“Mommy, can I ask you something?”
Sofia begins 5-6 conversations a day with that question.
“Sure,” I say, quickly pondering what outrageous interrogation will ensue.
“Is it hard to be a Mommy?”
This was the second time in the past week that she had asked me. The first time, I responded with a lot of Uh’s and Um’s, but this time I was more prepared.
“Well, sometimes it feels hard, because I’m tired from work, but you guys make it easy, because you are so wonderful. Why do you ask?”
“When I’m a mom, I’m gonna have 6, or 4, or 5 kids.”
I was glad to hear that response, because I didn’t want to frighten her away from her dream of having so many children.
Women aren’t easily motivated nowadays to have one kid, let alone 6, or 4, or 5.
9 months of swelling, indigestion, and 20 to 60 pounds of weight gain—yes, I gained 60 pounds throughout each of my 3 pregnancies, on a 5’1″ frame, you could say I “got around“; then a long, tedious, painful labor and delivery—with or without an epidural, it bites; 30 to 45 endless nights, of crying and crankiness, and not just you, the baby is adjusting to living outside your body, as opposed to the water world they inhabited for 40 weeks; 40 torturous nights without intimacy, where you think, “I’ll never say no to sex again!”—that doesn’t last; add on the throw up, poop, pee, and other things you can’t identify that babies spew all over you; and all of a sudden, before your baby is even walking, it’s settled. You’re done. “One baby is more than enough!”
You’re right! All of that does sound awful; but there are rewards in between. Sweet smiles and giggles; gentle tugging at your hair while they nap; eyes that bat softly to sleep to your lullabies, despite your awful singing voice; and when they start talking, it’s all over.
That first time they call you Momma or Daddy, it’s like hitting the 600 million dollar PowerBall. Ok, I know it probably seems like there’s NOTHING better than hitting the 600 million dollar PowerBall, but I feel that becoming a parent is like buying a ticket and winning the jackpot every day.
So, when Sofia asked me if it’s hard to be a mommy, I quickly answered no. I don’t mean to lie to her, I just don’t want her to fear motherhood and all the responsibilities, sacrifices, and spit-up it throws at you.
What is the right answer to that question?
I don’t know, but kids don’t know that you don’t know. So, just give it your best shot.
Tonight, I lay next to my curious daughter, after reading a story and praying. She said “Mommy, can I ask you something?”
Third time’s the charm, I thought. I was ready with my fairytale response about motherhood.
“What is it, Sofy?”
“Mommy, what’s a solar eclipse?”
Mouth agape, I blurted, “Go to sleep!“