As this Mother's Day comes to close, I'm feeling so grateful.
I'm grateful to my mom and my grandmothers, who taught me so much about LIFE; and so much about how to be a mom.
I'm grateful to my son's mom, who taught me so much about LOVE; and so much about how to be a mom.
I'm grateful to my husband's mom, who taught me so much about LOSS; and so much about how to be a mom.
I'm grateful to my husband, who's taught me about all of these things; and the power of LAUGHTER. I feel like his singular goal in life (when it comes to me) is to make me laugh. He's succeeded - most of the time.
You might be wondering why I'm writing about my husband on Mother's Day.
Here's the thing...your perspective on motherhood is a little different when it 's something you have to work for. I never dreamed it would be that way for me, but it was. I can tell you the exact date I decided to become a mom (December 20, 2006) and the exact date I finally did (October 15, 2015).
That's nine years.
Nine years is a long time. It's a really long time when it's filled with a lot of regret and frustration and fear and anger.
I inflicted a lot of that on myself. I also inflicted a lot of it on Michael.
The funny thing is - he was kind of ambivalent about having kids. When we went through our pre-marriage counseling questionnaires, I ranked children as a 10 and he ranked them as a 3. It's not that he didn't want kids - he just didn't really care one way or the other. I, on the other hand, was a little obsessed. But I wasn't obsessed enough to place having kids ahead of my career. In fact, for several years after we were married if people asked when we were going to start a family I would roll my eyes and say, "Not anytime soon!" My response was largely based on the assumption that when we decided to have kids, we would. End of story. Or so I thought.
When we didn't get pregnant during those first several months of 2007, I freaked out. I knew something was wrong. Everyone kept trying to convince me there wasn't, but I knew. I knew, I knew, I knew....
I won't bore you with all the details of our trips to various doctors and fertility specialists and meetings with social workers and adoption agencies ... if you've lived this, you know how awful it is.
The thing that's standing out the most to me on this Mother's Day is the fact that for all of my longing and begging and praying and paying for motherhood, it's my husband who's spending the most time raising our son.
What?!?!? You may be thinking.
A few weeks before I went back to work I was feeling anxious. Not just a little stressed, but almost panicked about leaving Michael Francis in someone else’s care. I knew the daycare we’d chosen was a great place, but I was scared. I told Michael I felt like I needed to practice the drop off. "I think we should do a few run-throughs. Just to get comfortable." I barely got the sentence out of my mouth. "We're not doing that,” Michael said, shaking his head. I know I looked at him like he had three heads. "What are you talking about,” I sputtered, “What are we doing?!?” “He’s too little,” Michael replied, “I’m going to take care of him.”
And that’s how my hard-charging husband became a SAHD.
Maybe you're not familiar with the acronym. You might be more comfortable with SAHM.
Stay At Home... Mom or Dad.
If you'd asked me at any point during my relationship with Michael if I thought he would choose to be a Stay At Home Dad I would have started laughing hysterically. I mean, I always believed he would be an awesome dad - that's why I wanted to have kids with him. But a STAY AT HOME dad? Pfffffffttttt! No. Way.
Life is funny. A lot of things don't work out the way we think they will, or they way we plan them.
So every day when I go to Channel 13, Michael takes care of Michael Francis. He likes to say, "I traded business suits for track suits. I used to dress like a high roller, now I dress like my middle school P.E. teacher."
The most eye-opening thing to me during the past 18 months has been the way other people react. It's ranged from, "Reeeallllllly?!?!?" to, "So, he doesn't have a real job?" and even, "Must be rough!" Many of these comments have come from other WOMEN, a lot of whom have worn the title SAHM. I guarantee if someone had used these phrases to describe them, they would've been livid.
For some reason, people view men who stay home with their children in a different light.
One day we were chatting with another couple at the grocery store and they kept showering me with compliments about being a working mom. We explained that Michael is a SAHD, but they still kept saying to me, “I don’t know how you do it all!” We looked at each other like, “WTH?!?” It was as if they weren’t able to process the fact that Michael is the primary caregiver.
And he's damn good at it.
He's the one who gets up every morning. He's the one who changes the most dirty diapers. He's the one who deals with the most tantrums. He's the one who elicits the biggest belly laughs. He's the one who deals with all the of the day-to-day mundane issues of parenting when I go to work every afternoon and remain gone until 11 o'clock at night.
So, this Mother's Day I'm grateful.
I'm grateful for my incredibly strong, independent mom and grandmothers who raised me to LIVE LIFE. I'm grateful for the woman who raised my son and embodies unconditional LOVE. I'm grateful to my mother-in-law who has lived through LOSS, overcome it and raised exceptional husbands and fathers. I'm grateful for my husband who has dealt with every adversity with LAUGHTER.
Being a parent is hard. It is really freaking hard. It doesn't matter if you didn’t plan to have kids, if you’re people who planned every last detail of your pregnancies and the timing of your kids, if you've had to work incredibly hard to have your kids, if you’re young newlyweds or if you’re old like me and Michael. It’s just really hard. It’s also amazing. It's the most transformative thing I've ever experienced. I love it.
Michael said it best recently. “He changed everything. He changed our lives. He changed me the most.”
Happy Mother's Day.
Originally posted by Erin Kiernan via facebook on May 14, 2017