Week 20: What If I Told You…
by Sharon Tjaden-Glass
That I am selfish?
That holding my sick baby for the entire night doesn’t feel that rewarding?
That for several months when my teaching load was light, I didn’t pick my daughter up from daycare until 5:30, even though I had finished everything for teaching and grading by 3:30
That I love my kids, but I’m at my best when I have a break from them
That some days are nothing but chores and work from sunup to sundown
That there are periods of several days in a row when the only thing that I get to “do for myself” is drink a cup of coffee in the quiet stillness in my cubicle before it’s time to teach
That I don’t like that
That I miss The Weekend
That I miss binge-watching TV for hours on end
That I wanted a child, but I didn’t want to be a “mom.”
(Does that make sense?)
That each day is a decision to live a spirit of humility and generosity (even though I sometimes want to be childish and self-centered)
That I constantly fail at this
That I lose my patience and yell
What if I told you that I’m not inherently great at mothering simply because I’m female?
That it’s a struggle to put the needs of others before me
That each day is a decision to let go of my desire to preserve my sleep, my time, my energy, my sanity
What if I told you that motherhood has made me more vulnerable than I have ever been my whole life?
That each day is a decision to draw my children close, rather than keeping them at arm’s length
because of my fear that they will sink their hooks so deeply into my being that they can unhinge me
What if I told you that I’ve grown two more chambers of my heart
And birth separated them from me
That they are now out there in the world, naive and not yet broken
And oh so exposed
That when they are crushed by the world, I will be too
What if I told you that before I became a mother, I thought that “moms” were minivans and bad pants and nonexistent sex lives?
That I thought that once I entered motherhood, it was all over
That once I became a mother, I might as well abandon anything that I wanted to do for myself for the rest of my life
And by that logic, I had to finish writing anything meaningful before I had any kids.
(Because they would just make it impossible to ever write again, right?)
What if I told you that before I gave birth, I had months of writer’s block
But once my daughter was born, I couldn’t stop writing.
That between naps and feedings and diaper changes, I wrote pages and pages and pages.
That sometimes I wrote at 3:00 a.m. after a feeding because I had another good idea
What if I told you that after I placed my time and energy and plans on the altar of motherhood
It gave me back far, far more precious gifts.
Motherhood has knocked me down into the messy quagmire of life time and time again.
It has made me sob and ache and grovel and resent and rage.
But it has also made me a Badass.
It has made me skilled in the art of Forgiving
and Getting Back Up
and Moving On