Those of you who have children, do you ever feel like you haven’t quite adjusted to the reality of your lifestyle yet? I sometimes find myself looking at other families out and about and thinking how their situation seems so familiar and yet so alien at the same time. The parents look older, more responsible, firmly adult in some mysterious way; they look like members of some club I don’t yet belong to.

Can it really be that I am a person with two children? TWO? It seems like the strangest damn thing. My car is a shitpile of cracker crumbs, juice spills, and carseats, so it must be true. I don’t know, though, shouldn’t I know what the hell I’m doing by now? I kind of feel like I should have had to pass a test.

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alli
14 years ago

amen. I still feel like a member of the baby sitters club

Ami
Ami
14 years ago

I don’t have children, but I totally feel the same way about being married. I feel like we’re playing house.

Amy M.
Amy M.
14 years ago

Right there with you. Like someone is going to come up to me someday & say, “Oh, I’m sorry. There’s been a mistake. You’re not ready for these kids yet! Here, let me give them to a responsible person.”

And yet I find myself saying, “Feet on the floor, please. Put on your hat. At least try some broccoli!” When did my mom take over my mouth?

JennB
JennB
14 years ago

I agree totally… I used to look at people that “had it all together” and wonder how the hell they did that. I guess it’s all smoke and mirrors, no matter how old you get. Remember when you were in 6th grade and the 8th graders were so put together? Then when you were a freshman in high school the seniors seemed so mature, knowing what they want in life?

I look back at all that and just laugh myself silly now. No one knows (a) what they’re doing or (b) what they want in life, so we all just stumble along until we drop dead.

And thus concludes my doom for the day.

Trina
Trina
14 years ago

I am totally in your boat. I have 2 kids roughly the same ages as yours. The funny thing about our situation is, my husband is a really BIG guy and both his arms are covered in tattoos. When we are out without our kids, people who do have their kids with them clutch their kids hands and pull them in closer. When we have the kids with us, he doesn’t look so scary. But, I feel like everyone else has their shit together except for us. :)

Emily
Emily
14 years ago

I’m kidless too but I still feel as though I can’t possibly be 33 because a 33 year old would have certainly had to prove herself in some sort of battle or test of intelligence to get this far along in life. I must still be a kid, right? I can’t possibly be a tax paying home owning full-time working woman, right? Oh god I said woman. Yuck.

Carrie
14 years ago

Very true! I became a mother thru adoption, and I feel like one of these days, someone is going to come knocking at my door and demand the baby back because, duh! You’re not a mother! I’m certainly not old or mature enough. (Well maybe old, but not mature.) I know that I mortgaged our home, worked on paperwork for 8 months, and jumped thru one bajillion hoops to be approved to adopt but then again sometimes I wonder how this all happened. I wouldn’t change it for the world, of course, but sometimes it just takes me by surprise. You are not alone.

mandy
14 years ago

Me too. In a crowd of other mothers, for some reason, I feel like a child. You will get it, with practice and routines. Everything will fall into place. I still get giddy when I get to go somewhere by myself, it becomes a luxury. A nice treat.

kalisa
14 years ago

wait til you turn around and you suddenly have a teenager in HIGH SCHOOL. Then it really feels like you’re living someone else’s life…

She Likes Purple
14 years ago

You know, it’s funny. I don’t have a baby and my husband and I are trying (with some serious asshole complications) but it sometimes seems to me that all these families have this magic secret, they’re living a life I’ll never get (how it feels). They laugh harder, love deeper, have more fun, feel more grounded, etc. and so on. I have to remind myself that we’re all adjusting to our realities. We’re all living lives we didn’t expect. We’re all just trying to get by.

Carolyn
14 years ago

I agree totally. Also I have this weird thing where I think I’m much younger than I am(and skinnier, but that’s a totally different topic). I’m 37 but sometimes I feel like I can’t possibly be more than 29, and I don’t mean that in a “you’re only as old as you feel” kind of way, but more in a “i’m in denial that I’m an adult because I still don’t feel like one, despite the fact that we have a mortgage, two cars, two kids and a dog but can’t I just listen to Depeche Mode and make bad hair decisions sometimes?”

(I still listen to U2 but that’s a given because they simply rock.)

I’m always in awe of women that I meet that seem to wear motherhood like a glove, effortlessly gliding through days filled with preschool dropoffs, pto commitments, soccer practice and they still bring in perfect cupcakes and never, ever forget that it’s pizza day till the last minute when the bus is pulling up and they’re scrounging spare change from the couch cushions. But maybe they’re in denial too, just better at acting like they’re not.

I have a favorite line from Sex and the City that comes to mind whenever I think of so-called SuperMoms. The girls are at a baby shower and they meet a group of pretentious mothers whose worlds revolve around their children, and one says, “My son is a GOD and I tell him that EVERY DAY.”

Sorry to ramble–I guess I had more knocking around up there than I thought on this topic.

To sum up and in short…I agree. :)

Becky
Becky
14 years ago

I hear ya….I can remember when I was pregnant thinking..who decided we were responsible enough for this??? Don’t people know we are fuck ups????

And now I have gone from the gal that carried cash and cigarettes in her pocket (for bar hopping) to the gal that has a binkie in just about every jacket she owns….WHEN DID I GROW UP????

Caroline Bingham
14 years ago

Oh yeah. The best part? is that my little sister just got engaged, and my other sister graduates from high school this year, and I’m all, “No effing way! I just got married. I just graduated!”

