How Many Moms Does It Take To Raise A Child?

This posted was originally published on WorldMomsBlog on 04/04

Well, let’s see… So far, I have counted four.

First, there is robot mom. She is on auto pilot because she is up twenty two  hours a day, doing pre- programmed tasks such as: feed baby, burp him, change his diaper, rock him to sleep for an hour.

Repeat in a different order all day long.

Robot mom yawns all the time, does not shower every day, only wears PJs and looks like a zombie. Her conversations are very predictable, usually about substances coming out of the baby’s body – she is a little obsessed, one might say….

Robot mom runs on batteries. They are rechargeable with anxiety. That’s why she does not fall asleep standing up;  she is too busy worrying about the color of baby’s poop, or projectile vomiting. Yet again, it always comes down to something  smelly firing out of tiny little bundle.

After about six months, anxiety does not recharge the batteries anymore. Plus, the baby is exhausted as well from all the throwing up, pooping and screaming, so he starts to sleep a little. It’s time for mom number two to kick in: insecure mom.

Insecure mom deals with babies that sleep-ish up to eight year olds. She has no clue what she is doing, and is constantly reminded by her friends and family members. “You shouldn’t give him carrots at his age”, “Does she still wear diapers?”, “He is a bit small”, “How many? Only two teeth are out? It’s strange”, “Your daughter looks funny with so little hair”, “What do you mean he does not know how to read?!!”  And so on. Insecure mom is at her best with her first child. By the time her second child comes along, she has learnt to tell everybody to bugger off. She has realized that passed the age of five, kids do go to the toilet, so who cares whether it happens at two, three or four? She has accepted that she cannot stretch her kid to grow bigger, that there are no medicine to grow teeth, and that nobody wants to do hair implants on toddlers so back off, all of you!!

Insecure mom feels guilty about everything:

Guilty for the things she does wrong, like losing the plot occasionally, using TV to get a few minutes of peace, being caught saying “What the f@*&!” by her four year old, who then seems to only remember THAT word (never happened to me! Hahahah!!)

Guilty for the things she does right, like punishing them for being rude, using a firm tone when they spit their food back in their plate, and generally for being firm but fair.

And guilty for anything in between.

After a few years of not trusting herself but realizing that her kids are growing up to be fine, well adjusted and happy children, insecure mom leaves and in comes cool mom!

Cool mom is going to enjoy a few years of honeymoon. The kids are big enough to understand rules and respect, and they are starting to get it. They can express themselves very clearly, so unless they run to you screaming, there is really no need to panic. If you don’t hear them, they are likely to be mischievous, but they have learnt the difference between stuff that they cannot do, BIG NO-NO (like drawing on the walls with markers) and the stuff they cannot do but, “Meh!” (like playing video game with the volume off so you won’t know). If you hear them, just buy new earplugs! They’ll come and get you if they need you. They give you priceless, magical moments when they tell you about their friends, their views on life. Nothing is more enjoyable that this complicity between you and them. They think you totally rock, although please don’t try to hug them in front of their friends!

Enjoy, because this mom does not stay for long. After that, the kids become teenagers and mom has to learn to interact with aliens. Everything that you thought you knew about your kids is just gone. You have to start from scratch. The only thing you don’t have to repeat is potty training. But other than that, you will have to deal with tantrums and other toddler like behaviors: not sharing their toys (their car) with their siblings, refusing to eat, slamming doors, boyfriend / girlfriend issues (yes, toddlers have a lot of boyfriend / girlfriend drama going on!). Except, you can’t put them in time out or tower over them with your grumpy voice and your look-like-you-mean-it. I mean, let’s face it, they are a foot taller than you are… So you have to be cop-mom: lay down the laws, stick to the rules. And call for back up! Or maybe remote mom: move to a deserted island with your alien children until they become humans again. I have no clue, I am only entering phase three of my motherhood journey. That’s why phase four looks a little scary. But like with robot, anxious and cool mom, we’ll all manage when we get there. Because at the end of the day, we will do our best. And that’s the best we can do!

wmb nadege



artwork courtesy of Jake Nicoll

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