By Amy McCollom
You don’t need a college degree to become a mom, but it sure would make the job easier, I think. Especially if that degree was in child psychology, with a minor in stress management. I’m not going to lie; being a mom can be really hard.
Babies are more than little dolls to cuddle, keep clean, feed, and dress up. Losing sleep and changing diapers is the easy part. Raising toddlers is like owning pet monkeys. They don’t like wearing clothes, they can escape out of playpens, baby beds, and small cages, they tear the labels off of canned goods, they bite, and have been known to throw poo. My aunt had a pet monkey, in case you were wondering where I got my comparison, plus I have had seven toddlers myself. (FYI, they asked to be put in the cage, it was their idea.)
Moms give up a lot to have kids; their flawless tummies, their time, their energy, sometimes their careers. We also give up owning nice furniture, matching coasters, unstained tablecloths, nice painted walls, anything made of glass, and wearing white. I know, some moms vow it isn’t going to happen to them, but it’s a lot easier just to give up now and save yourself the frustration. Being a mom changes you into a different kind of human being.
From your first naked visit to the obstetrician, your child is going to embarrass you. You might as well get used to it. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you will not like being a mom. If you can’t handle body fluids, you won’t like being a mom. If you can’t take a joke, well, you get my point.
That sweet perfect baby will turn ten years old and ask you in a crowded doctor’s office what a uterus is in a very loud voice. Your beautiful baby girl will turn 5 and run back to daddy after a bathroom break at a restaurant and announce to everyone along the way, “I pooped!”
Your three-year-old will set off the building alarm by opening the door that says “Alarm will sound if door is opened.”
Having nearly raised seven children, (I still have two left in school), I have seen pretty much everything. I can’t legally practice medicine, but I know how to stop hiccups, remove cockleburs from hair, remove barbie shoes from noses, can help soothe a tummy or earache, and can tell if you have a fever just by looking at you. I’m not a veterinarian, but because I’m a mom, I have performed CPR on wild baby rabbits, baby birds, dead hamsters, goldfish, and teddy bears. It’s just what you do.
I have also attended to a blind toad, who survived and was henceforth named Davey Jones and lived a long and prosperous life with his wife ChiChi, another wayward toad. I have played nurse-maid to injured snapping turtles, feral cats, and other assorted creatures that the kids have dragged home. (Sometimes literally dragging them home.)
Maybe my ways were unconventional, but one thing my kids will never be able to say is that their life was boring. We have had every kind of bunk bed configuration known to man, they had tents in their rooms, I let them eat watermelon with straws, and they had all kinds of pets.
There were always tons of kids around, too. We didn’t have the biggest or best house or the greatest swing set or even video games back then. We just had kids, and that was enough to make other kids want to come over. My kitchen and living room was always crowded with kids, the Kool-Aid pitcher was always needing re-filled, and I kept busy baking cookies and sweet breads to feed the herd.
I would “cook big” to feed the masses and it would be common to have ten or more kids at my house in the summer from 8 in the morning until 10 at night. There were some kids that I sort of took on as my own for a while, as the need came up. I was glad to be able to do that.
I remember we had to get The Great White Van, a 12-passenger monstrosity that came in handy when the last of the seven kids came along, due to car seat restriction laws. It was the only vehicle big enough for us all at the time. We managed. One of our kids suggested getting everyone orange jumpsuits for our next family vacation so they would all look like prisoners, but John said no. Spoil sport.
If I were asked advice on how to be a good mom, I would say this: Make your child respect you. Do not let them tell you no. Learn to snap your fingers in a way that they will recognize it across an auditorium. Stand firm on your rules. Never let your child hit you, even if playing. Kids will copy you, so act like you want them to act. Teach them about Jesus from day one. Have fun with them. It’s ok to change your mind. Hug them a lot. Never name call or allow them to name call anyone. Do not buy them things when shopping, no matter what. (Let them hold things, look at it, then put it back. Tell them straight away, you are not buying it, but they can see it. Trust me.) Ask for help, because being a mom is hard sometimes. Remember, you are still fabulous and always will be!