Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In theory and in practice

When I was pregnant with Braeden, most of the other teachers at the school where I taught were mothers of grown children.  They all told me I was, "just adorable" all rounded and pregnant and they'd also tell me, "Well, you're going to get busy."

I knew they were right.  In theory.

Marianne had Clarissa nine months before I had Braeden.  She seemed really busy and changed and harried with motherhood.  So I knew I'd be like that too.  In theory.

Then I had Braeden and my whole world was rocked.  In practice motherhood was really hard and exhausting and I thought those friendly fellow teachers kind of understated how busy I would be.  They didn't mention I wouldn't be able to take a shower.

When I was potty training, I thought it was hard, probably the hardest part of motherhood.  (Wasn't I adorable?)  My mom, who was sending teenage boys loose in the world with driver's licenses told me to wait until they drive, that's the hard part.  I conceded, in theory, maybe that was true.  But that was so far away and how could it be more difficult than all that potty training related laundry and a temperamental toddler bladder?

Last summer, Janet was teaching her teenage sons to drive.  She told me it was stressful.  She told me it was hard.  I believed her.  In theory, it seemed really difficult and scary.

Well I had no idea.

None.

He doesn't like this picture but I'm his mom so I think every picture of him is terribly handsome.


I have been driving with Braeden.  He is careful.  He is obedient and respectful of me.  He listens to my instructions.  It could be so much worse.

But I am terrified.  Just like nothing can prepare you for the initial jolt motherhood is to your lifestyle, nothing can prepare you for the feeling of placing your life in the hands of a kid who can't remember to pick his socks up or to put the milk away.  I can't believe I have two more kids after this one that I have to teach how to drive. 

Now, if you're an experienced mother and you want to tell me, "Wait until they start dating", or "Wait until they leave home" or "Wait until they decide to get married" or "Wait until they have children of their own,"  please don't.  I can't take it and I need some time.  Maybe in about a year, I'll be sufficiently recovered from this experience to be in a place that I can contemplate another.  Even then though, I'll probably only view those things as challenging in theory.

Sometimes I think if we knew the reality, we would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

I agree that the picture of Braeden is very handsome. I thought bad permit pictures were part of the experience, but I guess Braeden proves that wrong. I also agree that you wouldn't sign up for motherhood if you really knew what it entails. Children have a way of making it all worth it though. I'm not sure how they do it.

Great post. I think you're very brave. I'm going to go tell my kids that they need to stop growing up right now.

Megan said...

How about we trade? You can teach Talia and I'll teach Braeden. Then we won't be as nervous and they might live to see another day.

Janet said...

I'll never forget how validating it was when I told Linda about the stress I was feeling teaching our boys to drive. Her eyes widened as she emphatically agreed that it was terrifying. I was beginning to think I was crazy but she affirmed that, indeed, I was not. :)Thank goodness for those who have gone before--they give me such hope. :)

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