Monday, December 19, 2011

Motherhood

Over the weekend I spent some time with an old friend who I hadn't seen since the boys were born.
It was... uncomfortable. This confident, powerhouse, working woman made me feel like total crap. While we talked in her home, I was constantly chasing babies away from doorways, book cases and outlets. My hair was pulled. I was distracted during our conversation. I was being pulled on, sat on, climbed on. I had soggy graham crackers smeared into a cement and on to my clothes. I had to constant repeat "No thank you, Micah. Grey doesn't want you to touch him. You need to be soft with your brother."
And these are all things that I'm used to.
No biggie. I have nine month old twin boys. It comes with the territory.

And yet as we talked (or she talked, and I chased babies) I could see her visibly losing respect for me. She had this pretentious, scornful look etched around her mouth and eyebrows.
And it hurt me.

I love being a mom. I am so, so grateful that I have twin boys and that I get to stay home with them all day every day. I do not regret - even the tiniest sliver of a bit- that I got pregnant and dropped out of college.
It was right, and I am happy.
And yet I spent the whole time we were with her feeling defensive and upset. By the tenth time that I picked up Micah and carried him away from the pile of papers that he wanted to rip up and eat, she had this raised-eyebrow look of horror. I don't know exactly what it meant, but I'm pretty sure it was some combo of "You're not even a grown-up anymore, you're an animal handler" and "Can't you control your rowdy children?" with just a dash of pity.

It pissed me off! "DO NOT PITY MY LIFE!" I wanted to scream at her. "My life is awesome!"
It was really frustrating. I've been lucky to have a lot of support from my friends and family when it comes to these babies, and since we live in Provo (Mormon central) there are rarely questions asked when people see a 22 year old with two kids.
I've never been asked if I'm the nanny. Everybody here has kids young, so it's the norm. With the exception of one mean professor -who would say things to me like "What will you do when your husband dies and you don't have a degree?" every time I called in with morning sickness and said I wasn't coming to class- even my professors were really understanding and helpful when I was going to class pregnant-like.
So this encounter was my first real experience with ... I don't even know what it was. Dislike of my children? No. That's pretty much impossible. Dislike of me, maybe. Disapproval of my life choices. Disrespect for what I'm doing, which -not to brag or anything-  is the most important thing to do in the world. The hardest job in the world. The longest hours, the biggest emotional strain, the most pressing, heartbreaking and wonderful job in the world.

And someone looked at me and didn't think that it was good enough. They thought I should be better than this.
More than this.
I can't stop thinking about it. It really cut me to the core.

I don't know. I'm mostly babbling. It's just really nice to have a community of people and readers and blog writers who know what motherhood is all about.
I love you guys.  Thanks for stopping by and not judging me.

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18 comments:

Tessa said...

I have friends like this as well, and it really annoys me. All they can see are the negatives of motherhood. They don't see (or understand) the 1234897654 awesome things that you get out of it, as well. In reality, I think they are the ones that will miss out. I laugh at the pity.

Liz said...

I have never commented before, but I regularly read your blog. So I feel weird coming out and saying something but I feel like I need to because (though childless) I feel like I have experienced pressure from many people who think that children should be saved for later, after I have "lived my life." I hate that way of thinking. I admire you a lot. I admire you and feel sad for the way your friend treated you. I admire you that you had the courage to do what you thought was right for you and your family with people telling you it was wrong.

Hold your head high.

Molly Scarborough said...

I wanted to comment because I know exactly what you mean. My best friend EVER is a super star. Not really, but she went on from college to work in NY and recently moved across the country (I live in GA) to LA and is working for Redbull and going and doing all this super stuff. I'm really happy for her, but I remember the first few times she came to visit, I felt like she was looking down on me because here I was ... her age, dropped out of college, and have a child.

There's a stigma these days with having children younger than 30-something. I'm all for everyone making their own choices - have your kids whenever you want. I just wanted them asap because I feel like being a mother is something that the Lord blessed me with. By no means am I the best, but it's my heart, and it's been my heart to have my own family since I can remember.

I don't really know what to tell you about the weird feelings. Everyone has their own outlook and opinions. Your friend doesn't have her own children yet so she doesn't understand. That's all. No one can fully grasp what it's like and how wonderful it is until they have their own. Pray. Just pray that God will lift you up and that one day, your friend might be blessed with the wonderful gift of children someday. She'll look back and admire you then.

Don't write her off. Have patience. Remember who you are and pray for peace. As cliche as it is, that's the best advice I can give!

Becky said...

People without kids cannot understand what it is like to have kids. They can't understand the joy and love of motherhood because they have never experienced it. They can't understand normal baby behavior because they have never experienced it.
Motherhood is awesome! I can't imagine a better job in the world (and I'm a working mom). I would love to be a stay at home mom and have spit up on my shoulder and be chasing my kids all day. You are extremely lucky. I'm jealous of your ability to be a full time mom.

Melissa Knott said...

I'm judging you. I am judging you right now. The reason I am doing it is not because of your "rowdy children"... if that's what that person called them. They are babies, give them a break! I am judging you because you are amazing! You are a wonderful mother that documents motherhood and allows the rest of us to be a part of it. Your awesomeness makes me want to have babies soon so I can be awesome too.
You take everything in stride and publicly learn, teach, and be merry (almost Christmas... I had to throw that in there).
You will always be judged. Unfortunately that is how the world works. (I would like to pre-excuse my language right now) Screw the people that judge you negatively and let the others appreciate you. Because you are Baby Making Becky and you are awesome. You have two handsome babies that you are teaching to be amazing people like their parents. If that isn't crazy cool, nothing is.
I am sorry you had that experience but remember, us readers, we love you and we love your babies. And we judge you too, positively. 10 out of 10. Winner in our eyes. Super Mom.

