I had one of those moments that I imagined before I became a mother. Norah was next to me in the bed fidgeting between wakefulness and sleep when she reached up with her soft hand and touched my face. But my internal “ahhhhh” quickly became an external “OWWWW!” when she wrapped her tiny fingers around my bottom lip and dug in. And that’s how ‘cut Norah’s fingernails’ arrived at the top of my “To Do” list for the day.
I saw a columnist on CNN a few days ago commenting that the book, “Go the F*&% to Sleep” is “not funny”. She said we shouldn’t talk that way about our kids. Uh, WRONG! Jonathan introduced me to this book in a video where Samuel L. Jackson read it aloud. It is hilarious! And Norah’s only 5 months old so she isn’t asking to potty or for a glass of water but I can still relate. Sure, we shouldn’t talk this way TO our kids but I think laughing about the trials of being a parent can help keep us sane.
I imagined in early motherhood I’d rock my sleepy, quiet, calm baby until she dozed off into a peaceful slumber at which point I would
gently place her in her crib, pat her tummy and go have dinner with my husband. Well, like many things I imagined parenthood to be, reality is quite different. And I am sometimes mentally begging my daughter to “go the f*&% to sleep” and “stay the f*&% asleep for more than 5 minutes this time, PLEASE!”
I’m only 5 months in and I can join the ranks of parents before me when I say, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are
moments during my day when, if a pregnant woman walked by me, I would feel compelled to look her up and down, shake my head and ask, “What have you done?” So, why didn’t people warn me? Oh, wait, they did. But behind the hormonal veil those warnings sounded more like cheers of support. And surely my child will not be difficult. And I’ll know exactly what she needs. And this will be a breeze. Uh, try hurricane.
What could I say to that expectant mom to make her understand? Perhaps it’s just a volume issue. THIS IS HARD! YOU’LL BE SOOOO
TIRED! You’ll be so tired you’ll Google things like “how long can a person go without sleep before they perish?” because you will suspect that you have gone over the limit. And you will understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture because you will do and say anything for just a few hours of sweet, sweet uninterrupted sleep. Oh, forget it. You’re not listening.
The joys of motherhood are not where I expected them to be. But if I move past that, perhaps by laughing about it, I can see the actual
joys. Like when Stu is holding Norah and she smiles at me. And how that smile is so sincere it makes her head nod. It delights me in an unexplainably profound way. So, while the daily joys are fewer than I imagined their impact is far deeper and more precious than I
ever could have known. And I’m just getting started.