They say being a mom is a full time job.
A full time job comes with lunch breaks, compensation, vacation pay and a 40-ish hour work week.
This Mom thing? It’s not a full time job – it’s a 24/7 job. A life-sucking 24/7 job. Truly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…366 if you’re lucky and it’s leap year. Come rain or shine, sickness or health, good times or bad, tired or not, three drinks in or totally sober…it’s on call, all the time. It never fucking ends…
“Don’t worry, it gets easier as they get older.”
No. No, it doesn’t get easier when they get older, in fact, it just might get harder…or at least the hours get longer. Sure, babies don’t sleep, but once they get the hang of it, you can more or less count on ten hours drama free.
But when they get older, that’s when the fun really begins…you might get 10 hours drama free, but it usually coincides with your waking hours. It’s the after hours that are trouble. The drama always happens when you’re ready for bed, or in bed, or asleep…pretty much at the times when you least want it to.
I get it…it’s part of the Mom thing. But damn, no one gave me a realistic job preview here! No one prepared me for the exhaustion, the frustration, the challenge of parenting BIG kids.
I’m not talking the eight and nine year old big kids, those guys were easy; it’s the 17 and 23 year old BIG kids…
The problems only get bigger as they get older. Bring me the middle of the night crying fits or the biting or the 100th time reading “Goodnight Moon.” At least with that stuff I knew it would pass.
This big kid stuff…man, it’s brutal. BRUTAL! Now the drama is about girlfriends, jobs, apartments, depression and other real-life adult type shit. Most of which isn’t “just a phase.” Not only are the problems bigger, the stakes are a lot higher! I’m talking real-life, adult type shit that I don’t always know how to handle either. There’s definitely no manual for this stuff and retiring from this job isn’t an option.
Your baby will always be your baby.
It’s true, your babies will always be your babies, but it was so much simpler when they just cried. They cried, you reacted – picked them up, held them, fed them, burped them, changed their diaper, cuddled them, rocked them and repeat. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over again…
Not so with the big kids – it’s rarely the same thing twice and it’s never at a good time. Picking them up and cuddling them? Not an option. Feeding them? Well, that does work sometimes. The redirect method – throw it out the window. Ignore it? Doesn’t make it go away either. These problems, you have to help solve.
Assuming said big kid will listen.
Which they usually don’t.
Why? Because these problems are those life lessons that are only learned by living them. It’s times like these that I marvel at my parents, at their ability to support us even when they thought we were making terrible decisions. (Which, of course, we did from time to time.) Damn – it’s hard!
And it hurts. Is there anything more painful than watching your child do something you already know is a bad idea and then watching them experience the very consequences you warned them of?
Nope, there isn’t. Truly, their pain is my pain and I feel every last bit of it.
And it’s a full time job. One that didn’t come with a job description, or a realistic job preview.
But once a mom, always a mom…so I just keep doing my thing. Relying on my life experience, my common sense, my tribe and sometimes Google to dole out advice all the while hoping for the best, wearing my poker face, keeping my fingers crossed, watching it all unfold and feeling the pain.
And realizing that motherhood truly is a full time job that never ends…