April 3, 2012

I Own This

Not to come across as some expert or some conceited bitch, but I own Mama-hood. Currently at least. ;)

I kind of always knew I would own it, too. Once I came to terms with actually wanting to have a child of my own.

I didn't wonder about much of anything during my pregnancy; I didn't get bothered when people told me to enjoy my sleep while I had the chance before the baby arrived (well I did because I slept like ass during most of my pregnancy and yes, I actually sleep better now thank you very much); I completely understood what everyone was saying when they told me to enjoy it all now because it all goes by super fast.

I knew all of this because I own being a Mama. And I own being a Mama because I fucking rocked at being an Aunt.

Not the same thing, you say? I beg to differ.

When my sister asked me to stay with her one summer between my first and second year in college to help take care of her kids, then 5 and 2, so she could work a ton (and apparently party a lot, too) while her then husband was training out of state, I agreed. I became AuntieMa. They didn't call me that, but fuck if I wasn't their Mama for three long months (to a 20 year old with no kid experience, three months feels like three years when it's just you and the two kids 24/7; to a 39 year old with a 2 year old, three months is n-o-t-h-i-n-g).

When I left, I was never so happy and never so sad. Those kids wore me the fuck out with all their crying and whining and not listening and doing exactly as I said the moment I said it. But as soon as I sat on the plane to return home, I cried- the really ugly cry- for the duration of my 3 hour flight home.

Fuck if I didn't miss the shit out of those two (now 25 and 22).

Then my brother, who came back from the Army and got married and had a kid shortly before I left to stay with my sister, moved nearby where I was living with my own Mama. So once I returned from my sisters, I'd visit my brother and his family all the time, and holy hell was that little boy a ton of fun... Till he started whining and crying and screaming about every little thing. They couldn't take him to restaurants- ever- because of how out of control he was.

And when my brother and his ex split, AuntieMa came to the rescue; I moved in with my brother so he could continue working the 3rd shift job that brought more money home, and I whipped my then 4 year-old nephew into shape straight away by yanking the TV out of his room and forcing him to listen to me by continuing to put him into time out one day.

Yes, one day. Getting used to going to sleep without his crack, aka the TV? That took like a full week and I'm not sure how the hell the cops never came barging in since it sounded like we were murdering the poor kid.

That's all it took for me to gain the respect of this child who, to this day (he'll be 20 very soon), respects me... but not many others (especially his parents).

I lived with that boy for four years and leaving him to finally start my own life... was the hardest, most gut-wrenching thing I went through (until I lost my first pregnancy 8 years later). I loved that little boy with everything that I was but I had to leave, I had to start living for me.

And I did.

And several years later I got a call from his mother that really sealed the deal: I OWN THIS.

I wasn't even a Mama yet.

She called me because my brother had moved to another state (something of which had I known, may have altered my leaving in the first place) without my nephew (not going there right now, eh) and she couldn't control him- my then 15 year-old nephew. He was constantly ditching school, smoking weed, starting trouble, getting caught by the cops, etc. And she had absolutely no control over him. (Never did. Ever.)

So she was calling me for help.

ME. Her ex-sister-in-law. The Aunt.

She wanted to know what she should do. He was threatening suicide whenever she'd try to get him to listen, he was becoming abusive toward her and her home.

So I told her what I would do, what she should've done long before that fucking phone call (I mean, really? You're calling me because your kid is threatening to kill himself. How about calling 1-800-SUICIDE?!): Call the cops and have him institutionalized.

And. Because I OWN THIS. She listened.

(Unfortunately for her and him, she didn't follow through, like always, and took his ass out of the hospital after a week, and the kid is now in no better shape than he was 5 years ago other than knowing not to threaten suicide again.)


The thing is, I did NOT always own this parenting thing.

I really didn't.

