Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scared of Motherhood

The answer to your first question is, No. I'm not.

But I am a little wary of the eventuality. Yesterday I took Hugh to the Bean Museum on BYU campus for the afternoon. For those of you unfamiliar with the Monte L. Bean Museum, it is a place filled with stuffed (taxidermized) animals and fascination for small children. I should know. I was once a small child fascinated by the Bean Museum. It still holds a sense of nostalgia for me. The faint but definite smell of formaldehyde brings me way back. Shasta, the liger, the 12-foot Kodiak bear, the display of African animals with an enormous elephant as its centerpiece... Memory Lane.

How cool is that for a kid to be able to see these animals up close! Except that they're, hmm, dead. But no matter.

After we dropped Ellis off at school, I decided to take Hugh to the Bean Museum to kill part of the three hours I had alone with him.

Predictably (or not, because I certainly didn't predict it) at 3 in the afternoon the place was crawling with other pre-schoolers. Seriously. Way more kids than adults. I was suddenly immersed in a culture I had nothing to do with--and want nothing to do with for a while yet: the Mommy culture.

Now. I'm not denigrating the Mommy culture. In my mind, "the Mommy culture" is how we raise our children in a way that is best for them: we do things that will interest them, and not necessarily us (like take them to boring kid movies or the same museums over and over again) because they love it and it's good for them, etc. The "Mommy culture" is about living for your children. That's not a bad thing. I'm just not ready to do that yet.

But in half an instant, as I walked into that museum with my little three-year-old nephew clutching my hand, I became one of them. It was a weird glimpse into the life of women whose lives (currently) revolve around pregnancy and/or small, high-energy human beings. It was interesting watching these women summon up, from somewhere, the energy to be animated with their children. To be excited about frankly unexciting things. Like fur. To patiently ignore the little pettinesses of children.

I imagined myself being sized up by these women. What kind of "mother" did I appear to be to them? I didn't really care what their assessments were since I am not Hugh's mother, but I did find myself consciously trying to emulate more interest in little Hugh's childlike interests. I got excited with him when he pressed buttons that lit up displays; I played schoolbus with him in one of the little alcoves; and I watched 30 minutes of a nature documentary about a jaguar. (Actually, that was pretty interesting.)

Yeah, I'm scared of motherhood. I don't want to organize play dates with other moms' kids. I don't want to change diapers or sing the alphabet ad nauseum or allow my life to be consumed in the service of my children.

I speak of motherhood as if it were trial to be endured, a hardship. But I know it will be different when I have my own children, and I can slowly ease my way into the Mommy culture rather than be dropped headlong into it. Those of you who are mothers will perhaps look at me, or back at your past selves, and think, "I remember feeling like that, but so much has changed."

I expect my outlook to change. And I welcome it! But for now... I'm still scared of motherhood.

(Don't judge.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A random, disconnected update

Because I'm too lazy to compose anything nice,

1. School. It's going well. I've been doing a lot of soul-searching lately about whether or not I really want to be a librarian. There's a lot of crazy people in this world and most of them seem to want to congregate in libraries. Sometimes I'm too tired to deal with them. But then I have days like today, where I helped numerous Orem High School procrastinators get started on a book report project that is due tomorrow, and I had a really good time. I learned how to do my job better and i helped some cool kids in the mean time. I still don't know if I want to focus my studies on working in public or academic libraries. I'm leaning towards Academic, because i can go into Public anytime i want. The jury is still out.

2. Sandi. My mother-in-law. She came to visit for a few days and stayed at our place on our newly acquired (but certainly not new) hide-a-bed couch. I like hosting people, especially gracious guests who engage us in good conversation, buy us food and otherwise shower us with love. ("Shower thee people you love with love...") Travis and I often comment about what a blessing it is to get along with one's in-laws. I was genuinely sad to see her go.

3. Starcraft. Because it is late and I am writing this in a train-of-thought fashion (and Travis is playing SC the next desk over) I will just briefly mention that I am quite good at this game. I don't know if I should be proud or just sad. We'll go with proud.

4. Health. I contracted a disease over the weekend. you may have heard of it. It's called the Common Cold. It attacked my immune system with great vigor over the course of about four days, and then today, suddenly, it all but vanished. Good riddance. I am a bad sick person because I am so seldom ill. I get whiny and listless, and i don't eat very well. But this one knocked me out of commission for at least two of the four days, including Valentine's day. It wasn't a big deal. But it would have been nice NOT to have been sick on Valentine's day for the second year in a row.

5. Kids. I babysit Amanda and Curtis's kids every monday for about six hours. I've done it three times now and it is a learning experience each time. Babysitting has never been my thing, but I am learning a lot about myself and the kids, and discovering that--as with most things worth doing--Love is the secret to doing it well.

That's it for now. Maybe I'll write a book review next. Or a political treatise. Or a diatribe. Whatever strikes my fancy. Cheers.