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Motherhood: Should Come With Warning Label

I think our family had given up hope that Don and I would have children. The pointed questions had stopped. Now we heard, “So, what’s new, anything?” I was attending Court Reporting school in San Francisco, and had a part time job typing medical dictation for a doctor’s group near U.C. Their ultrasound machine had just been repaired and they needed a guinea pig, so I drank the gallon of water and hopped on the table. My boss walked in and asked me if I had news I wanted to tell him, and I didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. He confirmed that the little thing less than the size of an olive was going to be my first born. Our son.

Typical of the San Francisco work force, I had not one but three women come in, sit down next to me and tell me I didn’t have to go through with it. “You have a choice, you know.” Well, I expressed to them that no, I really didn’t have a choice. And besides, didn’t they know I was married? But during the hour-long drive home I
began to worry what my husband would think. Birth control, after all, was not anything we ever talked about (believe it or not), and by default, was more or less my responsibility. I’d told Don I had some news for him, and he said the same. We would discuss our news over a nice dinner.
“You go first,” I said.
“Well, I quit my job.”
“I see. Can you get it back?”
“No. But I hated that job. I’m free now! I thought you’d be happy for me.”
“Like I said, can you get it back?”
“Hell no. It was a big scene and I walked out. I felt great afterwards.”
“But you’re going to get another job, right?”
“Well I was thinking about going back to school or perhaps taking some time out. Maybe start our own company. We can do that now.”
When I didn’t answer, he asked me for my news.

“I’m pregnant.”

So, after nearly seven years of marriage, we were starting a family. I didn’t know how apprehensive my mother was until later on in my pregnancy. She’d lost 3 to miscarriage. I later did the same, but this time, our son missed Valentine’s Day by a day, and I got to celebrate Mother’s Day in style.

Being a mother has been the toughest job I’ve loved doing. My dad gave me some great advice. My mother had been very sick after I was born, so he often did the 2 AM feeding, letting her sleep. He decided that those were some of the best times of his life. He vowed that at whatever stage I was at, he’d enjoy that stage for the beautiful gift it was, not wishing I was some other age. I’ve tried to adopt that with my own four now grown kids.

So, if there was a warning label on motherhood, maybe some of them would look like this:
1. You won’t feel like you have the time or energy to get up in the wee hours of the morning for feeding, sometimes a bath and certainly a diaper change. And then perhaps another bath and diaper change. But somehow, you’ll just find a way.
2. Motherhood is part nurse, part camp counselor, part disciplinarian, taxi driver and the unlimited source of funds. But all those things are done out of love. You learn to get used to the feel of clotted spitup traveling down your back and into your butt crack occasionally.

3. Being a mother is very simple, but not easy.

4. Your home will be invaded with smelly soccer teams and brownie sleepovers. You’ll recover your furniture and replace your carpet about every three years. You have to instruct the little ones not to pick up the dog by its belly, or by its ears, or the cat by its tail.
5. When you give a gift to the relatives and the children are present, they’ll always tell the recipient you got it on sale. They’re practicing being truthful.
6. You will cherish those little soap dishes and ashtrays made in grammar school, and will never throw out the handprint painted bright blue or green made in preschool. You’ll look for evidence of talent in the butcher paper drawings you’ll be presented with.
7. You’ll not have the heart to throw out the baby teeth the Tooth Fairy stole, leaving money under the kid’s pillows. You will learn it’s okay to read the same bedtime story over and over and over again. You won’t get medals or pay raises. You won’t be given an instruction manual.

8. You’ll never forget the fact that you will be the first woman your sons will love, and they’ll show it to you even though they try very hard to cover it up. And you try not to laugh.

9. You’ll discover enthusiasm for bugs, water fights, large bubbles, pink plastic high heels, fold up field chairs, hard wooden gym benches or the midnight bad dreams that bring the kids back to your bed occasionally. You’ll remember and cherish all of these memories. Christmas morning will never ever be the same again.

10. Motherhood means the celebration of unselfish love, belief in all things, even when everyone else has given up hope. Mothers hope a lot. And they pray. They keep and tell the stories of the family. They demonstrate the healing power of love. They remind us all that we are family.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, and to all of you who are honored to help a mother celebrate her special day by saying thanks.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. I love your thoughts on motheerhood. I was flooded with wonderful memories. Thank you and happy mother’s day to you.

