I always wanted to have children. In my youth, I heard over and over again how great I was with kids. Even today, my oldest son shakes his head when we’re out in public and unknown children randomly climb into my lap: “Mom, babies just love you!” I can’t deny it. I think they sense my goodness and feel safe with me. Cool! Buuuuut, only experience can teach you the truth, and what I discovered upon becoming a mother was that my free spirit was a lot freer than even I knew, so being chained down to someone who needed me constantly was not exactly livin’ the dream. It certainly didn’t help that as I tried to reach out to other mothers, I only got pretentions.
Fast-forward a few years to when I announced to my husband (as though I was saying something heroic) I’m ready! I am ready to do this again. I know what to expect and I’ve gotten used to the shackles, so let’s get to humpin’, Husband! (I know. He’s a lucky man). I ran outside, raised my arms in victory, pointed rude fingers at the Universe, and shouted haha, I got this, bitch. Bring it! Danger? HA, I laugh in the face of danger!
Then the universe chuckled low and mischievously…and gave me two. Yep, twins. How’s that for Karma. Sigh. Being smug never pays. It took me four years after that before I could look at other babies and not shiver. Here, Angel, do you want to hold my new baby? Nope, as I’d take two steps back and grab the nearest margarita. Honestly, I did handle it way better than I handled it the first time. But there were many days where I quietly disappeared into my closet, sobbed heavy tear drops into a pillow that I grabbed on my way in, and wondered how on earth I could do it all again tomorrow. Two babies; a four-year-old; my own tormented free spirit. Eek.
Then a mother of four – whose youngest were twins – told me to not rush it. “I know it’s hard,” she said, “but do not wish this time away, Angel. It’ll be over before you know it and you’ll have teenagers spewing word vomit all over you!” She, too, had all boys. Those words (the “don’t rush it,” not the “spewing word vomit all over you”) often floated into the forefront of my mind during the most difficult moments, and it centered me. My husband told me he’d support whatever decision I wanted to make: I could go to school and we’d hire a babysitter to help; I could go back to work and we’d hire a nanny; or I could stay home — he was on board 100%. As I considered my options, I kept hearing don’t rush this…don’t wish this time away. I thought about how these kids were going to change constantly over the next many years, until they become who they’re mostly going to be; and how it really was going by so fast.
I am currently in school and some days, I feel so overwhelmed, but I get to be ever available to my three sons. I used to feel insecure about “just being a mom,” but now I feel grateful that my husband and I have adjusted our situation so that we can make parenting our top priority. That doesn’t mean smothering, it just means we left our home state — with the third most expensive cost-of-living in the country — most of our family and our friends, and found a lovely town in a different state where we can afford to live on a single income and he can be present. And honestly, if it turns out that all we can afford in retirement is a tiny shack on a beach somewhere, well….it’s still on a beach, isn’t it?