Spiders and snakes? Don’t bother me.
Going to the dentist? No problem.
Public speaking? My pleasure.
Becoming a mom? Scared me so much that just the thought would make me shake more than a belly-dancer in an earthquake.
I love our son, but I’ve had to work through (and am still working through) a number of fears that I’ve carried with me from my pre-motherhood days. I knew that there would be the so-called “joys of motherhood,” but I wasn’t to be fooled by this common saying; I’ve never been an idealist, and I don’t believe in sugar-coating the truth (it’ll rot your teeth). As far as being a mom was concerned, I definitely saw the sippy cup as half-empty rather than half-full. So what was I so scared of?
1. I’d be giving up my identity. I was haunted by these thoughts when I became a mom: Will someone raid my closet, throw out all of the cute clothes, and replace them with dowdy dresses, comfy pants, and stained t-shirts? What if I lose my sense of humor? Will I have to paint my house in primary colors? Will people still call me by my first name, or should I just sign everything with “Isaac’s mom”? Who am I??!!
2. I’d screw up my kid. Ted Bundy, the Unabomber, Charles Manson – you know what they all had in common?
They all had moms! As a baby, each was held by some woman (perhaps not enough) that looked into their eyes with dreams of what they might be someday. And then those dreams turned into nightmares! What if that’s my kid? What if my son turns out to be a serial
killer? What if he’s the gunman on the national news? What if… what if he likes Nickelback? AHHHHHHH!!!! The horror of it all!!!!
3. I’d be judged by other moms. I pictured the snickering girls from middle school now graduated out of training bras and into Baby Bjorns. “You let your son watch TV? Huh.” “You’re still working outside the home? Huh.” “Your family doesn’t eat organic? Huh.” *snicker, snicker, point, laugh* Then they’d slam their minivan door in my face and drive off.
4. I’d have to give up everything I enjoy. I knew that motherhood would come with sacrifices but would I ever get to do what I like to do? Would I eat at any restaurants that didn’t hand out balloons? Would the most exotic adventure I’d take be the African exhibit at the zoo? Would my DVR be set to record nonstop Nickelodeon? I pictured my life being packed up in boxes and hidden behind a toy bin. Sigh.
5. I wouldn’t like my kid. This one seems like a terrible thing to say, as we all like to think that everyone likes their own kids. Well, I don’t buy it. Though I was sworn to secrecy, I’ve heard people admit to not liking their kids. And we’ve all seen that one kid acting up at the park and thought, “Where is his mother?!” My theory is that she isn’t absent – she’s hiding. Would you want to be seen with that kid?
These fears embodied what I had always thought of motherhood – it was this vast unknown full of all sorts of painful and disappointing outcomes. It was life-sucking, soul-smothering, and I’d screw up my kid’s life while my kid was returning the favor.
But I’ve come to understand that while motherhood isn’t entirely a bed of roses, it’s actually more enjoyable than I expected! Do I dare say I like it? My kid is awesome, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I was able to keep my wardrobe (unstained, at that). Most moms have turned out to be supportive and fun. I’ve found new things that I like to do with my son (nothing beats snuggling on the couch), and I still get to enjoy some of my previous activities on occasion. And only time will tell if I screw up my kid, but should that happen I can blame it on nature vs. nurture – our son’s adopted. 😉
All in all, I’ve come to discover that I’m still me – just mom me (a preferable variation of “mommy”). So why do I bring this up? Well, I’m throwing this confession out there hoping that maybe, just maybe someone else can relate. Did you have any fears going into motherhood? Please tell me that I wasn’t the only one.