Wait a second… I remember now. I don’t have any rights as a mom. Perhaps from a legal perspective, but not from my child’s perspective.
The minute the tiny, screaming, red-faced loves emerged from my body I became “Mom.” Mom is a woman who has given up pretty much everything to guide these little ones through all of life’s trials and turmoils, and bring them through to the other side as good people who don’t rob banks or involve their family and friends in Ponzi schemes.
It doesn’t matter to the colicky infant that you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in six months, and there are so many bags under your eyes that you need a luggage cart to get them from place to place during the day. There is floor walking to be done and you had best be on top of it.
The whiny, sick toddler could not care less if you are covered in puke, and surrounded by 23 loads of dirty laundry. They want to be comforted.
As my children reach the ages of 9 and 11, their level of caring hasn’t increased all that much. I am frequently awakened by someone shaking my foot (the first part of me they can reach when they enter my bedroom) to inform me they can’t sleep, or they would like a drink but are too scared to go to the kitchen alone. My stock responses are “think of something pleasant,” and “we have a big, burly German Shepard, take her with you.” Of course, I usually end up rousing myself from my comatose state to follow someone into the kitchen for a drink of water and tuck them back into bed. Really, is it any wonder I am looking forward to the college years? Sleep will be mine again!
It is still incomprehensible to my son that I am rendered sleepless when he crawls into my bed at night because he is cold, or has had a bad dream. Who can sleep with 90 pounds of boy pushing them closer and closer to the edge of the bed until they are hanging on by one butt cheek.
The right to privacy has also blown out the window. You will never spend another moment truly alone until your kids have flown the nest. You don’t believe me? Just try sitting down in the bathroom for a few minutes of uninterrupted peace and see how quickly they start yelling “Mom, where are you?” That and the telephone are like a magnet for your children to start hunting you down like a dog in the night. “What,” they think, as if led by some extrasensory instinct, “mom is on the phone. She must be stopped.”
Each morning I gird my loins and prepare myself for the fact that my life is not my own. At least not for another 9 years, and even then I have a feeling this is the one job that never ends.