The Conundrum of Motherhood

It’s Mother’s Day in America, a holiday I often avoid. This sounds ridiculous if you know me -or, at least, know of my progeny. I’m currently carrying my sixth child. Most of the time, I raise five others. Even this far into the job, however, I dislike identifying as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one.

Still ridiculous, right?

This conundrum of thought, turmoil of inner peace, and mental confusion of purpose has haunted me since I first agreed to carry a child. I’ve had great support from my husband; that’s not the problem. I’ve had relatives agree with my familial decisions; that’s not the problem, either. I’ve had many women to look to as examples, who balance children and a career; which also doesn’t seem to be the problem.

The only conclusion I’ve been able to make is that I am discontent. Me, who can and does make children, is unhappy doing so. Ungrateful.

…which, I hope, has more to do with life plans contrary to domesticity and not with despising the progeny I’ve made. Although, we did discover, last night, that one of my children carved a hole in his bedroom wall in order to conceal a laptop computer. *sigh*

I just …thought I’d …DO something in life. Something important.

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My husband, and many others, say raising children is the most important thing. Logically, I understand that. After all, who will live on the world if not the offspring of those willing to make them? Just …raising children is not, personally, fulfilling to me.

In some ways it is -ways like teaching my sons to read. My heart swells whenever I see them sitting, intently, reading a novel on their own. Or, whenever I see that look in their eyes when they bake their own bread. When they score a goal on the soccer team. When they help each other and are happy.

On days like that, I love being their mother.

On other days, though; days where I’m stuck inside with only their brawlings and their dishes and their laundry and their holes-in-the-walls for company, my mental health takes a beating. I dip into a dark hole of regret, wondering where the light comes from.

So, if you feel similarly, I get you. In fact, maybe we should get holes next to each other and call out supportive aphorisms. Or, throw each other some chocolate.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with my working plan -that of keeping at this mothering thing and sneaking a few, me-time things in here and there. You know, like writing.

On that note, happy Mother’s Day. Right? ūüôā

©2021 Chel Owens

Early Morning Poetry

I woke, at three, as baby stirred;
The birds were no help, either.
My brain, a-swirl, my hunger roused,
I grabbed a jacket, cer’al doused

And here, I sit –
Or, rather, lay
And contemplate if that’s the way
To say that here I am, reclined,
When, still, my brain’s a racing mind.

For now, at five, as baby wakes,
And time’s flown by
While here, I lie,
I realize I’ll need to rise
Before the garbage truck arrives.

After all,
it’s near sunrise. ūüĆě

© Chel Owens

Late for Work

There isn’t time for smiling eyes and toddling legs; fat fingers grasping loose Cheerios.

There isn’t time for “Uh-oh” cups of milk -thrown, giggling, to the just-mopped floor.

There isn’t time for biting kisses, hair-ripping hugs, or I-got-your-nose-Mommy.

There isn’t time for all the ‘helping,’ all the sighing; all the crying.

There isn’t time for childhood.

So go to work. There isn’t time.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

What Pregnancy is Really Like

I remember my first pregnancy like it was over a decade ago. Mostly, I remember anxiety, confusion, surprise, and trepidation -besides feeling sick all the time, of course. I wrote a journal to my baby. Nearly all of the entries included, “I’m so nervous,” or “I’m not sure what to expect.”

So I picked up a copy of¬†What to Expect When You’re Expecting. From it, I learned that any odd ailment may occur in pregnancy and that my growing fetus was always a type of fruit. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean.

Really, though, for one as curious as I, that book and my laid-back OB/GYN utterly failed to help me know what to expect.

For there is no book that can give you the sensation of pregnancy.

It’s weird.

When you are pregnant, you always know there is something off about yourself. Videos of babies and children and young animals make you cry. Commercials make you cry. Dropping a cup of milk makes you cry. Not being able to think about sex because you are so sick and feel fat and your favorite chocolate bar tastes awful makes you cry.

Then you get some sleep and are sunshine and rainbows.

But… that’s for about two hours. Then you’re exhausted and dropping milk again.

If you make it to a little over halfway, the real fun begins. I referenced the movie¬†Aliens¬†in a previous post; because, at this point, you can feel the growing child inside of you. I explained the sensation to a coworker once: “It’s like you ate something that’s alive and it’s moving around.” If you’re that imaginative, the analogy works.

Now that I’m at hippopotamus size, I can literally watch my stomach surface undulate and jerk. Inside, meanwhile, my organs, lungs, and bladder get kicked, pushed, and butted against.

