Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Mother of All Guilt

To All The Muthers Out There (You Know What, You Non-Muthers Chime in, Too, Because I Could Use All The Help I Can Get. It Takes a Village, Blah, Blah, Blah):

I never used to be a particularly anxious person. Holy mole-y (mole-y, mole-y, mole-y) has that changed. Don’t get me wrong. There have been plenty of joys since the arrival of our sweet Ava, but the worry and guilt have made me break out in hives. I’m not kidding. I’m pretty sure I’m just getting over my second batch of hives. Okay, I’m not an MD or a PhD, so maybe it’s some other kind of rash that definitely does not involve meth use, but nevertheless, it itches like a son of a bitch. I’ve gone to many stupid lengths to relieve this itching. I’ve even spread Desitin on my chest and shoulders, and if you know anything about that white pasty shit, you know it stinks like, well, white pasty shit.

Could motherhood* be the mother of all guilt? I don’t know if it’s because I became a mother later in life (aka on the doorstep of 40) or if it’s because Ava is adopted or if it’s because I haven’t slept much in the last six weeks or if it’s because I fucked up my first attempt at roasting pumpkin seeds because you’re supposed to do things like roast goddamned pumpkin seeds when you have a child or if the constant questioning and handwringing are just par for the course and I better get used to shooting bogeys. (Alright, that metaphor doesn’t make sense. Plus, I don’t golf, but a good portion of my family does, so that last bit is for you, good portion of my family who golfs.) You beginning to think I could use some therapy yet?


I think most of us could use some therapy, and again, I’ve never felt like the cliched image of me draped on a couch talking to somebody with wire-rimmed glasses about my childhood traumas was something I needed, but here I am. I am the woman who isn’t sleeping, breaking out in hives and crying during Young & The Restless (in my defense, they “killed” a little kid on that show a couple weeks ago). Shit, I just admitted I sometimes watch daytime TV. Fuck, I also admitted I slathered myself in Desitin. (You’ll be happy to know I’ve since upgraded to Cortizone 10. It complements the Colace in my Old Lady Medicine Chest.)

Is Ava eating too much processed food? Should Ava be watching Sesame Street or Sports Center? Why does Ava still have that cough? Does Ava have ADHD? How am I going to talk to Ava about her adoption? How am I going to talk to Ava about race? Is Ava too obsessed with my iPad and my iPhone? Why the hell have I encouraged Ava, my 2-year-old, to play with my iPad and my iPhone? Why won’t Ava just fake brushing her own teeth to make me happy? Will Ava’s hair fall out if I don’t braid it? Is Ava going to feel abandoned? When should we start potty training with Ava and how do we go about facilitating said potty training (e.g., throw a potty party, reward with M & Ms [which I'm pretty sure are the #2 choking hazard], allow her to run around naked and squat for the weekend)? Should I let Ava get messy more? Am I letting Ava get too messy? Should I have dressed Ava up in a better Halloween costume than a ketchup packet I bought on Amazon? Will Ava’s birthmother come looking for her one day? Will Ava seek her birthmother one day? Are Pop-Tarts a decent source of fiber for Ava? 

Okay, so this is a slight exaggeration, but a lot of these questions are real questions I really question myself about.  In the end, this post may be a sad excuse to vent or whine or appeal for sympathy or wish for a trendier anything. Then again, I think that sums up many blogs out there in that beautiful, flawed mother we call the world wide web. 

For now, if you’ve got any sage advice re: assuaging (or living with) momma guilt, please feel free to share it. Just don’t sprinkle in any rosemary. Because, according to my husband, rosemary OVERWHELMS everything. And being OVERWHELMED by bread is the last thing this mother needs. 

*Dads: please don’t get your silky briefs [or insert hipper undies here] in a bunch. Let’s just say that when I say motherhood, I mean fatherhood, or wait, parenthood. Yeah, parenthood. PC enough for you?

Say Cheese and Carry On.