The Role of Mom

Have you ever noticed that the important things never come with instruction manuals? You get a pack of batteries and they have instructions on the back in several languages. I'm here to tell you that my 4 year old knows what a battery is and how to use it. Granted, he has no clue about positive and negative ends, but those instructions aren't on the back of the battery pack anyway.

Kids do not come with instructions. Why this is I'll never know. I can see it would be a choking hazard to have them tied around their neck as they emerge into this world, but maybe a printed list on their backs that fade with age, or as parents grasp what to do. No, better yet! The list will continually update itself as the kids get older and you face bigger and harder challenges.

Talk about the Ultimate Reality TV Show. I know that dads have really stepped up to the plate in the last decade or so, but in reality it's moms that still do the lion's share of the work. Face it, after carrying that little bundle of instruction-less joy for 9 months (plus) moms are coming into parenthood already deprived of energy and sleep. I remember having to get up at night almost every hour to pee when I was pregnant with our first. I also remember saying to my husband "I cannot wait until this baby is born and I can get a full night's sleep again." See what I mean? I was so exhausted BEFORE BIRTH that I couldn't even think straight. And it hasn't gotten any better, trust me.

And I'm sorry if I offend anyone here, but evolution does not exist. Besides the fact that my Bible clearly outlines how I came to be, I am living proof. If mothers haven't found a way to grow more sets of arms and eyes in the back of their heads then we must be the least intelligent beings on the face of the earth. And evolution teaches us that the stupid ones die out. I see moms around me all the time and trust me, some of them not only have failed to grow more arms and eyes, they're not utilizing the ones they do have. The human race would surely have died out a long time ago if evolution were indeed true.

I am just having a hard time with the fact that the most important things in life leave you totally clueless. Parenthood is definitely not for the weak. You hear that infants shouldn't sleep on their tummies. But then when they start to roll over you can't prevent them from doing so and you worry endlessly. Only recently I read that by the time they can roll over they have the muscle strength to lift their heads if they should need to and sleeping on their tummies is perfectly okay. I was not the most worrisome of parents and actually allowed my kids to sleep on their bellies when they so chose, but imagine what this does to more concerned parents. We're so quick to hear what NOT to do, but for heaven's sake please keep us informed on WHAT to do. There could still be parents out there rolling over their teenagers for fear they could die in their sleep.

The rules change as they get older. Sleeping issues become a thing of the past (eventually, I'm told) and then it's feeding. There are choking hazards everywhere. I'd given my son a plastic knife to entertain him as I was fixing his plate one day and had a mom completely spaz on me. I guess he could stuff it down his windpipe, but I'd never thought of that before. I figured it was plastic, he couldn't cut himself. Or his hot dog for that matter. But we all know what a choking hazard a hot dog is.

By the time they're in school you're thinking that you're doing pretty good at this parenting thing. You've got them drinking out of cups, they're potty trained and they remember to say please and thank you sometimes. You're cruising along on the gentle wave of parenting euphoria when the tidal wave teen years comes crashing down on you. You are lost and adrift at sea, not knowing whether to lock them in their rooms for the next 10 years or let them out with a tracker in their pockets. You're wishing you were dealing with turning them over in their sleep and plastic knives at meal times. And wondering why on earth you ever thought that was difficult to deal with.

I remember how I whined as a child that my brother was so spoiled. (He is.) This seems to be a common thread among families. The baby always gets what he wants. I've figured this out. I used to think that parents were holding onto this one last child and cherishing the days because they knew it was their last chance to do right. He got everything he wanted because they had guilt for not dishing out on the first few kids. That is not the case, my friends. The sad fact is that by the time the baby comes along parents are too tired to fight him. They truly don't have the energy to say NO. After too many years of steadily losing sleep and worrying about every article you've ever read in parenting magazines, you're now gray and wrinkled and too tired to remember where you put your glasses.

Where did I put the instructions? Oh, that's right. Kids don't come with them. I wonder why?


Cecily R said...

Very well said!

I so want some instructions! Since all of my kids seem to have really different personalities from the word go, what works for one, won't work for the other. I get confused.

The fact that Isaac is floating closer and closer toward teenagerdom frightens the living heck out of me.

When it happens, I'm coming to you for advice. I'm just warning you.

Karen said...

Don't come to me! My daughter is fast approaching 13 and I'm scared to death. She's already breaking me in with moodiness, friend issues and the like. I need instructions!

Cecily R said...

Yes, but by the time Isaac is 13 (he's about to turn ten), you'll be an expert!

This summer my 15 year old niece came and stayed with us for a week. I learned some things during that time.

She was attending a youth group at the university close to us every day, and every night after I picked her up we'd giggle and laugh about boys she met and friends she'd made. I told her dorky stories about things like my first kiss and boyfriends. She talked to me about the boy who broke her heart last year, and the guy she had been flirting with all week at the conference--you know all the stuff you'd talk about.

I made a comment about how she must have heard stories like this from her mom, and she said no. She didn't know any of that stuff about her mom and her mom knew nothing about the stuff she told me (I asked my SIL when she called me to see how she was doing).

Their relationship is cruddy. They are always fighting, and don't understand each other at all. I'm not saying that it's the only reason, but it was a good reminder for me that if I want my kids to talk to me, I have to be willing to talk to them too.

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Karen said...

Cecily, that is so true. I'm working on talking more with my kids too. And talking to her as an adult rather than a kid. It's a hard thing to do as a parent. But it is certainly key to a more open relationship.

Catracha at heart said...

My 9 (almost 10) yr old daughter is going through the moodiness, hormonal stage. It is driving me NUTS!! I can't wait until she gets her first period so that instead of everyday all day hormonal craziness - I at least know when I can plan it. I used to want all girls - seeing as how my oldest is a boy and drove me nuts while young, and my daughter was so easy going.
Then I realized - all my girls will be hitting puberty one right after eachother, and my house will be the hormonal house from hades. AARRGGG - what have I done, LOL.

Patriot said...

Cute post! Makes me a little nervous about having kids some day - but I know that God will provide!

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Kari & Kijsa said...

So sweet....we agree....where are those instructions...we ask ourselves this many times!

Thanks for the laugh!

smiles, kari and kijsa

Michelle said...

so true! I wish there was an instruction manual some days!

Shellie said...

Very very true! My parents had 9 kids. My dad said by the last one he'd figured out we were going to do whatever we dang pleased no matter what he said or did, so why bother? Every time something happened with the baby brother, He just thought, thank goodness this is the last time I have to go through this stage! Parenting teens is not for the faint of heart, but I actually like it more than a roller coaster ride most of the time.