I didn't read any books or take any classes (though I've seen my fair share of Supernanny- holla!) to become this awesome; it's just something that's stuck with me over the years. Spending three months with my nephew and niece 20 years ago when I was absolutely clueless helped guide me to Owning This; it was a great place to start (and for sure it was by far the best form of birth control I've ever seen- not that I was in any danger of procreating at that time). And obviously four years living with and helping nurture a little boy didn't hurt my achievement of Owning This either.

But really it's my love for watching and helping a young mind learn and grow that's helped me the most. The kids, they rely on us completely for so long. We kind of owe it to them to Own it. I mean, if you're ready to have a family and purposely set forth to procreate, the least you could do is grasp the reality of what's going to transpire: that a child is going to depend on your every... thing... to survive and just OWN IT.

Own who you are: a Parent.

Own your parenting skills.

I'm not saying everyone should listen to me. And again, I'm not saying I'm some expert. I'm just saying that I OWN THIS. In my life, with my child and nephews and nieces. I OWN THIS parenting thing.

Do you?

25 comments:

  1. Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! That is the best possible way to say it!! Own it!! I am soooo tired of women asking me if they are bad mothers if they make this decision or that decision. THIS is what I want to say. There is more than one way around the parenting tree, but OWN IT. Know thyself and what works for you and then make it work for them. Powerful, pragmatic, perfect. Love it, Erin

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    1. oh thanks SO much for this comment. i was a bit reluctant to hit publish on this one b/c i really don't want to come across as some know-it-all, but i really feel that Owning it is imperative to the sanity of a parent. ;D

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  2. Make a decision and stand by it...one of the biggest challenges of parenthood for many. It sounds like you were the parent your nieces and nephews needed. Own it!

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  3. Well gee, thanks for that little BOOST o' confidence!
    "I own my mamahood and I ROCK at it." So there!

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  4. This is a FANTASTIC way to look at it. You knew what you were getting into! "OWN IT"! Great job!

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  5. I especially love this post as I'm an Aunt, but not a mom. I have a 21 yr old niece who talks to me but not her mother. I have a 10 year old niece who looks forward to spending 3 weeks w/me in the summer knowing she can't get away with the stuff she can at home (though, that said, she's a really good kid). I just spent a week w/my sister and niece for Spring Break and my sister is asking my advice. I definitely Own being an Aunt! I'm certainly no expert but I love them and they know it!

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    1. AWESOME. Your kids (i still refer to my nephew and nieces as "my kids" even though they're all mostly adults and not really mine) are sooo lucky to have you!! :)

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  6. Woohoo!! Love the feeling of power behind this post.

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  7. That is exactly right. The perfect way to say it.

    I own many things in my life. I own being a wife. I own being a mama. I own being a mean bitch if you mess with me or my loved ones the slightest bit.

    And right or wrong, failure or success, I own it all.

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  8. Good for you! I don't have kids, but that's the attitude I'd want to have if i did..

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  9. Yes! Own it. Take responsibility and do it well. Good for you! Well said.

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  10. Love this post! I own being a mama, love it with every cell of my being, and get very tired of hearing women complain about their kids. I have two and wish I had about three more, but I waited too long to start. Good for you!

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  11. Being an aunt made all the difference in world for me - it made me understand how much i wanted kids. Totally with you.

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  12. Good for you. You HAVE to own it. You just do.

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  13. Agreed. It may be the *only* thing I ever own, but dadding is it.

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  14. Damn straight, I own it, and I see no reason why you shouldn't be screaming that from the rooftops too! Way to go Christina, and how lucky for your extended family to have had you!

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  15. Yessirree...I try my best to own my parenting...the good and the not so good.

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  16. Good for you for owning parenting! I wish I could say that I'm as good of an aunt as you. My nephew is only 2, but one day, I hope he has the same respect for me that our nieces and nephews have for you.

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  17. Oh yes, I own it too. This is great!

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  18. I don't have children but I would like to think I would be like this too. Brilliant!

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  19. Love this. own it. claim it. call it.

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  20. I believe you, you own it...and you scare me ;)
    I'm still laughing at the institutionalizing..She should have made him live with you, that would have done the trick.

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  21. Well said - awesome - thanks for writing this!

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