For my day of “working from home”, with the inability to get ANYTHING done except during nap times, I decided to catch up on many of my DVRed shows, 99% of which Dave refuses to watch with me. Since Owen can’t voice his disgust to me subjecting him to any more reality tv, I put on my number one guilty pleasure, Teen Mom, followed immediately by the incredibly awful “pregnancy pact” to get an inside (albeit fake) view into one of our local newsworthy events.
I have a special place in my heart for these teen moms. Not only do I have respect for them, but for the last 4 months of my pregnancy they were pregnant with me. Every week I would plop my fat ass down in front of the tv and relate to those poor teenage girls because we were pregnant together. We had that bond. I cried when each of them had their baby, and foresaw the struggles that were ahead. How excited was I to find out that after Owen was born, I would once again be sharing my new mom struggles with these girls, after all, the most difficult times were still to come!
I watch every week as these 4 girls struggle with school, work, family, unsupportive boyfriends, and this brand new life that they have brought into this world. I admire each of them for many different reasons, but mostly because I cannot imagine being in their shoes. Watching the “reunion” special from last night, I spent most of the time welling up with a tissue, knots in my stomach, not having any idea how they have survived their first year. I immediately followed the last show (what will I do without it???) with the Pregnancy Pact. A local story (Gloucester, MA) that was in the news recently, but not the reason I wanted to see it. Really, I can’t get enough about pregnancy. I can’t get enough about mom life and the struggles and joys that come with it. Obviously Lifetime took some liberties and created a story far more entertaining for the audience than perhaps was the reality, but I don’t care, it hit home…. It was real to me.
As I watch my shows I continue to tear up each time one of the young girls overcomes a struggle, or realizes the monstrous task that is motherhood. I watch these girls who’s lives changed before our eyes. I watch how they have grown up far faster than any of us needed to. I watch how they juggle everything that comes at them, and how each time, they seem to persevere. I see how mature they have become, and how everything could have been so different for them if they had made some different choices. But they didn’t, and now we’re all in that boat, struggling every day with things we know nothing about, things we’ve just been thrown into with little guidance.
“What’s the point?” you ask. The point is that I watch them every week and think “how do they make it look so easy?” Granted, there is a lot of editing, but I watch them get through so many obstacles and still manage to be good mothers. I struggle every day trying to find a balance between work, marriage, baby and life. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what I got myself into. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed that I can’t imagine making it through another day at the pace I’m going. I curse this life of never-ending chaos, bills, jobs, obligation after obligation (did I mention bills?) I watch these girls and admire how they’ve held it all together, mainly because they have no other choice, and because of their un-dying love for the children they have created. Then I wonder, “am I holding it together?” Is there going to be a point where I actually break?
Then the guilt sets in (why do I do this to myself?? Just don’t watch!!) How is it that those girls, 10 years my junior, can continue to chug along. Continue to persue their dreams with school, and work, and family? Continue to DO IT ALONE in some cases. Yet, me, someone who is older, wiser, richer, can barely keep going some days. Who am I to complain… EVER?
The truth is, I love every minute with Owen, no, really, even when he’s crying or up in the middle of the night. I love watching him grow, and smile, and learn new things with every passing day. I love his ability to fart at the most inappropriate moments. And I LOVE watching Dave with him. I love that all of my fears about Owen not having a father who is there for him will never come to be. I love our boring life, where we always have an excuse to stay in, yet are now at the point where we can get up and go at the drop of a dime (something that took a lot of practice). I love that we have the mom, dad, baby, 2 dog family that many people dream of, and that we’re getting to the point where we will soon be able to enjoy some of the money we make. I love that I have this ability to “work from home” even if most of my office knows that’s not what I’m doing. I love that I don’t have to put Owen in daycare because we have the most caring, giving family and friends anyone could ask for. I (secretly) love that Owen prefers me over anyone else. And I love how I am so blessed to have the best husband anyone could ask for, and the cutest darn kid you’ll ever see.
After all that mush love, I still find time to complain. Complain about how tired I am, complain about how busy every day is, and complaining about how yet again, we need to buy formula and diapers. When in reality, I have it pretty darn easy with all of the support that I have and the flexibility of my job. I have a relatively “easy” baby, and more importantly, he’s healthy. When there are girls out there like my “friends” Maci and Farrah who have far more to complain about, yet they keep going. I’m sure everyone has their bad days, and I’m not in any way saying I’m at a point of giving up. In fact, quite the opposite. I still enjoy being a mom, and still think I’m a pretty darn good one. But I have my moments, and today, while watching teenagers deal with struggles far worse than mine, after I have not slept a full night in about a year I started to feel bad for myself, as I’m sure we all do once in a while. And now, with a babe napping and lunch eaten, things are looking up, and the quiet moments and that smile I’ll see when he wakes up soon all make it worth it. No questions about it.