Motherhood Has No Expiry Date

And you can’t return the “merchandise” even once it’s started to smell, which mine often does. No guarantees of quality (even now you could be in possession of a baby felon.) No money back, even once your kids have drained yours. And no coupons or free passes; you don’t stop being a mother just because the kids aren’t with you at this particular moment. Even when there’s a babysitter or another parent has them, they’re still yours, and so you will be worried about them for the rest of your life. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, no free rides, move along, nothing to see here…

There’s no statute of limitations on motherhood. You don’t get to stop worrying about your kids, no matter what age they are. There are many crimes that have a seven-year statute of limitations, and yet parenthood is a life sentence. Even some murder cases can be thrown out of court if the judge feels it violates the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. So you can be forgiven for murder, but you will never finish paying for that one little episode where his sperm did an armed robbery on your egg.

If I don’t worry and obsess about my kids I feel guilty. When I get a night off, or while they’re at school, even after I’ve figured out what dinner is, and who will pick them up, and done the laundry, and homework is done, and dog crap is picked up so they don’t step in it, and school has been volunteered at, I still find myself wondering “Am I doing enough?” Shouldn’t I be nurturing them more somehow? Do I let them play on the iPad too much? Am I neglecting them emotionally? Are they reading enough? Should my boys do ballet for flexibility, strength and gender sensitivity? What the fuck else can I do so that these children don’t grow up to be me?

There are so many lies you have to tell other parents to continue to propagate the human race. Mothers lie so smoothly to other women about labor (“it was fine, you forget the pain.”) Fortunately I had a C-section so I am not bound by that code, and I can honestly tell you it sucked and that if you didn’t get a baby at the end of it, it would literally be the biggest trauma you’d ever lived through. Although the second C-section was better, except that it was done by the same doctor in the same hospital less than a year after the first one so no one can actually figure out why it was better, thus no insight can be gained, rendering it a useless experience. (Again, if I didn’t get a baby at the end of it.)

People also tell you it’s going to get better, I always say it to parents of toddlers, mostly because I feel I deserve “extra credit” for not killing mine even when I had plenty of cause, and even opportunity. This is partially true however as it does get easier; once a child can at least walk by itself without every step being a chance to crack its head open, it does get easier for the guardian of said child’s skull. Also it gets better once the kids move out of the house. Or when you’re dead. Whichever comes first.

USE BY: 12/12/12

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