I started thinking about this today because I’ve been up since 3:30 this morning. There was a wicked wind storm last night, and my cats were freaking out, all kinds of stuff banging around outside. J went outside to check it out, and well, I’ve been up ever since – except for that slight twinge of sleep that finds you just as your alarm clock is going off.
So I’ve been up since 3:30. Tired. And I started thinking, ‘Hmmm, this is how moms feel every day.’ And that scared me. And then I started to think about other things that scare me about becoming a mom.
Actually, there are a lot of things.
I’m not pregnant yet, but I spend a lot of my time thinking about trying to get pregnant, getting healthier, charting every nuance of my reproductive parts.
But I don’t really think a lot about what it will like to actually be a mom. When I do, well, it scares me. I sort of feel like I am so far behind the curve for my age – to just be starting out? It feels overwhelming. I have girls who were my students with babies on each hip. These girls can run circles around me when it comes to adeptness with kids.
So, I’ve been making this mental list of things that really give me that panic-y feeling.
1. Not getting enough sleep. I know this is a fact. Moms, especially new moms, are tired all the time. It’s not just that I love my sleep (and I do); it’s that I need my sleep. I seriously hit the wall when I run out of steam. I can’t function. I am afraid I will be miserable (and miserable to be around) if I am sleep-deprived. I know that seems shallow and selfish, but I worry about this. Especially since, unless there is a financial miracle, I will still have to work. Moms – how long does this stage last?? I’m nervous.
2. Paying for child care. In a perfect world, I would be a stay-at-home mom and write. Again, unless God intervenes, I will have to go back to work. We do not live an extravagant lifestyle by any means – we have a small, 2 bedroom house; we drive a Jeep and a Hyundai; most of our vacations are deals we find on Expedia. Even penny-pinching, it is still so expensive to live on Long Island. Many months, it’s paycheck to paycheck. I know God will provide when the time comes, but when I try to budget this, I have no idea how we are going to pay for childcare. Neither of our parents live here anymore, so the grandparents helping out isn’t an option. This frightens me.
3. Finding appropriate child care. Paying for childcare is one thing – but good child care? Can ‘affordable’ and ‘quality’ even be spoken in the same sentence? It breaks my heart to think that, after all of our efforts, the majority of our baby’s time will be spent with someone else. As good as she might be, it’s still not us. That makes me sad. But even more worrisome to me, where is this affordable, loving, nurturing person going to come from??? Only God knows…
4. Doing my job. My job right now is so demanding. Contrary to what people think, teachers don’t have a cush job. We don’t get to go home at the end of the day or on the weekend and leave our work at work. It is always with us. I am always prepping, grading, researching, planning, designing; it’s just what a teacher does if she wants to be good. And I want to be excellent – for my students, for God, for myself. I don’t see how I can do what I am doing and be an excellent mom, too. Something has to give – and I don’t want it to be raising my child. But I fear that I’ll become second-rate at my job- or that I won’t be able to do it at all. Now, things can change…roles, responsibilities…but things as they are today? Yeah, don’t know how that would happen.
5. The impact on our marriage. I’m not overly worried about this one (yet?), but in being realistic, I know that adding a baby into our otherwise selfish existence could strain things a bit. I’m believing it will make us better and stronger. I’m believing our lives will change for the better. But even good change can be hard and stressful. I’m trusting (hoping, praying) that we’ve worked hard enough to create a good foundation to build on. Nothing like having a baby that forces people to grow up, right?
6. Our baby’s temperament. I’m not naive. I know a baby will not be all coos and smiles. I know that babies cry, they can be tempermental, colicky…they can shriek in a way that makes the hair on your neck stand on end. It can be hard to figure out what has made them so upset and uncomfortable. I get nervous when I think about myself dealing with this. What if I can’t get him to stop crying? What if nothing works? What if my beautiful pride and joy is a disagreeable little thing? Will I have the grace, the patience, the fortitude to deal with this?
7. Not knowing what to do. How will I know what he/she needs? Are the books enough? Will I grow into this role instinctively and will my motherly instincts just appear on demand – or will I be completely inept? I know this will be a huge growing and humbling expeience for me. I don’t like not knowing what I am doing! In my little kingdom in my classroom, I’m comfortable. I know what I’m doing; that feels good. I don’t like feeling inept and clumsy. So much to learn. I don’t mind learning; I’m just scared that my learning curve will negatively impact my child. I’m definitely at the back end of the bell curve.
These are my tired thoughts today. Even in my tiredness, I know that my fears do not have God factored into the equation. Really and truly, His involvement changes everything. I know He’ll provide. I know He will help. I know He will give grace, patience, wisdom and everything else we need.
But even if all of these fears came true? Our baby would still be worth it.
[Photo Credit: Wikipedia]