Today I was randomly thinking about how effortless I used to think it was to be a mother and how the stark reality of it startled and plunged me into a deep postpartum period for a very long time. I thought about what it is that makes it seem so easy to have children. Perhaps the images of a momma holding her beautiful smiling baby wrapped in a blanket, bundled in her arms. Or maybe because a lot of people are afraid of talking about their dark times. Maybe the toys and everything adorable about babies and children makes it seem like it's all fun times and laughter. But it so is not. And I had no idea about any of it.
I thought about that today when a sales clerk said to me, "Your baby is beautiful!!! You guys are so sweet together!" I remember uttering those exact words to someone once. Back then- when I was dating my college sweetheart- I would see mothers and babies and get all mushy and would fantasize with images of him and I playing house with our perfect little baby. Never in that fantasy did I factor in poop, drool or vomit because I didn't know they were factors!
I thought about that sales clerk later on in the day and wondered if I had given her that same false sense of ease about babies. That is the last thing I want to do for anyone (hence, this blog). In the end though, I kinda smiled about it even if I had given her that perfect image to hold on to in her head. It dawned on me that in a way all mothers make it look easy. We've all had time to practice; we've all had time to do the dance. We know when they're going to get sick so we can make a quick exit home. We know when they need a nap. We know when they need their binky. We know when they need to nurse. We know when they need to play. We know when they need a cuddle. We laugh in the face of sleep deprivation (er, most of the time). So, by the exceptional effort we make, we make it seem effortless. That's what we do.
We are mommas.