Before I even thought of having children, some people around me who did would sometimes say things like, “You just wait until it’s your turn” if I heard a screaming baby. Or, “You think your child won’t act like that, but they will.”
Dude. I didn’t have children. I didn’t know if I ever wanted children. Sometimes those things were said to me when I wasn’t even dating anyone.
What I’m saying is, people began threatening me with motherhood shortly after I turned 25.
And let me just say — and I know this may make me sound like the most easily influenced person ever — but I took those threats seriously.
When you’re a 25-year-old, bar-hopping, staying-up-late, going-to-parties, wish-you-lived-in-new-york-city, sex-and-the-city-worshiping, career-minded, date-a-holic, having a new mother tell you that the kid that’s having a serious breakdown in front of you in the Target line is going to belong to you one day is frightening and not at all appealing.
It’s a threat.
Those three words, “You just wait,” are seriously scary. Picture Terminator Schwarzenegger saying it. Because that’s how it felt.
Fast-forward to I’m pregnant. That’s when the threats really ramped up.
People would ask me how I was feeling. I would tell them I was tired.
“Get used to it.”
“It’s preparation for the baby.”
“It will NEVER get better. It will actually get worse! Get all the sleep you can now before it escapes you…FOR-EV-ER.”
Okay, I’m already scared of being a new mom. I’m scared because I’ve never even hardly held a baby, much less fed one, changed one or tried to keep one from killing itself. And now I’m getting lack-of-sleep threats!
Where were the people who would make a sad face for me and say, “I’m so sorry. I hope you get rest soon. Ask your husband to pay for you to go to a resort where you can alternate between massages and naps.”
Why were all the people around me insanely honest?! I need more liars in my life. I would say I need more of the ridiculously optimistic, but those people get on my nerves.
I think the problem with being threatened before I was a mother was that I had no point of reference. I didn’t know that this screaming, sleep-stealing baby would be someone I loved more than anything.
No one told me before I had a baby that the good would far outweigh the bad.
I received no love threats.
No one said, “Oh you just wait — you’re going to love that baby so much you’re going to turn into mush!”
And the threats seemed to have lessened since I’ve become a mother. Maybe people know the gig is up and now I know the truth so their threats won’t work on me.
I think it’s also because it really does feel like a club. My friends have been crazy supportive. Even when I’m blogging about something dumb, my friends give good advice.
I think the 7 years of motherhood threats I endured before becoming a mom was hazing. And now I’m paying tons of dues. And my club shirt is any shirt that is covered in spit-up.
Now it’s much more likely that when I say something like, “I just realized there has been poo on my arm for at least two hours,” instead of a threat my friend will say, “Oh! That happened to me!”
And they may say, “You just wait — pretty soon they will smear poo on your walls!”
But now I know that I will still love that poo-smearing child, so it’s okay.
(But I’ll love him more if he doesn’t do that. You hear me, Tom?)