Motherhood feels like heavy boobs, a full bladder, and hemorrhoids. It feels like bras that are too tight, hair elastics that are too loose, and granny panties that are just right. It feels like leggings.
Motherhood looks like blowing raspberries on your baby’s cheeks as he shrieks with laughter. It looks like pretending to gnaw on the bottom of his feet and letting him kick, kick, kick you in the face. It looks like holding him above your head, smothering his belly in kisses and letting him drool down the back of your neck.
Motherhood feels like sticky hands pat, pat, patting you on the face. It feels like tiny fingers scritch-scritching your ribs. It feels like razor-sharp baby talons scratching the moles right off your body. It feels like spending $400 to have the rest of your moles surgically removed by a dermatologist before you bleed out.
Motherhood looks like wearing the same baggy sweatshirt every day of the week. It looks like catching a glimpse of yourself in public and realizing your droopy maternity leggings are now completely sheer. It looks like a baby that could be a clothing model.
Motherhood feels like feeding and changing the baby, playing with him on the floor, putting him down for a nap, feeding and changing him again, playing with him on the floor again, taking him for a long walk, feeding and changing him, thinking it must be bed time soon, then looking at your phone and realizing it’s 10:17 a.m. It feels like yesterday you cheered for your baby as he lifted his head for the first time, and today you’re scrambling to stop him from climbing the stairs with his plastic guitar clenched in one fist. It feels like endless days spent teaching him to stand up, and crushing sadness when he finally does it.
Motherhood looks like shouting “Uh oh! Spaghettio!” and “Oopsiedoodle!” and “Hippity hop to the barbershop!” all day, every day. It looks like standing in front of the baby’s high chair, flapping your arms like wings and cawing “broc-broc-broccoli!” in your best bird voice as he eats his dinner. It looks like holding him in front of the barnyard animal decals in his nursery and whispering “cockadoodledoo!” before every single nap.
Motherhood feels like pining for all the carefree things you did before you had a baby, like sitting on a patio or going on vacation or going to a movie. It feels like planning to see a movie weeks in advance so you can vigorously pump your boobs with a hand pump, find a time your husband or your mother or a babysitter can watch your child, and select a movie that starts late enough that you won’t miss bath time. It feels like sitting in the theatre, a bag of popcorn in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, and wishing you were home with your baby.
Motherhood looks like eating half a McCain Deep and Delicious Cake straight out of the freezer at 8:45 a.m. It looks like drinking more water than you ever thought possible. It looks like finally getting the baby down for a nap at 2 p.m., heating up a frozen microwave lunch, eating it standing up while heating up another one, then eating your second lunch in the fetal position on the couch while watching the baby monitor.
Motherhood feels like your eyes are so tired that you can no longer wear contact lenses. It feels like your baby screaming with delight as he slaps your glasses off your face over and over again. It feels like giving up and wearing contact lenses at 6 a.m. It feels like impending blindness.
Motherhood looks like sweaty wrestling matches every diaper change, and your baby snickering as he crawls away, naked, with a turd stuck in his butt cheeks. It looks like baby shit smeared across your pants and forearms. It looks like letting your baby vomit avocado in your cleavage because it’s easier to change your clothes than his. It looks like all these things before 8 a.m., then giving yourself a whore’s bath with a baby wipe and still going to baby and me music class.
Motherhood feels like crying because you haven’t left the house in five days. It feels like your chest exploding as your baby goes “Bababababamabamab-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-BABA…MAMA!” It feels like black-out rage when your partner is late getting home from work, and reluctant joy as you watch the baby fall over with excitement when they finally walk through the door.
Motherhood looks like deleting all the apps off your phone to make more space for baby photos. It looks like weekly emails from Apple telling you your cloud is full. It looks like still not understanding what the motherf#cking cloud is.
Motherhood feels like a constant knot in your stomach from worrying that your baby will get sick, that your baby will have an accident, that your baby will die. It feels like obsessing that your doctor might have missed something when she says your baby is healthy at all his check-ups. It feels like your baby always has a fever, but the thermometer is probably broken.
Motherhood looks like rocking your baby to sleep and holding him long after his eyes close because his chubby hand is curled around your finger. It looks like spending hours stroking the downy hair at the nape of his neck and sniffing his head, which smells like baby shampoo, sweat and the strawberry puree he ate at breakfast.
It looks like standing over the crib, knowing you should put him down but instead swaying side to side, feeling his warm breath on your neck, and whispering “I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you so much, baby. I love you.”