I used to be human.
Never did I leave my always immaculate home without my hair and nails fixed just right. I wore 6 inch heels and miniskirts. My blouses showed off the goods as I trotted off to some exciting night out.
Then I had three sons.
Mind you, I chose to have my children and love them all very much, but now that my boys are grown, I feel like it’s time to be honest. Being a parent is NOT what you see on TV.
It starts with childbirth.
See, I was a mom prior to internet—I had no go to source for all things pregnancy. All I was told was “You’ll feel a little pressure, and then it will all be over so you can spend the next 18 years in joy.” All I saw on TV were neatly groomed women weeping tears of joy.
No one ever told me that not only would I wind up looking like a bloated watermelon, but all my dignity and humility would disappear on the delivery table. Yup. All of it.
They never bothered to say that I would probably pee, and they definitely never said that number 2 would probably happen…. right there in front of my doctor, the nurses, God, and my labor coach. My best friend knows more about me than pretty much everyone else in the world because she has seen me poop–with my legs hoisted up in the air. So attractive.
As my children were born, I looked nothing like those TV moms. My hair was a total wreck. I was sweaty and tired. Nothing was as I was shown.
I wish that was the end of the nightmare I was never told about, but alas, there is more.
If I had a dime for every movie I’ve seen with happy mommies carrying around newborn babies to show off to the world, I’d be a millionaire. Unfortunately, that’s such a lie.
After my babies were born, I felt like my poor, puffy vagina had fought a war. Seriously, it was like a bomb went off in there. It hurt to walk or sit. Not to mention, there was stuff — not clean, bright red blood, but actual ick, making its way out. Brownish, yellowish, sometimes tissue-like junk. Not what I’d expected and definitely not what I wanted to happen around visitors, because, and feel free to ask other moms, sometimes that battleship sized pad they give you still isn’t enough. Leaks happen, and they happen often. Add to that leaky boobs, and you become quite the spectacle.
So there you sit in your most comfortable period pants trying to crack a smile for your unwanted guests, who you just pray aren’t baptizing your infant in communicable disease, and all of a sudden you feel inadequate. Why? Oh, well, the baby blues show up shortly after the visitors.
That, too, is a real part of motherhood that TV doesn’t portray. Yes, you will feel like a failure because you can’t tend to baby, cook dinner, clean the house, and keep your guests’ glasses refilled just like they do on your favorite show. Here’s the thing, though, you’re not supposed to. Being superwoman is an unrealistic goal, and any woman who claims to be is probably a liar. I also hate to say it, but infancy is the easy part. Just never trust the media as your guide.
I was reminded of that today as I watched the Bounty commercial where a mom stands by smiling as her son explodes milk everywhere to occupy the baby.
Give me a break.
Never in the history of my life as a mother have I ever thought it was cute for my son to blow milk bubbles everywhere, and here’s why: I probably spent an hour cleaning the kitchen so we wouldn’t live in a world of smeared Cheetos cheese. That hour was the time I couldn’t spend taking the coveted bath so many mothers forgo as time just doesn’t allow anything more than a quick shower. There’s no way I would’ve smiled at the tiny terrorist destroying my work with his chocolate milk bomb.
I don’t care what some overachieving show offs want us all to think, being a mom is hard, dirty, thankless work. Every time I see some happy-go-lucky woman with 6 kids piling out of her mini-van on TV while her hair lies perfectly straightened and her clothes all match, I want to tackle her and take all her Xanax, because there is no way that just happens all the time.
Having raised three sons, I know that most of the time, unless I was going to work, I was lucky if I even had time to brush my teeth let alone look like someone from The Stepford Wives. To be honest, the media is quick to project unreal images of moms with little regard for the harm it inflicts on very real moms. We need to see that even though being a mom is wonderful and rewarding, you will lose your shit sometimes—and that’s okay.
So when you’re standing at your child’s bedroom door wondering how in the world they exploded the magic marker all the way up on the ceiling, know you’re not alone. It’s okay to cry and be upset. Moms, as much as the media tell us differently, are human, too. We’re sticky, frustrated and tired, but we are definitely human.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!