Momma Told You

Momma told you it would get better.  She said that as you sat in the rocking chair holding your baby and crying.  Both of you, crying.  You were wearing the same sweatpants you had put on three days ago, your hair was unwashed, and the house looked like a bomb had gone off.  You were convinced the baby would never sleep with the soul-deep conviction of a new mother.  You just knew this was your life. This.  Forever.  A baby in your arms, spit up down the front of your shirt, and no sleep.  Ever.  Because every time you would start to drift off you would hear that little snuffle,  the one that came right before the wail of a starving baby.  Of course he was starving.  You knew that gut-deep too, because he had only eaten an hour ago and if he was hungry again it must be because you didn't have enough milk and he was starving and you were a bad mother.  You loved him, of course you loved him.  You knew that deep down too.  But how could you spend the rest of your life like this?

Then Momma came and told you it would get better.  You would shower again and the baby would sleep.  One day, maybe not too soon, the house would be clean again.  The baby wasn't starving and you were a good mother.  You believed her.  Because she was a real mother. Not like you, you still felt like an imposter.

But Momma was kind.  She didn't tell you that this was only the beginning, the easy part.  That a baby who won't sleep is easy (would you have believed her?)  She didn't say that you would never really sleep again.  She didn't tell you about the sleepless nights because of sickness, surgeries, broken hearts, and plain brattiness  She didn't tell you about the times you would lie awake worrying, convinced you were doing the whole parenting thing wrong.  She didn't tell you about nights lost to worry about bad grades, girls who think they are ugly, and boys who think they know everything.  She didn't tell you about the night terrors, thunderstorms, vomiting (so much vomiting), and lost stuffed animals.  About homework left till after bedtime, final trips to the bathroom, and one more drink of water.  She didn't tell you about new drivers, unanswered phones, and waiting up until you hear the key in the door.

She didn't tell you any of this because mommas know their babies and she knew you.  So she patted the baby on the butt and you on the shoulder and left, with a promise to call tomorrow.  And that pat told you all you needed to know.  It was all out there waiting for you, the sleepless nights and the worry.  But somehow you knew that out there as well as the love and the joy and the just plain fun of being a mother.  You knew that it all balanced out and that none of it lasted forever.  That this too would pass.  That it was all worth it.  That you would figure it out. That you were a real mother.

You knew it with a soul-deep conviction.

No comments