Pregnancy can bless you with all sorts of side effects like hemorrhoids, diabetes, high blood pressure, changes in saliva pH, swelling, nausea, dizziness, sudden paralysis of legs, hair color or curliness, tender women parts, nail and hair growth changes, spots, skin lines, breast enlargement and tenderness, loss of short-term memory, exhaustion…

It begins to sound like one of those new drug commercials, the kinds where you listen and think, Why in the heck would ANYONE take this medication??

I can’t speak for others out there, but I often wonder that about pregnancy.

Yes, I know this is my fifth impregnation.

Yes, I should have a good reason besides shrugging and saying, “Well, I suppose it was because I wasn’t doing anything else at the time…”

Because -yes, pregnancy sucks. Raising the children produced from pregnancy is difficult. Given my druthers, I’d prefer to selfishly play video games all day while eating a pan of brownies.

However, most employers won’t fund that lifestyle.

And, making kids is actually pretty cool. I remember Bill Cosby dubbing it “erotic arts and crafts.” Really, though, it¬†is. Every time we’ve gotten pregnant, my husband and I have speculated on how the kid will turn out. Will he have my dark hair or my husband’s lighter blond? My brown eyes or his hazel? Will he understand our jokes? Will he be creative? What sorts of dreams will he have? How tall? Cheerful or serious?

Will he like Firefly? What about Starcraft??

Even at almost five, we still have fun guessing.

So, that’s what you can take away from today’s lesson: pregnancy is weird. It’s full of many things you cannot expect. In the end, you get a tiny human that will be like you and your husband.

Yes, that means he or she will be a nerd like you.

Happy crafting.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Parenting: The Fine Line

I’m no expert at parenting. My life plan was not to be a mother; I use this as an excuse whenever raising offspring is difficult.

Still, I care about my kids. I care that they aren’t psychopaths or sociopaths. I care that they know how to cook, clean, and respect authority. They’ll definitely put the seat down.

Training my spawn involves a lot of strain, some of which comes from doubt:

Am I doing the right thing by making his friend send him home to finish a job?

Should I have yelled when my sweet, little pre-teen gave me attitude?

Was that too harsh to make him walk to school because he slept in and refused to get ready on time?

(In case you wonder at the masculine pronouns, I have all boys.)

I thought about the fine line of parenting today. I believe I thought about it the third time I prepared for vocal conflict with my most difficult son.

Me in the driver’s seat, patiently, “So, you threw the carseat into the back, yet say it’s #4’s fault because it hit his head before hitting #3?”

Him, mimicking my patient manner, “Yes. #4 made a dumb decision to climb over the seat. If he hadn’t done that, #3 wouldn’t have been hit.”

Believe it or not, this exchange went on for a good ten minutes. He refused responsibility for the thrown-carseat injuries; I refused to let him dodge said responsibility.

The Line here is Respect vs. “pick your battles.” Almost all of my lines are Something vs. “pick your battles.” My choice to engage (or not) goes back to that no-sociopath thing.

*Sigh*

I know not all of you have children -at least, not currently. Whether you have or not, have you felt the strain of walking a line? What did you choose? Was it worth it?

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Here’s what went down this past week:
Wednesday, October 16: Wrote “Where, Oh Where Should My Blogging Go?

Thursday, October 17: Throwback to my first post, “Hello, My Name Is.”

Friday, October 18: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to MagicQuill17!

Saturday, October 19: Announced the 48th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is the Old West. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 20: Shared Carrot Ranch‘s 3rd rodeo. Another one’s coming tomorrow!

Also wrote “The Wife Stands Alone” for Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge.

Monday, October 21: An inspirational quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Tuesday, October 22: “Since the Bombs Fell: One,” the first in a dystopian series.

Wednesday, October 23: Today.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Why Vacation if You’re a Stick in the Mud?

I don’t get out much. Maybe you’ve noticed.

When I¬†do¬†escape the dishes and children and laundry, my vacation destination is …Wal-mart. Ooh! Or Costco! Frankly, I spend enough at those, and the local Smith’s Marketplace, to cover a cruise.

Bu-u-u-ut the hubs and I made a goal to family vacay every summer. Sometimes it’s been camping. Sometimes it’s a cross-country trip. Sometimes we jaunt down to California for our every-five-years-Disneyland extravaganza.

Since I began this summer on bed rest, I had to put any travel plans on hold. Since we learned I was pregnant and needed to pay for removing our sweet, little parasite; we had to put our finances on hold.

I therefore booked a quick weekend away, using some reward points from the credit card.

I therefore picked somewhere not too far away but far enough to count as ‘vacation.’

I therefore booked a really fun hotel with a water slide and planned to eat tuna sandwiches.

I therefore demanded an oath of my husband that he would not point out any practical failings, metaphorically raining on our happy parade.

Problem is, I am an analytical person. I married an analytical person. We are both fairly practical as well. And critical. And, although I’ve been riding the Jaded Coaster since about age 3, my sweet husband got on and has been uncomfortably riding for over a decade now.

