Now before I get angry letters from people going off on me about how some people wait years to have their own children and still don’t get kids and on and on…let me clarify.
I was a nanny for two and a half years, a preschool teacher for five, and a babysitter since I was 13. I will ignore an adult if a child is talking to me, I think crafting and dancing are only more fun with a child, and I am fluent in Toddlerese. I am more patient with a child than I am with any one 15 or older, and their simple wonderment and awe of the world is inspiring to me. I love children, everything about children.
…but there is one flaw that anyone that HAD children forgot to inform me of. As a nanny, teacher and babysitter I could take breaks. I could go home and miss the kids. I could call in sick – or dead. I would walk into the house or school and the schedules were already set, the rules were already made, and the boundaries were already drawn. I never questioned if the care they were given was enough, if their schedule wasn’t working, or if the boundaries were too loose or too strict. If I couldn’t stand the kid or the family, I could walk away. I never pondered on just how badly I was going to mess them up, or even felt like I made mistakes. I was Mary F$%&ing Poppins in how awesome I was as a child care provider.
Then I had a baby. When they say “It’s different with your own kid” you always assume they mean because you love them unconditionally, everything they do is amazing, and you become this mother bear that would kill someone for harming them. Though all that’s true…it’s not entirely accurate.
“It’s different” because suddenly you would rather cut off your own hand with a butter knife than move that child from the swing – the one you’re not supposed to let them fall asleep in. Ever. Suddenly you contemplate how much puke or drool is worth the wrestling match of changing their clothes so they aren’t wet, and overnight your house becomes a replica of Hoarders because this little being eats more often than you do, sleeps only when it’s totally inconvenient for the entire human race – and refuses to sleep when it’s killing you both, and poops everywhere right after you make the decision to wrestle him into the new clothes, and through the screaming finally win the wrestling match.
“It’s different” because you analyze and agonize over the fact that you need a babysitter and worry both about if the babysitter is good enough (even if it’s grandma), and if you are a horrible mom because you NEED the sitter in the first place.
“It’s different” because you would willingly sell your right kidney in order to just get one solid day of rest and completely to yourself. Because you so desperately want to have someone else set a schedule for you and have your kid actually follow it. Because you want someone else to tell you baby clues such as “If he’s wiggling a lot, even though he’s tired and won’t eat…he probably pooped,” instead of needing to figure it out on your own like some awful Lost in Translation puzzle with a bomb attached to your back.
“It’s different” because when you KNOW they’re hungry but refuse to eat, which only makes them scream more because they’re getting hungrier by the minute while they are bowing backwards and your boob is hanging out and your dripping milk everywhere BECAUSE they are screaming…you understand why lions will eat their young.
“It’s different” because the reason you are “glowing” has nothing to do with the ads showing a loving mother cooing over her amazing precious child, but because you haven’t showered in five days and you are covered with drool, pee, spit up and sweat.
“It’s different” because as much as you want to have sex, you either don’t have time, are too exhausted (or too grossed out with your hygiene) or because you realized sex is what got you here in the first place.
“It’s different” because you don’t want them to grow up too fast, you have the camera out ALL THE TIME so you don’t miss any cuteness, and cry when you realize the outfit you brought them home in is now too small…and simultaneously are begging the Almighty to get through this phase as quickly as possible without needing a Clicker like Adam Sandler.
…and as I found out last night: More than anything, “it’s different” because when you’ve finally hit the breaking point, and completely loose your shit – no no. Really. It was BAAAAAD. – when you give up, give in, blare the Angry Girl Music and dance with your baby while teaching them to sing at the top of their lungs, that smile you get because they just needed you and think you are hilarious is the best thing in the world.
I reached my breaking point. I lost my filter. I cranked P!nk and Adam Lambert and Adelle, and sang to my baby like I would have a bottle of Captain a year ago. Then we played in the tub, I laughed as he learned (and LOVED) to splash…and we went to bed. I passed out next to this infuriating, irritating, exhausting, frustrating, tiny human being.
And I got it. “It’s different” because for the first time ever…it’s totally all worth it.