  2. I love this post because it was also so much like my husband and I as we didn’t have our first child until we were married for eight and half year in and we also had 2 miscarriages so I held my breath at every doctor’s appointment. But I wouldn’t trade my daughter now 34 (She still loves to dress up but now its called Cosplay) and our son who’s 31 and loves the outdoors plus lives on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. (Our own mountain man um hippie but don’t tell him that) Have a wonderful Mother’s Day Sharon

    1. Thanks Teresa! I just know you are a wonderful mother just by the way you write! Thanks for reaching out. I hope (and know) your family treats you like the treasure you are! Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  3. Beautifully stated and so tree!
    Thank you and I took the liberty of sharing on Facebook

  4. Happy Mother’s Day! I loved reading your post and I agree with all of it. Thank you for such lovely thoughts and for sharing them with us.

  5. I love your tribute to motherhood. I have loved every stage of motherhood except for the one we are in now…. the empty nest. You raise your children to be independent and self-sufficient. When they are that, you miss them terribly. I am so proud of my young independent adults. My oldest was to be married on May 30. While that’s been moved to October 10, they were tired of waiting, so they went to the courthouse and got married. Now they are still planning the October wedding to be a celebration of their marriage. They bought a house and my daughter is doing all sorts of things she refused to do at home. She bought the material to make raised garden beds so she can grow vegetables to can. She taught me how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch. She is scanning Facebook market place and has started buying baby furniture even if they have decided not to have babies until after COVID is safer. She has learned to patch plaster walls in their 1900 house. She is learning how to sand and refinish the floors. It’s amazing how happy those things make her. She made an excellent choice for her husband, although he has the same problem my husband has…. he seems to be missing several zeros to the left of the decimal point. My youngest is a sophomore in college, currently majoring in computer science with plans to change that to a major in Chemistry and a minor in computer science (he was going to drop that completely until his advisor said it was only one more class.) I can’t wait to see what he decides for his future.

    1. Isn’t that the miracle of being a mother? And there are also mothers who mother children who are not their own — the experiences are still the same, they “become” our own, don’t they? We accept new children into our family when they marry, and we share the love when little ones come, too. I think being a mother and loving a child is the most wonderful thing a woman can do in her life. Thanks too for your memories, and what a great experience seeing what your daughter can do no! The same things have happened to me.

      I think it also stresses that we need to love more, and always, even when things don’t go exactly right…Thank you for your memories and for reaching out!

  6. Beautiful memories, and a great reminder of why we love our children. Then when they have their own to see the love and time,encouragement they give is a reflection of what you gave to them

  7. You brought back the memories of when I found out I was pregnant. I was teaching and my husband was working construction six hours away. He called to say he was laid off (the boss always laid off everyone at Christmas so the wife could have plenty of money to spend.) I said, “Well, I’m pregnant.”
    He sold his Ovation guitar at a pawn shop to have enough money to buy gas to get home. We still laugh at that time knowing we just had to keep working to hold your head above water.
    We made it through that recession, had another delightful child and continued through life. You know, people just still need to realize how blessed we are to live in this country. You have a great Mother’s Day, I will because I am counting my blessings.

    1. Yes, me too. What a sacrifice to sell that guitar, but you’re right, we just do what we need to do. We just keep going forward, not stopping. Loved your story. There must be millions of women out there who have the same worry, and consideration. Thanks for reaching out. Thanks for sharing for all of us, Lynne!

  8. I have fond memories of being pregnant and having my two boys. Two totally different personalities but both so loving and giving. I am one of six children. I don’t know how my parents did it. There might not have been a lot of material things but the love never ended. A hug and a kiss whenever we left the house or came home.Right now, I am living with my 93 year old mother in the house I grew up in. It was an adjustment for both of us but worth the sacrifices made along the way. Thank you for sharing your story and your heart.

    1. Sara,
      Thanks for that lovely story. The best part about blogging are hearing your stories! What a joy you are living, and helping your mother to finish out her life in the home where her memories are. Adjustments, for sure. But what a wonderful thing you are doing, and I can’t help but think of the lessons you are leaving for your sons. Our circumstances may change, but how we honor and treat our mothers is crucial, and you are a wonderful example of this! Thank you!

  9. Love this Sharon! Thank you so much. Not exactly my view of motherhood, but I love it just the same.

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