Monday, November 7, 2011

It's been said a million times before - being a mother is a full-time job. Not only full-time...but constant. That is, it's an all-time job, really. No matter what, at any moment, those small little humans might call on you to fulfill a need that only you can answer. Sure, "it takes a village" and all that. Certainly, mothers are not alone in their parenting contributions. But, for most families, the mother is the one who pioneers the leadership in childrearing (lest we forget the most common of sidekicks - the handsome, handy, emotional-stronghold of courageous hunk of steel known as daddy - who can change a poopy diaper with the best of them - of which, in my household, I am most grateful). The the child "expert" if you will.I was pondering this thought the other day. I'm the mama. I'm supposed to know my child best. How does someone so small and cute bewilder me so much? Aren't I supposed to know what I'm doing with you?
In fact, it's often acknowledged that to become an expert at something, one has to have achieved at least 10,000 hours of experience. In a typical full-time job, this breaks down to around 5 years of working somewhere. BUT, in motherhood, the all-time would reach expert status in just over a year! Master. Conquerer. Super-hero-domestic-extraordinaire.
So, why, then, if I am such a "Matilda expert" do I constantly feel like a captain who is navigating a ship (a big ship) in a fog (a thick fog) with a broken compass (and no iPhone or GPS or treasure map or anything!)???

Oh wait. I get it. By the time I've reached 10,000 hours, I've become an expert at Matilda age 1. Now, with Matilda age 2, I'm practically starting over. The thing is, just when I think I have her figured out - she is no longer who she was! And what worked on "Matilda 2 years and 3 days" doesn't necessarily work on "Matilda 2 years and 8 days".
Okay, okay. So, there's no keeping up with the first kid. But, I do have a second daughter! (Hope!) Surely, having done this whole baby thing before I can cut some corners, gain some sleep, and tip-toe peacefully through teething and such. Right?

Oh wait. Daphne is not Matilda. "Daphne 3 months" doesn't match up to "Matilda 3 months". Though, my comfort level of caring for a baby may have grown, my expertise has not.
And yet - the scariest part of realizing that I don't necessarily know what I'm doing in this whole parenting thing - is that, evidently, no one does.

Don't get me wrong. I don't feel like a failure in the least (hey, I'm only 2 years in, let a girl enjoy the ride). I may not know why my daughter just tried to feed dirt to your son, and I may not have a clue why she smacks her head into the wall to get attention, and I certainly can't explain why she isn't scared of giant dogs that most likely see a cartoon toddler-pork-chop when they glare at her....sigh...but, I'm pretty confident that we're doing okay here. Again - evidently my parents (or yours or yours or even yours for that matter) didn't really know what they were doing with us either...and look at us! We're upstanding, law-abiding, bargain-hunting, blog-reading, teeth-brushing citizens, now aren't we?

But, it is scary to me sometimes to think that I am the one God has entrusted this little soul to. Privilege, yes. Terrifying, oh yes. She did not come with a handbook. She did not come with a set of rules. She didn't even come with a tag to tell me whether or not she can be dry cleaned. But, here I am - the Matilda expert. There is no one else on the planet that knows her better than I do right now. Wild. And the same goes for Daphne! Even in her littlest ways, I'm the one who knows how to tell if she is crying because she's wet, or hungry, or has another burp that would make any truck driver blush. And, if I don't know why she's crying - I guess! And when I'm wrong, I try again! And, evidently, I'm still the mother that is the best mother for her to have. Otherwise, I would've had your kid - (no, maybe not yours - I mean hers - the one that sleeps through the night. Yeah, I would've had her kid.) But, I didn't! (And thank heaven, really. Because I would've had to just keep calling you since you are the expert on your kid, after all.) Funny how that works.

So, there you have it. We're all experts on our own kids - and none of us know what we are doing.

But least the pay is good. ;)


  1. One of my favorite parenting quotes is, "There's a million ways to raise a kid & they're all WRONG." :)

  2. I love it. And this makes me feel a bit better about going into this the second time around ... still with no idea what I'm doing!! ;o)


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