I love that store in the mall, Motherhood Maternity. You walk in and the clerk greets you with, "Welcome to Motherhood." It always takes me back and makes me smile. How theatrical it would've been to hear someone say that the day I stepped into the real life of motherhood. But nobody needed to say anything; reality was screaming it and has been every since.
I thought I was ready to get married and start a family when Toby asked my dad if he could court me. I thought I was. In many ways I was. I was good at what I did and compared to a lot of girls my age, I was more than good: I was experienced.
I could cook. I could cook without a recipe. I could cook meals and put them in the freezer. I could plan menus. I could by food in bulk. I knew the best prices. I could can the food I cooked. I loved cooking and baking.
I could clean. I could clean fast. I could organize and clean. I could disinfect and clean. I could bleach without getting it on my clothes. I could clean charred ovens by hand. I could clean toilets and loved it. I could clean grimy sinks and loved it. My two favorite things to clean were (and still are) toilets and sinks.
I could do laundry. I could run a top loader with a sud saver. I could run a top loader without a sud saver. I could run a front loader. I could do 14 loads of laundry a week in a wringer wash machine and then hang it by hand in the basement. I could make laundry soap. I could be frugal about laundry.
I could babysit. I could babysit for days on end by myself with no adults around. I could take care of kids without flinching. I was a natural with small children.
I could change diapers. I could change disposable diapers and cloth diapers. I could make home made wet wipes and use them. I could change diapers for years on end without thinking twice about it.
I could give bottles. Take temperatures. Administer breathing treatments. Look for good color in a baby's skin. Feed children. Garden. Farm. Milk goats. Sew. Quilt. Organize. Run a household. etc.
And then I got married. And had a baby. And I found I was a novice. Completely unprepared. I had no idea motherhood was as heavy a load as it is. Not that it doesn't have it's joys and blessings (it has more than I thought possible) but it is the hardest occupation anyone can pursue.
I had this comment in my comment box recently from a reader who's daughter-in-law is in the throes of motherhood right now....
"She had a problematic day yesterday. All was going well, and in 5 minutes everything fell apart. Is there a high school class for this profession?"
I couldn't agree more. There should be a class for it. Or an entire school. Or at least some time in a boot camp. Seriously.
If a man is going to cut into your brain, he will first go to school for it. If a woman is going to draw blood from your arm, she will first go to school for it. If a man is going to fly to the moon, he will first go to school for it. If a woman is going to teach your kids their ABC's, she will first go to school for it. If a man joins the army, he will first spend weeks of intense training before going into battle. If a woman is going to decorate your house, she will first go to school for it. If a man cooks you a meal at a fancy restaurant, he will first go to school for it. All these occupations require training, learning and provide the student with much information. They also usually guarantee some type of retirement so that in the end, you're prepared to live off your past income.
But, if you decide to spend the next 25 years of your life working night and day, everyday of the week putting on band aids, enduring pregnancy and labor, explaining to your 3 year old why the moon can't sit in the back yard, cooking three meals a day, taking care of your house, saving the life of your 2 year old five times a day and staying up most of the night with your baby, you're on your own. There is no school for you honey. If you can't figure something out, sorry. Just keep trying; you'll get it at some point. Whether you succeed or fail, you won't be paid with money either.
Though motherhood is not a job you can get a degree for beforehand, it's definitely a school within itself; the School of Learning. And we all know we can never graduate from Learning. From what I've learned though, it's the most rewarding job a mom can have. I'd have to admit that though Motherhood is hard and can be unsuspecting at times, it's highly under rated. You have no idea the joy at the end of the day when you look at the day behind you and see what all it held. "Her works shall praise her," is enough of a reward for me.