When the going gets rough at being a Mom I try to put things into perspective. I do this by imagining myself on my death bed. I imagine looking back at my life and the things that I might regret. If I imagine that I will regret it then this indicates to me that it is not a good decision. If I imagine that on my death bed I will look back and smile then I trust this is the right answer for me.
On my death bed I will regret snapping at Jack when he is whining. I will regret asking him to wait while I do a meaningless chore. I will regret the feelings of burden. I will regret getting irritated when he did not want to go to sleep. I will regret circumcising him. I will regret not bringing him into bed sooner. I will regret not wearing him during his first few months. I will regret the induced birth for no good reason. I will regret bringing him into this world in a hospital. I will regret how heavily medicated we both were when we first met. I will regret the bassinette, the swing, the jumperoo, the stroller, the formula. I will regret listening to doctors, mainstream media and books over my own instincts. I will regret not having Jack at a younger age.
On my death bed I will not regret holding Jack so much. I will not regret the late nights running through the halls when everyone else slept. I will not regret the hours of nursing and rocking in the sling that it took to get him to sleep. I will not regret the sore arms and tight neck. I will not regret moving to the suburbs and giving up the conveniences of city life to give Jack a yard, a better school and a slip and slide. I will not regret late nights, early mornings or napless days. I will not regret the burning in my stomach from horsey rides. I will not regret the tears, heartache and anxiety of getting started with breastfeeding. I will not regret ignoring the cultural norms and allowing him to wean when he is ready. I will not regret the family bed that we share until he says he wants his own. I will not regret quitting my job and going broke. I will not regret that the nursery turned into a storage room. I will not regret taking the bus so he did not have to cry in the car seat. I will not regret the food and the pee ground into the carpet. I will not regret rearranged furniture so that his play area can be bigger. I will not regret answering every one of his cries. I will not regret the chaotic schedule so that he can explore his instincts. I will not regret fighting the urge to do chores so that I can lie with Jack while he naps. I will not regret the hard work on myself so that I can be as gentle a Mama as possible. I will not regret not making it to our destination because Jack explored his world while walking down the street. I will not regret giving up the late nights with friends, the drunken stupors, the hangovers and the cigarettes. I will not regret that dust that grows on my high heels, short skirts, tight shirts and bras. I will not regret embracing a more natural life style. I will not regret the meals on the floor, no TV and cold tea.
When I started writing this I thought the two paragraphs would be equal in size. As I sit here I realize that I can go on and on with this second paragraph. But I’ll stop for now so I can snuggle with Jack as he sleeps. And I won’t regret that either.
Abby Theuring, MSW