inside my mama heart: why i’m a mess

Do you remember this classic scene from Parenthood? One of my all-time faves. I was 15 when the movie came out and remember laughing so hard. But I thought it was over-the-top; that the little girl throwing up all over Steve Martin was just done for comedy’s sake. I never imagined at the time I would live out that scene countless times in my own life.

In fact, it happened again yesterday, at 3am. Tru started complaining of a tummy ache an hour earlier, so I climbed into his little car bed with him, hoping he’d fall back asleep. I rubbed his head, scratched his back, tried all my magic mommy tricks to soothe him. When he said, “I going to throw up,” I scrambled to get out of his bed, reached for him in the dark with hopes I could carry him to the bathroom in time. No such luck.

little boy sleepingI swear every particle of food he’d eaten over the past week hit me like a tidal wave; I was covered from my neck down to my toes. And I thought nothing of it. I got him to the bathroom, told him to wait there for a minute. I woke Brad up, telling him nonchalantly I was covered in vomit. He launched into action, getting Tru out of his soiled PJs, gathering all the bedding and starting a middle-of-the-night load of laundry. I sent middle-of-the-night texts, canceling the nanny and rescheduling meetings.

This is what we do now. With Ryder turning 10 this week (!!), we now have a decade worth of real-life scenes like this – and we laugh so hard remembering the most cringe-worthy moments of our own version of Parenthood.

Snot on our sleeves. Pee on the carpet. Poop on the walls.  My 15-year-old self would have been horrified to think this was my future. Heck, my 28-year-old, pregnant self might have been equally horrified!

But there is an indescribable seismic shift when you become a parent. Your heart actually aches with growing pains,  as an avalanche of new priorities replace petty stuff that no longer matters. Your brain feels like mush, on information overload. And your ego takes a beating, eager to be the best parent ever, but humbled to the core by a love you never could have imagined and constant reminders you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

I had lots of work-work to do yesterday – deadlines, calls and meetings. It all got pushed aside so I could care for my little guy, who spent 12 hours throwing up every 20 minutes. Stupid norovirus. And today we’re home again as he recovers. I’m helplessly behind. I desperately need a shower. And we’re now watching The Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas Movie for the 17th time. Kill me now.

Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I adore my work-work, but my most important life-work is raising kids who feel unconditionally loved and cared for. It’s the hardest job I’ll ever have and, believe me, I’ve threatened to quit a few times – which they always find hilarious. Because they know that know no matter what they do – including covering me in puke – I’ll always love them like crazy. Which, I guess, means I’m doing my job right.

*****

First Birthday Card for New MomsSpeaking of parenting, this card has been flying out of my shop lately. I don’t know how or why, but thank you! I love knowing lots of new mamas are being celebrated on their little ones’ first birthdays. And I’m thinking I may need to create another for those of us deep into the journey. Stay tuned…