Melissa

Tanei Atagi said...

When I quit my job to come home, EVERYONE at work was incredibly supportive; but for some reason, I continue to have this feeling that working moms are judging me for my choices. In reality, I think some people do look down on stay at home moms, while others are jealous and just don't care. I know this feeling your talking about, and I hate it too.

I love my girlies though, and having worked the first 2 and a half years of my oldest daughter's life, I am so glad to get to be home with her and our new baby now. I don't regret having worked for a while. Though coming home was a bag of emotions for me, I know that going back to work would be too.

I decided a while back that the best moms just do whatever it is their family needs them to do. I may need to go back to work sometime, but for now my time is at home. We just have to remember that people are doing the best that they can and we should be supportive!

Love your blog, love the great people it brings together!

Kiley said...

Amen! That's all I have to say :)

Kristin said...

great post Becky. really. I remember being in 8th grade and my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a mother. And she said "what a pathetic waste of your intelligence and talent."

Since then, I've just braced myself for those who don't understand and remind myself that they really DON'T understand. Nor could they.

Our boys will be here in March and I can't wait to be able to walk the walk!

Julia said...

Poor Becky :( The only thing more stressful than trying to keep two (!) babies out of trouble at someone's house is doing it while they just sit and watch you disapprovingly. I agree with Molly, some people take a little while to adjust to children around if they don't have any. Maybe she'll loosen up.

Emily said...

I just want you to know that I read your blog pretty much every day, and when I'm having a day when I feel like I'm not a good mom or like people think I'm dumb for wanting to be a stay-at-home mom, I read your blog, and then I feel better. Thanks for being who you are and for sharing it with the rest of us. You are amazing!

Allyssa said...

Only thing I'd suggest, is have friends over to your place. Apologize (if you feel you need to) for the mess and then you won't have to worry about what the boys get into for the most part and you can relax and have fun with your friend...

I know I have no kids, but I don't pity people like you, I envy them. Our best couple friends have a 16 month old and a 3 month old and I've got the green eyed monster everytime we get together.

I guess it depends on the person. Some people have a set plan for their lives and want to follow it to a T. Some people want kids right away and some people never want them. I'd guess that this friend is either the first type, or the third type.

Don't worry, you've got a blog of supportive readers to listen to you vent about people like this.

Meriel said...

Ughh. I hear you! Too many assume getting married and having babies is "settling". My own sister has made comments like "That's ALL you want out of life? What about a career?"

I think your babies are AWESOME. Just saying. The pictures make my day (apart from looking at my own baby, of course :D ).

comparatively said...

Thank you for putting this in to words so well - I feel that almost ALL of my friends behave like the person you're talking about in this post when they see me with my fifteen-month-old son, and a big eight-month-pregnant belly. It's the worst feeling in the world for someone to sort of look down on you for doing, as you said, the most amazing and important thing ever.

I'd like to direct a few 'friends' here, because you've said it better than I ever could!

Anyway, you're a fantastic mama. Keep on keeping on.

kaylie jean. said...

I TOTALLY understand this. TOTALLY. We could probably talk for hours about this. I'm kind of surprised we haven't. You're amazing, Beck. I know you know that, because you've told me. Haha.

Someday they will understand how important the things you (and me, and all other mothers for that matter) are doing are.

Love you dear.

Suki said...

Really, what a pathetic woman she might be herself for judging you.
I think you are a rockstar for handling those wild animals, err I mean babies ;), all by yourself almost all day every day.
With my little one being born anytime soon I bet I would be really overwhelmed by having two.

RoseMN said...

Hi Becky,
I've been reading your blog for a while now because I felt a definite connection as a fellow Minnesotan and mother of (17 month old) young twin boys! I am sorry to say that I was your friend. I did look at women who couldn't wait to have kids and think "Don't you have anything better to do?" When I turned 30, I turned to my husband and said "I guess we should start trying to have a baby." Big sigh. We really like to travel and stay out all night and the thought of constantly being tied down was a huge drag. Also, neither of us had any real experience with babies, we would see them at family parties and out shopping and they seemed loud and messy and like a lot of work. I wasn't sure that we were doing the right thing, so then of course I got pregnant almost instantaneously with two babies. What?!
Anyway, how does any mom describe the absolutely insane love that she feels for her children? I truly feel like the luckiest mommy in the whole world. All those cliches that I used to roll my eyes at now describe me! I guess what I am trying to say is that your friend doesn't understand how amazing sharing your life with a brand-new person is. I know I didn't. I couldn't understand how all the work and stress could ever possibly be worth it. Now I can't possibly understand why we waited so long. Also, I worked full time for several years before the babies were born and staying home is hands-down way harder. I work part-time now, and I see work as a break. I get to have uninterrupted conversations!! I get to eat lunch whenever I want!! Everyone is potty-trained!!
Anyway, your blog is wonderful and you take wonderful pictures! I have no doubt that your life's work (your children) will turn out phenomenally with such loving parents as you and your husband.

romansmama said...

as a young mom myself of two boys, i can totally relate to this. i totally LOVE being a mom, and it's really hard that most people don't get it.

diana said...

I very much understand what you feel. What I do to avoid this...clash of life ways, let's call it, is to invite people over, not go to people's places. My kids are all acustomed with our home, so they don't act like free from jail, and people have this tendency to accept your/my way of living easier when on my territory. Or I feel much better like this, I don't know.