Before I began this journey of motherhood, I had no idea about some of the things that I needed to come equipped with. We all know about changing diapers, lack of sleep and kissing sweet chubby cheeks, but this is the lesser-known list of qualifications. So here is what I’ve learned in my vast 2 years of experience.
- You must be prepared to be quicker than quick, faster than fast. This is for those times when you’re changing your 2-year-old’s stinky diaper and your 1-year-old grabs it while it’s still open. Or when you set the jar of baby food down on the tray for literally 2 3/8′s second and your baby throws it on the floor. Or my personal favourites, when your baby makes a beeline toward the dog’s food laying in wait on the floor and somehow gets three pieces in her mouth plus two fistfulls of it before you can stop her. (That one happens on a regular basis.) The best one has to be when you turn around and the dog’s water bowl – which you carefully set just out of reach of chubby hands – has been dumped all over.
- You must have high pain tolerance. Your one year old may decide that chewing on your arm is a great way to show affection. What she doesn’t realize of course is that she has seven teeth. So, be forewarned. Oh and your hair makes a great thing to hold onto when your toddler is putting on her pants.
- You must have a sixth sense. It’s not enough to have great hearing. (That is still a great asset for when your 2 year old decides to raid the cupboard where she knows her beloved veggie straws are stored.) But the key is this: silence is not golden. Silence is dangerous. This typically means that your children are ripping toilet paper into tiny bits, your baby is stirring the toilet with your favourite pen or your Bible is being scribbled upon. Beware naptime, because that silence can be the most deceiving. This means your toddler is probably dumping the water from the humidifier on her head and consequently onto the carpet while you think she is sweetly napping away. Also, sometimes children can work together in this. One child demands all your attention so that the other one can be quietly feeding all her food to the dogs.
- You must not be easily embarrassed. It’s not just about dirty diapers, crying children interrupting sermons or nursing troubles. This is about when your toddler finds the box of nursing pads and empties it everywhere. Or when your baby finds a tampon in your purse and waves it around in a public place. This is personal embarrassment.
- You must let go of all sense of ownership. This is the ultimate Communist society. There is no longer any “my” toothbrush, “my” fork, “my” cup, “my” dinner. Your dinner is free reign to any children who may be in the vicinity. If mom is eating it, they want it. They will use their fork or even commandeer yours to sample what is in front of you, even if they have the exact same thing. As for the toothbrush, your toddler may use hers one day and decide she likes yours better the next.
- You must be a social person. This is because you will never be alone. Even using the bathroom becomes a communal event. It doesn’t matter if your bathroom is the size of a postage stamp, you will have one or more followers.
- Most of all, you must be ready to experience greater joy and deeper love. This will come when your toddler wraps both her arms around your neck and squeezes the breath out of you, when she is playing on the playground and loses sight of you and you hear her say, “Mama!”, when your toddler climbs in bed between you and your husband early in the morning and cuddles, when your baby lays her head down on your shoulder because you are the only one who can comfort her, when your baby grabs your face in both hands and gives you a slobbery kiss,when your toddler blows you a kiss or reaches to hold your hand. It begins when that squirming baby is first pushed into the world and grows exponentially moment by moment.
In all seriousness, motherhood is the greatest blessing and gift I have ever experienced. It sure brings a lot of comical experiences with it though! It is a privilege to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
(For the curious: yes, all of those things have happened or continue to happen to us. It adds an element of the unexpected to my day.)