By Emme Beckett of Dry Shampoo and Advil
People think that I’m joking when I tell them that I hated my babies. I mean, of course I didn’t hate my babies, I just hated the person I became during those years. I hated thinking about how boring my day would be, and how tomorrow would be exactly the same. Yes, the love is intense, but the sheer tedium dominated those early days of motherhood.
My husband got snipped, so why the hell do I secretly wish for one more?
1. I want to experience pregnancy one more time. I might not have liked them when they were born, but, oh, I did love them when they were growing inside of me. I didn’t even mind not drinking! Well, I did house a whole six-pack of non-alcoholic beer at a BBQ once, so maybe I missed it just a little. I loved the rolling knobs and random jabs. I loved the trippy feeling of being so close to them, but not being able to see or touch them, but I loved them, yet I didn’t know their gender, but I knew that unlike friends, pets or even husbands, these babies would be in my life forever. Nothing in life compares to the acid trip that is pregnancy.
2. My first two kids turned out okay, I guess. I think my husband and I actually know what we’re doing. Our boys are funny, moody, silly, angry, curious, lazy, kind and truly a-holes only like once or twice a week. Good enough for me.
3. I know now to ask for help. Dude, why didn’t I do this the first time around? #helprules People love to help (in moderation) and people love babies (also in moderation). If I had my pretend third child, I would totally respond to this statement, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” with this reply, “Okay, thanks. Be here at 10 am on Wednesday. Plan to stay until around 12 or 1 pm. Bring me a coffee. And maybe like a meal or something I could heat up later for dinner for the fam. If we could make it a weekly thing, that would be great. Thaaaaaanks.” Help. Boom.
4. More kids=more grandkids. Believe it or not, I won’t always be this fine, ten-pounds-overweight, 38-year-old vixen you see today. No, my friends, this sexy bitch will be old and gray one day. Tick tock tick tock. A bigger family ensures a larger younger generation. That means a bigger audience to laugh at me while I lose my memory and tell stories of how much I hated my babies.
5. I want a re-do. While I don’t want to erase the two gems (see above) that I already made, it would be nice to have a blank slate, a tabula rasa, if you will (I totally had to Google that. I don’t use that term on the daily). Undiagnosed postpartum depression really screwed me up (ya think?) and I would like the chance to leave the hospital with the wisdom that I have now: Yes, these baby years are going to suck, but they will also be filled with wonder, discovery and magic. I didn’t see it then. But I see it now.
6. I would be able to filter out the whispers. “You’re going to breastfeed, right?” Shut up. “You’re not going to co-sleep, are you?” Go away. “Oh my God, please tell me that’s organic.” I can’t hear you. People and baby advice suck. But the hypothetical third time around? Talk to the hand.
7. It would preserve my older kids’ innocence a little longer. My boys grew up FAST. I know I kind of wished it, so now I’m coping by writing Top Ten pieces about fake third babies. But, they are only five and seven years old. Their innocence drips away with every new friend they encounter, or every weird family they want to join on YouTube. A new little baby of our own might recapture their pureness, or stall their innocence for just a bit longer. Or, at least until they click on the photo icon on my iPhone.
8. I miss the simplicity of a baby’s routine. I remember the feedings and the naps and the tummy time. I used to equate the mundanity of this cruel cycle to Chinese water torture. But now? Now it sounds delightful compared to the shit show of sports and homework that is just plain impossible to spin into anything that remotely resembles a routine. I know that you’re thinking that I’d be nuts to throw a baby’s routine into my current shit show routine. Fear not! My third baby is pretend and pretend babies sleep through the night as newborns, rarely cry, potty train themselves and even do their own laundry.
9. I want to be the older mom. There was an older mom in my boys’ preschool. I used to gaze at her with a look of confusion (Is she really the mom? Nanny? Grandma?), curiosity (Why is she so old? Infertility in her past? Just an oops? Been there, sister!), and admiration. The older mom holds a place of honor in younger moms’ eyes. The older mom seems calmer, wiser and WAY more patient than her decade-younger counterparts. Currently, moms who are my equals view me as just an f-bomb-dropping hot mess, typically with a hangover, trying to find someone to come over for a drink.
10. I want to really soak it in. Those baby years were so, so hard. How can I feel such palpable nostalgia, longing for a time when I was at my darkest? Because I forget the doom. I look back at pictures, even pictures when I remember I had been feeling despair, and all I see is love. I see an exhausted, young mom just trying to get by. I forget the doom, but I remember how their scalps smelled like toast. I remember going on walks and talking to them about everything we’d pass. I remember singing songs in the car. I remember allowing myself to put off anything if they unexpectedly fell asleep in my arms. Maybe I have been soaking it in all along?
I know I’ll never have my pretend third baby. Maybe my desire for one more is just another part of letting go. Maybe I just want to fall in love again. Maybe all moms wish for just one more chance. All moms except maybe Michelle Duggar.
This post was originally published on Dry Shampoo and Advil.
About the Author
Emme L. Beckett is on a constant quest to find out where her 20s and 30s went. She writes about her struggles with adulting on her blog, www.dryshampooandadvil.com.