouble with teachers/students/yard duty people. (Once my son actually almost got expelled for drawing a cartoon strip depicting the school being blown up by a bomb. Active imagination that kid.) Anyway. I've seen a lot of stuff. I no longer feel the need to sterilize everything the baby touches. Spit will do. I now know that if a 4 year old doesn't want to wear shoes, probably the world will continue to rotate on it's axis if he goes barefoot. Also, mascara is not poisonous. X14 will clean your shower AND ruin your sofa. Boys bikes should really be designed to protect their penises if they fall (see various surgeries, above). A child can take until they are 3 to fully potty train. They won't poop their pants forever. Even if your mom insists they will. Mud washes off of most things and is also not toxic. Eighteen month old boys are very clever at finding ways to reach cookies. It's not the end of the world if your 7 year old knows the f word. If he says it at gramma's house, you might have a problem. There is little that scares me for I have seen a lot of it. I'm ready. Except for the really bad crap. No one is ever ready for that. I've seen that too. That crap terrifies me. Next topic.

7. It's this feeling you get about your kids. I'll admit one (actually two) of my children were not intentionally conceived. At the time this seemed like kind of a..... well, problem. A crisis even. Of epic proportions. With one of them I actually didn't have room in the house OR the car. But along he came anyway. By the power of failed birth control. It was a pretty big deal at the time. Like... Oh. My. God. How am I going to feed and clothe another WHOLE PERSON? But you know what, there is no way I'd ever live my life without that kid. He is my baby boy. The sweetest kid. He cried when his pet spider died. When Ella was born he sat behind me and cheered me on telling me I could do it. And like every child we've got, I can't imagine if that birth control pill had worked. Can't even fathom. It's magic. Kids just wrap themselves all up in your heart. It what keeps you from giving them away when they're so terribly two, wildly eight, know-it-all 12 and snotty 15. It's natures way of keeping them safe. Anyway... Our house would be so boring without Ella.

8. Cute (and functional) baby things. When I had my first daughter 15 years ago swings still had to be hand wound. I am dead serious. You'd wind them up, put the baby in, they'd run out of go and whammo, awake baby. OR you'd actually remember to re-wind it BEFORE it ran out and the stupid winding mechanism itself would wake the kid up anyway. Now... batteries. Brilliant. Also there were no bumbo's or chairs that vibrated and played womb noises, nightgowns still had stings on the bottom (cause no one had choked on them yet I guess), carseats didn't have detachable bases you could leave strapped in the car (crazy) and if you wanted a double electric breastpump you would have had to sell your soul to buy one. (Yep, I nursed for 16 months hand expressing and using a single sided hand pump. Good times.)

9. Life experience. This is not to say that 20 year old people don't make good parents. (I was a parent at 20 and that kid is doing alright. As far as I can tell anyway.) But this is to say that 36 year old people have seen and done some more stuff. Most of them anyway. I couldn't share what the stress of college and working full time was like with my child when I was 20 because I hadn't done it yet. I didn't know much about politics. (Though I was liberal back then too. Yes, I voted for Clinton.) I didn't know how to carve a turkey much less raise a child. I'd been exposed only to a handful of religious beliefs and ethnicity's. I grew up in a town of less than 50,000 people. But by the time I was 25 I'd know 2 people who were brutally murdered. I'd see one kid shoot a hole right though his hand. I'd lose my own unborn baby, both of my dad's parents, my mother's father, one aunt to suicide and my great grandmother who was like a mother to me. I would have had my house broken in to twice and my car stolen 3 times (You might be getting the picture that I wasn't living in the small town anymore). Also, incidentally, I've seen more in my career as a RN than most people will see in their lives. You get the idea. Experience. I hope Ella can benefit from it.

10.Did I mention patience?

11. It was an incredible experience for my other kids to see their sister born. Not only did they see the beauty of new life, they saw the power of women. My boys got to see, through their stepdad, how a woman should be treated. I hope this teaches them how to treat their wives. My daughter got to see what she deserves as a woman. Birth was normalized for them as safe and beautiful, not something mysterious and frightening. And all of them now have to to learn how to share time and space with a whole other person (see #7). They're better for it too.

There are more reasons than this but I'm going to stop now because I know what's important and I've got a baby that's ready to nurse on demand. :)


The Great Quiram Adventure said...

" It's not the end of the world if your 7 year old knows the f word." Yes but is it the end when your 2 year old not only says it but properly conjugates it for tense? Yes that would be my oldest (Tristin)...I about died when his father informed me. As always, your blog brings laughter and tears of joy. Thanks for allowing me a little window of insight.

Joni said...

Yes. Owen not only knew it but was able to spell in for me. Wonderful. I'm teaching them great things every day.

Ballerina Baller said...

lol. my 2yo girl says "shit" when she stubs her toe. we've told her you can say whatever you want around mommy and daddy, never be afraid to express yourself, but if you say that at school, they wont let you come back. so far, no problems... i love, LOVE your blog and sometimes wish I could explain things in your way. you soooooo rock!

Anonymous said...

Once again, beautifully put. I love your blog, it's 100 % in your voice and so relatable. My favorite part..."It's magic. Kids just wrap themselves all up in your heart. It's what keeps you from giving them away when they're so terribly two, wildly eight, know-it-all 12 and snotty 15." That love is amazing and you described it perfectly.:) Stace

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this blog post, it made me laugh and it made me cry. It was so true to what we as mothers go through. Thanks for aloowing me to read it.

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