Sunday, November 9, 2008


Life with children started nearly four years ago with the birth of my daughter, Marley. I wish I could say that my husband and I fawned and fussed over our beautiful baby girl, basking in the incandescent glow of parental love. But, the reality was we had a 20-something-year-old father not quite ready to let go of his pre-baby freedoms, a first-time mother embittered by sleepless nights and sore nipples, and an angry, angry little girl whose cry-of-the-valkyrie screams could send the most experienced yogi into a metaphysical tailspin.

My husband may have summed it up most succintly: "Man, I think she's super-cute and I sure do love her, but boy is she cramping my style."

So, there you go...parenthood -- and particularly motherhood-- is the ultimate tug-of-war between the selflessness of caring for your child and the selfishness of caring for you. And, let me be clear, just because you're a woman does not mean you're hard-wired to just give it all up for babies. It's a process. And, man, do you have to dig deep sometimes to get there.

But, before you go running to get the IUD inserted, or think I'm a cold, heartless mother that doesn't love her children, there is joy. The joy of my 10-month-old son reaching up to stroke my face and finding that sticking his finger up my nose proved much more interesting. The joy of my daughter singing "Tiny Dancer" with her dad in the kitchen while helping with the dishes. The joy of watching the two of them sleep, knowing you made them feel safe.

What I'm here to say, though, is that those joys come along with work. Hard, back-breaking work. If you have children, you know. If you don''ll see...

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