Alexis writes about struggling with clinical depression while raising two boys over at Depressions and Confessions. She is funny, relatable and heartwarming all at once. Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter as alexistlesa.
I was never the type of girl that dreamed of a white wedding and being a young mother. I don’t think i dreamed of any kind of wedding, let alone which colors would be involved. and babies? ummm, no. I mostly thought about the day when i would have a job that would get me a paycheck big enough to subsidize my already burgeoning shopping addiction, and whether or not my feet would stop growing in time to prevent my having to shop at the big & tall women’s store (they did, but barely–I’m a size 11, which effectively relegates me to the seventh circle of shoe shopping hell).
But when I met The One when I was 18, I knew there was some sort of trouble brewing, the kind of trouble that leads to 2.5 kids and a picket fence. I credit women’s intuition (and his exceedingly awesome makeout skills) with giving me the courage to announce to my now husband that I KNEW we were going to get married only 3 months after we’d met. He was 21, I was 18 and apparently insane, and we never questioned it. It had happened organically, and we were married three weeks before my 19th birthday.
We didn’t have kids till almost five years later, when I was finally (sort of) ready. I did all the research–strollers, breastfeeding, sleep schedules, diaper bags, baby slings, parenting methods, the works. I felt so prepared. so imagine my surprise when my son was born and I was knocked flat on my larger-than-life-due-to-pregnancy ass. I’d had no clue.
Sure, I knew how to change diapers and rock a baby to sleep and warm up a bottle of breastmilk, but I had no idea about the depth of emotion, the desperation, the unadulterated ecstasy that is all part and parcel of being a parent, specifically a mother. I got all of that and more, lots more.
I’ve since had another boy, and my sons teach me daily what it is to be a mother. To care for another without regard for self is no easy task, and I NEVER thought I’d be able to do it. I’m the girl who liked to sleep in till 11, then take a three-hour nap in the middle of the day; the girl who spent 50% of her paycheck on payday, on the walk home from work; the girl who liked to have a bowel movement in peace, behind a locked door without a screaming manchild on the other side of it.
The challenges are nonstop, but I’m learning to find strength in my own version of motherhood. I know that not every woman will agree with or even understand why i do things the way I do them. for example, certain women look at me cockeyed when I tell them that I make my son lie in bed for two hours a day, regardless of whether or not he takes a nap. but what they don’t understand is that if mommy doesn’t have her quiet time, she will be a raging bitch from hell in a hot minute.
It’s all about finding the right balance between being supermom (which I have never cared to be), and batshit crazy. And on days when I have to deal with my overactive son talking nonstop for 12 hours, I am teetering dangerously close to option #2. so we have quiet time everyday, NO MATTER WHAT.
In other words, I do what works for me and mine, and my kids love me just the way I am. maybe one day, I’ll take a page out of that book and do the same for myself.