I know one mom that fits the description of ‘sane’. She is very cool, calm and collected, if you will. She’s a unicorn. All the other moms I know – myself included – are mad, absolutely nuts. Just so you know, this is not a judgment. I just want to let you know that you are not alone and it’s totally fine motherhood changed you. This is some sort of ‘OK’ for your own mominsanity. Because it’s not like we all have the same kind of crazy.
When I do a mental look-a-round at the moms I know, we all have our preferences when it comes to obsessions, irrational fears, erratic wishes, (lack of) boundaries and flaky ideas. Some I can relate to. Others I’m like ‘Yeah, I get where you are coming from (the place where you sleep 4 hours a night and are probably overwhelmed by hormones), but your cuckoo is not my cuckoo.’ The one thing that we all have in common is that all these obsessions, fears, preferences, boundaries and ideas are ignited by and revolve around the love for our children.
But just to be fair, I will start with myself. I will share with you some things people might judge me for, or have judged me for ever since I rolled into motherhood. I’ll try to be as honest as possible, so you will feel the freedom to let your crazy mama out of her cage as well. Because that’s another thing I’ve noticed. In this success-driven world, we often feel obliged to hide our deepest fears and feelings, just to seem normal. Because we are afraid that if we show our true selves we will be judged for them, not be taken serious and people will think we cannot keep up.
How motherhood makes me crazy
O, and just for the record. Obviously I think that everything you will read down below is completely normal and that I am well within my rights to feel and think all of these things. So yeah. There we go.
When I was pregnant, I had this fear that someone would come up to me with a knife and cut my belly. Maybe someone who was jealous or thought I was carrying Satan’s child. Busy places (like the train station I had to pass through every day to work) were difficult for me. Everyone who walked in my direction and looked dodgy or had their hands in their pockets… Like, I was prepared to go all Kevin Bacon on their ass.
When Isaya was born I did not want and still feel very reluctant to ,– even though we celebrated her first birthday a while ago –, let anybody babysit my baby girl. Nobody knows her as well as her parents and let’s face it, everybody else is just going to suck. Well except grandma, she is goals. No but seriously, I have nightmares about the things that can happen when someone else looks after my child.
“I will be walking down the street and I see someone handling a grass mower in a clumsy way. I imagine the knife comes undone, cuts the guys head of and the head will hit my baby so hard…”
Talking about nightmares, I have a lot. They’ve been here since day 1 and haven’t left me since: she falls out of a treehouse, she slips off a boat and disappears into the dark water, she tumbles down the stairs, her head hits a protruding nail, you name it, I’ve dreamed it. And it’s not like these disturbing images stop when I wake up. I will be walking down the street and I see someone handling a grass mower in a clumsy way. I imagine the knife comes undone, cuts the guys head of and the head will hit my baby so hard… yeah, I know it’s unlikely, but we are being honest here.
Same goes for around the house. When I leave her out of my sight a compulsive narrative presses play: “I just left the room for a minute to wash my hands and when I came back <insert your greatest fear>.” I can almost hear and see myself say these things to other people, like the mom I once saw in a documentary, who stooped over to tie her shoelaces and then the pram disappeared into the sea…
And then some other mamas who I have met along the way.
One mom thought somebody was going to steal her baby, because she was so cute (she was). The maternity nurse, the lady in de grocery store, grandpa, someone was going to take her for sure. Those were some restless days and nights. She is one of the smartest people I ever met.
Another mom was convinced something or someone was going to poison her baby. The dirty city air, the dirty supermarket, the dirty hands of people picking up her baby, everything was too dirty for her vulnerable little baby. She has the kindest soul I have encountered in a long time.
And then there was the mom who was afraid her baby would cry in public and she would not be able to calm her and people would judge her for it. She hardly left the house for the first three months of her babies life. She is such a beautiful, sensitive and considerate woman.
Just saying. Whatever your crazy is, you are not alone. The love that comes along with motherhood makes us vulnerable. That’s the beauty and the pain of it.