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Sunday, October 31, 2010

a (tired) ode to motherhood

Last night the hooligans were awake from 1-4am.

They are sick, so I am not really allowed to be grumpy about it. The poor little buggars were sick last week too though, got over it, and now fevers and raspy coughs. What the heck man?

I am not ALLOWED to be grumpy, but of course it still bites.

Especially when you are fighting off sickness too.

Because, you know how it is, mamas are not allowed to be sick. EVER. (Even if I shiver as I type, wrapped in a fleece bathrobe. I AM NOT SICK. I get freaked out at this stage of a sickness, - possibly even borderline hypochondriac - because you don't know how bad the impending sickness is going to be. The flu from hell? Or just a little sinus infection? Who knows. As a Type-A it's the not-knowing that freaks me out.)

And why can't you be sick? Because being sick is against the laws of motherhood. That oath you sign when your baby gasps its first breath and wails its first wail.

You. No. Longer. Matter. …well, not as much, anyway.

Priorities shift. Some more slowly than others but they do.

It's amazing how this happens.
At first babies sound fun and sweet and simple. Get a cradle. Get a sling. Get on with life. Right?


You bring the little bundle home, blinking and cooing at the new world, and you wrap them up and put them in their bed and you can’t sleep for fear that you will miss your cue to feed and the little thing next to you snorts and grunts all night and you lay your hand on their tiny chest and pray to God that they will sleep and that they will remember to breathe (and that you too will remember to breathe and also sleep.)

And you wake up in the morning and you do it all again.

And they start rolling and laughing and gurgling and you panic over falling down stairs or finding a penny in their mouths (or in their diapers!) And the joy and fun of it all astounds you from moment to moment.

And they start walking and the dangers of life multiply. And you hope to go out and have a drink with other adults but what if you miss something?

And then they start to play with other kids at the playground and a whole new world of parenting opens up. Negotiating these tenuous playground relationships, and with other parents too.

And the challenges multiply. And the need for other things in your life besides playdates and mac and cheese suddenly comes to a head and you try to do things to reclaim your sense of self. Yoga. Writing a book. Going back to work. Whatever it is. You miss yourself. You wonder who that self is.

But then you find yourself at 3am rubbing Vicks on your little man’s strong four-year-old chest. “Breathe baby, breathe.”

And then he rolls in a ball and nestles into your arm, his hot forehead pressed against your cheek, and you know.

Yes, I don’t really matter.

And you are okay with that.

And you are a mother.

P.S. and yes of course we are still taking them trick or treating because to keep them home would be cruel. Pics to follow.


  1. Great one, Sara! Gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes, I think that means I liked it! Have fun trick-or-treating and I hope you ALL feel better (even you my dear mommy friend!)

  2. Brilliant. And so very true. I hope health graces your home soon!

  3. better already this morning. now for mama to drink pots and pots of wellness tea and NOT GET SICK. :)


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