We made it to the second day before fighting about how the whole thing made no financial sense and we could be doing everything we were doing if we’d simply stayed home.

Fun times.

Which has since led me to ruminating about people and their vacations. For, of course one could save money, comfort, time, and hassle by staying put. There’s no risk. No bedbugs. No missing toothbrush. No change of climate or circumstance.

I’ve wondered a few specific things:

  1. Are vacations fun?
  2. Are they worth the cost?
  3. Are they worth the work?
  4. Is a vacation a vacation?

What do you think? What has your experience been?

 

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I wrote a few things this past week:
Wednesday, August 14: Shared some of my favorite funny pregnancy t-shirts in “The Funniest Pregnancy Tees.”

Thursday, August 15: Announced I’d be going off the grid for a family vacay. I haven’t really come back yet.

Friday, August 16: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Thank you so so so so so so so so so so much to Bruce for adjudicating. Congratulations to Mathew for winning!

Saturday, August 17: Announced the 39th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is vacations. PLEASE ENTER!

Also shared “Except for the Exceptions,” from a depressed mood during vacation.

Sunday, August 18: Nothing.

Monday, August 19: Enthused about receiving Stephen’s published book,¬†The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square (soon to be reviewed!).

Tuesday, August 20: “A Tick A Kick.”

Wednesday, August 21: Nothing. Tra-la-la.

Thursday, August 22: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Hotel For …Fun?,” “The Best Thing You Can Give Your Child,” and “There’s Nothing to Eat.”

Photo Credits:
Image by tim striker from Pixabay
Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay
Image by KRISTEN FOSTER from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

I Actually Won Something

Great news! I won second place for the poem I submitted to the Annual Bloggers Bash!

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…I’m a bit miffed that “Silent but Tardy” wasn’t a contender, but totally stoked that I actually won something! I’ve included the winning entry below, which I submitted from my motherhood site.

 

Five More Minutes

Five more minutes to sleep alone,
To dress in peace,
To check a phone.

Five more minutes to eat my food,
To eat it warm,
To eat it chewed.

Five more minutes to sit right here,
To read a book,
To disappear.

Five more minutes is not that long,
To feel the guilt,
To feel the wrong;

When

Five more minutes is what I seek

Five more minutes is all I need

Five more minutes, or maybe three,

Is all I long for, to just be me.

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Photo Credit:
Jordan Whitt

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Feral Natives

The small natives, unkempt and unruly, peer from a shadowed arch. They stop, keenly watching an inert female creature just ahead.

The first whispers, “What’s she doin’?”

His companion checks. “Nuffin’. Sleepin’, most like.”

Urrrrhaghaaah!¬†She moans. They scamper back to shadow’s safety.

“Did she see ya?” The younger sucks a finger.

A quick peek. “Nah. I think she’s fakin’.”

One second later: “Now what’s she doin’?”

He looks again. “Rolled over.” He scowls. “-Wait! I saw a light. She’s got her phone!”

“She’s awake!” Excited, the younger boy grips his brother’s arm.

Drat, she says.

“Let’s get ‘er!”

 

Carrot Ranch Literary Society Prompt

A Spoonful of Limericks

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A lovely new faucet and sink
Decided to drip through a chink.
“Look, ma: a pool!”
Cried the poor mother’s fool.
The plumber charged $699.

 

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“Who¬†did this?” Dad calls to the room.
The light’s on; he’s tripped on the broom.
His belts and neckties
Are knotted, mid-thigh.
Son says, “It’s The Fortress of Doom!”

 

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There once was a mother of four
Who never could sweep up her floor.
The clothes and the toys
Were stuck beneath boys.
Daddy wonders who taught them to swore.

This Blogging Thing

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Guess what?!

We are super close to my one year anniversary as a blogger. I’d like to thank The Academy, the search engines, my husband -but, really, all you people with eyes and fingers who help me believe that my writing’s worthwhile.

A year seems hardly that much older, yet I feel more comfortable about the whole blogging thing than when I first started.

I’m sure¬†you know the questions I had when first starting:¬†What if no one reads what I write? What if no one likes¬†me?¬†What am I going to write about every day? Will a talent agent ask me to publish right away, or do I have to wait a few months? What¬†is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

So, yes, I have learned the answers to these questions. The short answer to all but the last is that people will read you if you read them, and no one on this ole internet thingie gets anywhere without a lot of work.

As part of being all experienced and whatnot, I decided to create a WordPress site solely on the topic of the book I hope to one day publish: I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother. This, right here, is a self-promoting blog post to get you to check it out sometime.

….I’d better go write some more entries over there.

Until then; thanks again, and keep reading!