[Gregory] Lori Ponders Mamahood | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Gregory] Lori Ponders Mamahood

I've never felt more prepared to write a "chick" column than now as I'm currently checking yet another "womanly" role off my list. Daughter? Check. Wife? Check. Mother? Check.

Four weeks ago I shot my own little "chick-let" out of my vagina and unceremoniously became someone's parent. Although I've had almost a month to get used to the idea, I still sit around my house and scream, "Holy Crap! I have a kid!" at least once a day.

To tell you the truth—lost sleep aside—I'm actually really proud that The Man and I made it to this point as I was pretty sure we would somehow kill the baby in the first week we had her home. Hell, we've killed most of our plants, and the cats that we've had for years now still have to occasionally remind us that they require at least sporadic feedings.

But now that we've made it this far without killing the baby, I'm somewhat optimistic that she might live past the one-year mark. I'm patiently waiting for the time in the next few months when she actually realizes that I'm her mom and reaches for me when she cries. I hope I get to enjoy that fun part for at least a little while before she turns 16 and starts blaming me for all her problems, and then telling me to go "f*&% myself" right before she demands to borrow the car. When this happens, I will remind her of all these weeks we spent not killing her right before The Man caves and hands her the car keys and 40 bucks. I will then apologize to her for not breast-feeding her longer.

I'm pretty sure that's how parental guilt works.

I'm getting better at recognizing how much guilt is involved in this "parenting process" as time goes on. I've never understood so acutely the insecurities that automatically come with motherhood as I have in the past week. The baby has been constipated once in her short life, and when my mother innocently asked, "Why is she constipated?" I immediately felt the need to defend myself as a parent and all-around good human being. Like, I was personally responsible for this kid's ability to poop properly and on time. After all, everyone knows that constipated kids don't get into college.

And, hell, if she can't get into college there is a 90 percent chance she will end up stripping or homeless and living under a bridge with some ####### named "Steve," lamenting her unresponsive bowels and blaming her mom. No matter where these musings take me—either stripping or under a bridge—they all end with the phrase, "I am a horrible mother."

I'm pretty sure this is how most other women feel when parenting their first newborn. Crazy thoughts range from "I didn't bathe the baby today" to "She will have long-term hygiene problems that plague her throughout life and will end up ruining every chance she has at a happy relationship, and I will never get grandchildren." I've spent four weeks thinking every single thing I was doing to keep her alive was compromising her ability to have a happy future. In another four weeks I have to return to work, and I'm pretty sure I'll feel horrible about that as well.

It is only during the past month that I finally realized why my mother always offered to pay for any therapy I've ever had. There is an automatic assumption that it was probably something she did as a mother that caused me to need it. I wish there was some way to divorce the feelings of guilt from the absolute joy I feel when I stare at her cute chubby baby face, but I'm slowly realizing that I'm not that special. I'm just a normal woman—gasp!

There is nothing so humbling as having a child and discovering that all the things you used to think were crazy begin to apply to your life. Amazed by baby pooping? Check. Can stare at her for hours? Check. Worried that grandmother is killing her every hour she's babysitting for you? Check.

I am discovering that finding a healthy way to balance all these new feelings is my next journey in life as a "chick." It's really too bad no one warned me this whole thing got more difficult instead of easier.

My mother kept the baby overnight for the first time this week. I spent the first two hours imagining the 4 million ways that "Nana" could kill the baby in the 12 hours she was supposed to care for her. I spent another two missing her so desperately I smelled her laundry in her room. Then I spent the next eight blissfully enjoying uninterrupted sleep.

Thirty minutes before my mother was scheduled to drop the baby off, I sat straight up in bed like an internal timer went off and immediately thought, "Where is my baby?" When she pulled into the driveway and handed her to me, I almost cried while I covered her in kisses. I finally felt that not only do I have a kid but, "Holy Crap! I am a Good Mama."

I figure that I'll just keep telling myself that every day until I believe it. And when that fails, I comfort myself with the fact that if I screw up something really badly, this kid is too young to remember a single day of it.

Previous Comments

ID
149941
Comment

Hilarious as usual! Glad to see that you are, um, coping so well. Just wait until the kid starts walking. Instead of being afraid of killing her, you'll be asking God to give you the strength not to! LOL!

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2009-07-22T14:28:46-06:00
ID
149944
Comment

Lori, what a great article. You are a good mama: she'll remind you when she needs something. At 200 decibels. :D And the parental guilt/freak out moments don't seem to end. I still feel guilty about our daughter getting diabetes. I know it wasn't my fault, but watching her have to test all the time and insert her infusion set for her insulin pump breaks my heart. I still cry when she leaves the room after a site change, cause I know it hurts and I can't understand her pain. But then, if I had a life without insulin, midnight checks, carb counting and all that stuff, I wouldn't have her. And she is one of the biggest joys of my life.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-07-22T14:36:01-06:00
ID
149946
Comment

I would say it gets easier, but it'd be a lie. :D

Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-07-22T14:39:48-06:00
ID
149951
Comment

Great column, Lori. You haven't lost your sense of humor.

Author
Walt
Date
2009-07-22T16:34:07-06:00
ID
149952
Comment

Or ability to be quite descriptive.

Author
Walt
Date
2009-07-22T16:35:48-06:00

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