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Are You Tough Enough?

July 25, 2013

youcandoitI didn’t go to the University of Georgia to with the intention of getting my MRS degree. I wasn’t really thinking about a husband or babies for most of my time there. When asked what I wanted to do with my life, though, the answer was always the same. “I hope to stay home when my babies are little. I want to be a mom.”
Some people got it, but many replied with, “That’s all?”
Looking back, I didn’t completely get it myself then, and I won’t fully understand for many more years, but there’s no “that’s all” about it.
It doesn’t matter whether you stay home full-time or also work outside of the home, parenting is a full-time gig. There isn’t any paid vacation, and sick leave is laughable. Even if someone else has your children, they’re still on your mind. Twenty-four-seven.
A few times recently and many times over the past twenty or so years, I’ve heard it referred to as “just being a mom.” As if having kids is a good fall back. In case this job or that career doesn’t work out or is too stressful.
Let me tell you something: if your current job stresses you out or seems too hard, and you’re considering “just” having a kid, buckle up. Parenting will completely blow your mind.
I’m not a chronic worrier. We don’t helicopter parent. We always ask our kids to try first, and if they still can’t, we’ll help. I often wonder if I’m too laid back with things – like, am I missing something? Should I be more concerned about this? Still, every day, I wonder if I’m screwing them up somehow.
It might not be anything big. Did they get enough fruit with lunch? Should I buy organic milk or is that too obsessive? Those are the Daily Things. Not enough to cause true anxiety, but thought-provoking nonetheless.
There are Medium Things, too. Just this week, The Boy has been in trouble for sneaking extra screen time playing the one game worse than Candy Crush – Minecraft. I try to limit them, without setting a timer or anything, to a small amount of time playing games, hunched over those little devices. He’d play all day if I let him. Electronics and technology are inevitable, but so is the “you’ll rot your brain” lecture. It’s so easy to let an entire day slip away, having played games and watched movies, without stepping outside once.
He loves the game. I dislike it because it renders my child a zombie. It allows for creativity and organizational skills. It’s still a video game. I’d just like to see some balance. Will he still be able to entertain himself outside? Of course he will. No amount of reason or logic prevents these thoughts, though.
When you add them all together, the Daily and Medium Things can be rather overwhelming. They’re only part of it, though. Enter, the Major Stuff. When The Boy was just five weeks old, he got sick. He was so sick he needed surgery. For a day or so, we wondered whether we should take him to the doctor. After that, we contemplated and eventually visited the ER. There’s nothing like watching a nurse trying to insert an IV into your especially small and now dehydrated baby. When Dr. Howell, who is part of the beyond talented pediatric surgical team here in Augusta, took him back for surgery, I worried. He was in excellent hands. Nothing prepares you for the Major Stuff.
It’s not that a job outside the home can’t elicit the same level of passion. There’s simply something about caring for another that takes it to a whole new level.
For now, I’ll make them eat their broccoli and wear sunscreen. I hope I deal with the Medium Things well enough. We haven’t even reached the Major Stuff like dating and leaving for college. Don’t get me started on puberty and driving. I like “just” being a mom. I take full advantage of happy hour and occasionally sneak a coffee break. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. Wimps need not apply.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gina permalink
    July 25, 2013 10:34 pm

    Loved this post!!! A friend on Facebook shared your link and I just had to comment. I too always wanted to be a mom, and have been blessed with 3 girls!!! And you have completely captured just what parenting is all about. A few weeks after having my first child, I received a jury summons!! If it were any other time I would have been more than willing to accept this civic duty!!! When explaining my situation to a very snobby lady, she looked at me and said,” So you are JUST a mom!” I was so thrown by her response…even after only being a mom for a few weeks, I got what an incredibly rewarding but VERY HARD job I had just entered into!!! So sad that so many people view it as a “hobby!” Thanks again for your post.

    • Jenny permalink*
      July 25, 2013 10:36 pm

      So glad you’re reading! Thanks for the comment!! 🙂

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