I’ve been struggling lately with my feeling of accomplishment. I’m not talking about the feeling you get when you clean the house, or tackle five o’clock traffic without road-rage; but the whole graduating college, or landing that big job you strived for. For some reason I had this idea that unless I’m June fucking Cleaver, I’m not an accomplished female.
When I was 24 I gave birth to a toddler. Ok, well he was 9 pounds 1 ounce and that is rather large for a first baby, and mind you it may have been the Epidural that clouded my image of what newborn babies should look like, but I’m fairly certain that they aren’t supposed to hold themselves up in those little plastic boxes that they stuff them in to weigh them.
I was a horrible pregnant patient. From my 7th month on I swore, everyday, that I was giving birth and was adamant that the hospital admit me before I single-handedly ripped every nurse and doctors a new mouth by way of their asshole. However 70 trips later and still not dilated to a 3, I was inevitably sent home to continue to try various techniques in an attempt to get this child out of me.
I tried everything from castor oil to stair climbing and still; my stubborn little boy would not budge.
For the past nine years, I have regretted not cherishing that calm before the storm. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me nor did I realize that being a Mom would be such a painful experience. I always heard the saying “It’s hurts me when you hurt”, but I had no clue what it meant, until I witnessed my son’s first fall. His first broken bone and his first hospital trip.
Granted, there were times where I contributed to his boo-boos.
I had baby gates strung all over my first apartment when he was just over a year old. I was rushing around trying to get dinner prepared while talking on the phone. I had a headset on my phone and he was following me around with my Tampax hanging out of his ear (I can only assume he was mimicking me) as he also had his baby monitor up to his mouth and was yelling “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah…” Annoyed by this repetitive noise I climbed over the baby gate to snatch the monitor away from him and remove the Tampax from his ear and he started crying. I hung up the phone and told him he couldn’t play with mommy’s tampons – they were not toys. I went to climb back over the baby gate and my knee caught him on the way up – there went my son, flying across the living room. I panicked with my leg in mid air and tried to reverse my motion, which caused me to fall flat on my face. I don’t even know how I got over to my son as fast as I did, but I grabbed him off the ground, extended him out in front of me and did the “mom inspection” and then pressed him close to my chest and collapsed onto my floor. I sobbed. I could not believe I had just kneed my son across my living room! Who does that?
I felt so horrible that I unwrapped a new tampon and gave it to him to play with in the hopes that it would cover up my guilt.
I’ve spent countless times wishing through his bad days that all I had to do was give him a Tampax to make it better.
As a parent, you want to coddle your child and hold their hand all through life to shield them from any immanent danger that may be lurking. I’ve learned the hard way that coddling at a young age, results in “Why is my son such a wussy?” in the long run. I’ve had to wing myself off of the urge to jump at the sound of every whimper and do the ol’ “Cowboy up” song and dance. As I’m trying to teach him to try harder, be tougher, pay attention, don’t interrupt, mind his manners and put the toilet seat down; I’m also teaching myself to be patient and he’s not going to know the common sense of a 25 year old at the age of 9.
I’m learning that an accomplishment isn’t measured by how big your house is or what kind of car you drive, but it’s measured by how great the hug is when your child walks through the door un-scathed and full of stories from his day at school. I’m learning that an accomplishment isn’t landing a six-figure income for me, but it’s knowing that even I can screw up as a young mom, and still fix it later on to help steer him in the right direction.
I’ve been consumed by the idea that I have to have something to show for myself. Well I do. I have relatively good health, and loving, caring fiancé who puts up with my chaotic mellow-drama, and I have a son that continues to lift me up, when I’m having a bad day. He’s come a long way from that short stubby little rug-rat that used to follow me around mimicking every move I made.
I’m doing something every day that never felt like an accomplishment. I, along with millions of other Mom’s out there, have the hardest job ever. There are no raises; there are no pension plans, or retirement benefits. I don’t have a 401k option nor do I get vacation or sick days. There is no interview process or probationary period. I don’t get to quit and I can’t get fired. I love my job, and even though I’m in constant training, I’m learning that it is a huge feat.
I am a Mom, and that is something to be proud of.