I very firmly decided my pro choice beliefs at the age of 14; however since becoming a mother those beliefs have become even more solidified. I will never forget being handed each one of my boys moments after their birth. I will never forget the overwhelming joy I felt, and it is because of these moments that I know that the decision I made all those years ago to support pro choice was correct.
Motherhood for all of its joys is not easy. It is not fun in the way that playing house was when you were a kid. When your child rubs an entire tub of vaseoline into your 50 pound beagle, someone has to clean that up. When you wake up at 2 am to find out that your 3 year old has turned your foot into a plate, and is busy eating ham and cheese in your bed, no matter how tired you are, you have to get up. When you hear the words oh oh from the smallest voice and feel an overwhelming sense of panic, you have to look, even though you really want to run away. For the record, oh oh usually involves something like shampoo being flushed down the toilet.
It's the little things like, looking around your house to find rocks everywhere because your child has developed into a real rock hound, and not wanting to squash the future geologist, or archeologist you turn a blind eye. How about those times you find yourself alone singing the theme from the wiggles because you have watched so many episodes it has become the sound track to your brain. Then there is realizing that Blues Clues the only show you really liked has been ruined because Steve has gone off to college.
There are also times when you find yourself at the dinner table trying to remember what it was like to have a meal without someone saying, "I don't like this", or my personal favourite "you know since people in Africa are starving can we ship it to them, they need it more than I do?"
There are duties that you will really wish to never do again, and this includes cleaning puke, and wiping noses and bums. Yes body fluids and children are generally speaking yuck. I have been pooped on, peed on and I don't even know how many litres of puke have landed in my hair. I remember when I actually owned white clothing, now when I purchase something I wonder how long I will be able to avoid a sticky hand print somewhere.
Then there are those magazines that tell you what a home is "supposed to look like" and you find yourself dreaming about not having an elmo chair that giggles and rotates as the centrepiece of your living room. How about discovering that your child has their own taste in decorating as they scribble on walls and peel and eat your wallpaper. No need to be on trading spaces with kids, they'll do the work for you.
There are also times when you will fantasize about the day when walking down your stairs is not going to constitute an act of bravery because of the toys left there; who knew breaking a finger could hurt that badly. How about learning that no matter how amazing the lego structures looks, stepping on one early in the morning hurts like hell.
The above are just a few of the adventures that I have had in motherhood, during the times I had to actually leave my secret shelter of sanity, the bathroom, which btw they will stand outside of screaming mommy until you want to lose your mind. The Calgon commercials lie, you cannot take a bath unless the children are sleeping.
Motherhood is not like a flowery hallmark card, and it is certainly not for the ambivalent or uncommitted. Children are not like a dress you can take back to the store if you suddenly decide you don't like it. Not everyone is fit to parent, or wants to. When I stand in the middle of the living room with my hair turning grey screaming. "there is no touching in this house, no one is allowed to touch each other" as I try to keep them from mushing each other, I understand why some people have opted out. Yes I could list them on ebay or craigslist and regain some sanity; but hey in this economy they have become my retirement savings fund.
My point in all of this is not to make my little guys seem horrible because in truth they're not. They are active engaged curious little boys who live their lives in high speed with me just barely hanging on for safety reasons. Since becoming a mother and realizing the work involved, I firmly believe that if someone is going to have to live through this insanity they should be able to choose it willingly, instead of being sentenced to it because we refuse to acknowledge how difficult it is. There is nothing natural about parenting; it is hard work. Now go and call your mother and say thanks for not listing you for sale in the classified section.