It took me awhile to come around to the idea of having kids. The incessant screaming, the whiny "mommy mommy mommy" yanking on a pant leg, the ripping open the hooha and pooping on yourself in front of your husband and ten other people - none of this seemed like a party I wanted to join. Eventually I realized that, like those stickers that say "I love Jesus, it's his fan club I can't stand", I had less of a problem with the children themselves than their parents.
The snobbery. The entitlement. The self-righteousness. The dreadful clothes. The martyr-who-expects-to-be-worshipped-as-a-hero complex. The PTA clique made (makes) me want to hurl a stiletto at their unbrushed heads. Side note - why is your worthiness as a mother judged inversely with how well you've groomed yourself? How does taking a shower prove you don't love your child? My sister and I call these nasty women "Mommy-Nazis" and are they ever. Rachel's right, it starts in pregnancy. When one of the Parenting Police caught me eating a doughnut while 6 months pregnant, you'd think I was swilling vodka between snorts of crack cocaine. My insistence on continuing to wear heels into my third trimester was also derided, to the point I was afraid the nut in question was going to tackle me and physically force her hideous Crocs onto my feet instead.
As my due date neared, I was determined not to lose all human decency and hygiene and to fight the Cult of the Child no matter what. I have some great friends and family who have added "parent" to their identity without erasing everything that came before. I knew it could be done.
And then S. was here, and the whole world shifted. I remember crying in the doctor's office, telling her that I didn't want to leave the house because at least while sitting in my living room with S., I knew she was safe (I left that appointment with some very necessary medication). Every negative experience I've had flooded my mind and I stopped being able to watch the news, or hear anything about a child being hurt. I still can't handle all the evil out there - I just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head until I can find a way to protect myself and protect her.
When S. was a month old, J. and I walked with her over to a friend's house. It was twilight when we started back home and we were enjoying the warm night's breeze when I saw a shadow approaching. It was a boy on a bike, and I moved behind J. so he'd have room to pass. As he rushed toward us, I wondered why he wasn't moving to his side of the sidewalk, and then J. was jumping in front of S.'s stroller and yelling as the boy veered wildly to the side, just missing crashing into the stroller.
I'm a little hot-tempered (less so as age wears me out) and the flash of fury that came over me was overwhelming. I screamed hysterically at the poor kid, who was all of 13: "Watch where you're going! You almost trampled our baby! Asshole!" *Hangs head* I'm still ashamed of this Mama Bear behaviour and can only say that there's nothing like a baby to bring out the crazy.
People are so cruel and parents are the only soft place a child has. There has to be a way to show S. my unwavering love and support without turning her into an incredible brat and me into a Mommy-Nazi. And I'm going to find it, heels and all.