Happy Birthday, Mr. T
If I’m honest about how I got my start finding GRINs (and writing columns) I’d tell you this: Motherhood just about did me in. It’s the dirtiest little secret there is.
Motherhood—parenthood for that matter— is HARD. A lot harder than I ever thought it would be.
I cried every day for the first three weeks. We had a new business, a new baby, no money, and I was in constant pain from a back injury brought on by the birth.
I thought “I better start finding the funny in this if I’m going to make it.” Below is technically my first GRIN, written when T was six months old. By then, I’d gained a little perspective. The column, Parent Pathways, still runs in the Cary News.
Today, Tyler is 7 years old. Jerry and I look at him and know that he is the greatest gift we will ever receive. Happy Birthday, little buddy!
Those trying first weeks
By Christa Gala
I’ve learned more about life in the past six months than I did in four years of college and eighteen months (and counting) of graduate school. Namely, I’ve learned parenthood is hard. And not just hard, but positively hellish in those first few weeks. This is something they don’t tell you in the hospital.
Of course, now that my son is six months old, I can recall everything in a rather fond way, instead of sobbing maniacally along with a baby who won’t eat or can’t poop or seems to sleep only in seven-minute increments. This is what I’ve learned from my induction into motherhood:
- A good meal in those early weeks is defined as one that is actually fully consumed, usually in about 90 seconds, while standing over the sink. Also, there’s nothing wrong with everyone eating three times a day the loaf of banana bread your neighbor brought over. If anyone complains, you have the right to kick him where it counts.
- People with young infants frequently drive at excessive speeds. Now I know why. Simply put, driving around with a screaming newborn is a lot like having a lit cigarette shoved up your nostril—you want to get it out as soon as possible.
- I can sleep when I’m dead. This heartening piece of advice was gleefully given to me on Day 5 by my good friend with two boys under the age of three.
- In all likelihood, I won’t go to hell for hating the lying women who claim they wore their pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital, not to mention anyone who says they weigh less than they did before they got pregnant. For the record, those are disgusting statements, and we normal women do not want to hear them.
- Motherhood is a crash course in bodily functions, including, but not limited to, using a bulb-like thingy to suction snot from the baby’s nose, and describing to the doctor in amazingly creative detail, the color, texture and consistency of a daily poop—if you are, in fact, lucky enough to get a daily poop.
- The word “sex” is simply that—a word to denote whether a person is male or female. Any other considerations for the term are incomprehensible. In addition, both parties are generally terrified of the act that has now resulted in so much chaos.
On a more serious note, I’ve learned I’m not the worst mother in the world, and I’m certainly not the best either, and that’s okay. I’ve learned to let go of the guilt I often have about not doing something right or maybe being able to do something better. As my mother put it, Tyler’s stuck with me and I’m stuck with him. Someone put us together for a reason, and we’re just going to have to do the best we know how.
And nowadays, we all sleep pretty well, and I even wear makeup and wash my hair again. Dinners aren’t banana bread anymore, although I have to admit they’re not much better. Most of all, I’ve learned that Tyler is the most miraculous gift we’ve ever received. I am changed forever.