I had an interesting conversation with a Mama yesterday. She’s a waxing specialist and has a daughter who is eleven. For the sake of this post, let’s call her Wax Mama.
“How is everything?” asked Wax Mama.
“Fine,” I said, “Just busy as usual.” Somehow we ended up talking about the woes of parenthood. I have to warn you, the conversation was bleak.
Wax Mama said, “My daughter hears everything! I can’t have friends over because my daughter listens to every word. I can’t have a glass of wine at dinner because she doesn’t like that either. I can’t do anything around her. Girls are impossible!”
No wine at dinner? What kind of evil child would do that to her Mama? Thankfully, I have boys. They may be monkeys now, but if what everyone says about boys being easy later on is true, I’ll be fine. Someday. I think. I hope. Right?
I told Wax Mama that I heard girls are harder than boys when they get older. She agreed. Then she said, “But the boys…they grow up and leave you. ”
That’s crazy talk. My boys will never grow up. I will squeeze their squishy tushies forever.
I said, “My boys are such Mama’s boys. It’s hard to imagine them ever growing up. I can’t even think that far ahead.”
“Keep them close as long as you can,” warned Wax Mama. “Time goes by fast. They’ll be grown up before you know it, and then they’ll marry another woman and be gone.”
Then we talked about weekends. This, I could relate to. I told Wax Mama how exhausting the weekends are. “There’s soccer practice, swimming, chores, and dragging the kids around to run errands. There are no naps and no breaks, and even if we’re lucky enough to have a babysitter on a Saturday night, they still get up at 6:30 on Sunday morning. It doesn’t end until Monday morning.”
“Monday is the best day of the week,” said Wax Mama. “My daughter goes to school and I have Mondays off.”
“I love Mondays, too,” I said. “Mondays are like Saturdays for people who don’t have kids.”
Wax Mama said, “I see pregnant women all the time. They’re so excited about having a baby and I just want to scream at them, ‘Your life is over!’”
I told you it was depressing.
A few hours later, in Target, a young man and woman stood in line behind me with just one item in their basket – a home pregnancy test. (My basket, on the other hand, was filled with evidence of parenthood: Annie’s Organic Snack Mix, flushable wipes, and dish soap.) After my morning with Wax Mama, you might be wondering if I grabbed the test kit out of their hands, waved it in front their naïve faces and screamed, “Don’t have a baby! Saturdays will never be the same! Your life will be ruined!”
Instead, I was flooded with memories of all the times I drove to the store to buy pregnancy tests. I remembered the anxiety and excitement I felt about taking the test, the disappointment I felt when the test was negative, and the delight and fear that engulfed my whole body when the stick actually said “Pregnant.” I remembered how precious and delicate I felt, and I remembered the overwhelming sensation that everything was about to change. I remembered – despite my bitch-fest with Wax Mama earlier in the day – that being a parent is just plain remarkable.
Assuming that young couple in Target actually wants to have a baby (they were holding hands), they have many wondrous firsts to look forward to and experience before the reality of the life-long, self-sacrificing, and unconditional commitment of parenthood (and the end of Saturday as they know it) settles in. What do Wax Mama and I have to look forward to? Mondays. At least we have Mondays.