And then I remember that no, I graduated almost a decade ago, and when I was my engaged sister’s age? I had already been married for three years and had two kids. sigh.

victoria
victoria
14 years ago

Two kids is much, much harder than one. Cut yourself some slack. Make JB take them in the evenings while you go for a walk or do yoga or whatever. Not to mother you but — you’re sounding really stressed out lately. Maybe hire some childcare as well, even though you’re on leave. You really need some time for yourself.

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

Yep. I look at the other moms picking up at pre-school and I think “Do I look like THAT?” ‘Cause in my head, I am still about 18 years old.

Kathryn
14 years ago

I feel like that all the time. And just to be a completely horrible bitch, there are many, many times when I feel resentful towards my new life because I miss all of the things I can no longer easily do. You know, like shower.

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

I agree with everything Carolyn said up there. I’m not a 31-year-old, 150 pound mother! I’m 25 and weigh 120! I didn’t graduate from college 9 years ago, it was just last month! It’s seriously like I went to sleep as myself and woke up as somebody else.

Leticia
Leticia
14 years ago

I still kind of feel like that. My last baby is 10 months old. I was looking through a photo album of his earlier days and I really felt like I don’t even remember living most of it. I was so paranoid about having 2 little kids 2 1/2 years apart and so overwhelmed with the enormity of it all that here 10 months have passed and I don’t even remember the first 3.

Even though we are slightly at a routine, it still feels like I’m running circles. When I see people out and about doing things with multiple kids I wonder how in the heck they do it…

sigh.

Elizabeth
14 years ago

I feel that way every day.

Canadian Coco
Canadian Coco
14 years ago

Linda… it’s an illusion for the most part. Granted there are always going to be families who really do have it more together than I/we do, but at this stage of motherhood (4 kids later) I’ve come to the conclusion that most of it is really just my mind decieving me… my own insecurities. I bet people think that when they look at us (I’ve been told this so it’s true), and you know, you just never know how things really are for people. Most people would never know how insecure I am about mothering for the most part, and the fact that I’ve battled depression for 13 years. Take heart, you’re doing just fine ;)

Sundry
Sundry
14 years ago

Kathryn: yes, resentful, I hear that. I keep wondering when I’m just going to be resigned to the up-and-down nature of parenthood and adjust my expectations accordingly.

Anita
Anita
14 years ago

You read my mind. I feel like this a lot. Some days I can’t believe I’m 31 and have 2 kids & have been married for 7 years! When did this all happen?? I feel like I’m barely holding everything together most of the time and doing a dodgy job of it all. I can relate to the previous commentor looking at the other mothers picking their kids up and realising they must look the same way. Isn’t getting older fun??

Zannah
14 years ago

It’s always so amusing to me when other parents say how calm I am with my boys especially when they are melting down. I snigger to myself because I know if we were at home, I’d be screaming my head off!

I don’t feel parenting comes naturally to me but nuturing does, make sense? But hey, my big guy is 10 today and wow, I’ve kept him alive for a whole decade and have yet to sell him to the gypsies! I must be doing something right.

Zannah
14 years ago

Um, while nuRturing comes naturally to me, spelling obviously doesn’t!

Squeeky
14 years ago

Oh man you girls are writing a book straight out of my head! I turned 36 last month and could NOT believe it! I mean, when did I become some married, station wagon driving, stay at home mom to a toddler? I used to shake my hiney with the best of them, until the wee hours, at dark little hole in the wall clubs, stumble home and into bed, wake up at noon, and then do it all over again the next day. And now? Well now I’m surprised if I make it through the first 30 minutes of SNL.

I realized the other day that at my age, my mother had 18, 16, and 14 year old daughters, me being the 18 year old. I can’t imagine having to help 3 teenage girls figure out their path in life, I mean I’m just now getting my poop grouped. Needless to say, I gave her a call and apologized. Just a general apology. She laughed.

Anyway, I have to second Victoria’s suggestion. I’m a daily reader and I can “hear” a little weariness in your “voice”. Maybe you can go get a deep tissue massage or take in a good horror movie, just find a little you time in there somewhere.

G
G
14 years ago

I think that the constant adjustment to all the life changes motherhood brings is the biggest identity shift that happens in adulthood. I feel like becoming a mom has changed so much about who I am, my perspective and priorities and I have to remind myself that this is the new “normal”. There is no going back to what life was before (good, bad, or otherwise). And on top of it all, were all so freakin’ busy and fatigued, and so hard on ourselves, that it is hard to be honest and connect with other moms who feel the exact same way. (And its not like we get time off to process what it all means and let our inside life catch up with the endless motion of outside life) We’re all checking each other out at the playground, the way we used to in class or at a bar, and measuring ourselves against some idea of perfection that doesn’t exist, imagining the other person’s life is easier, that they had no problem getting out the door with hair done and a clean shirt on, when I would imagine this whole mothering young children thing has its challenges for everyone crazy enough to do it. So, um, yeah, I feel ya…

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

Oh yes.

I recognize this. What is this club? How did I get here? Who am I? I have two WHAT?

Andrea
14 years ago

I’m newly pregnant with my first and as I look around at mothers around me efficiently and calmly taking care of their kids; I laugh to myself because there is simply no way in hell I’m going to be capable of mothering a child. I’m really hoping it just “happens” because I really don’t know how to mentally prepare for it.

Pete
Pete
14 years ago

When I see ‘Adults’ with kids I always wonder if they are as anal at home. If I can’t make my kids laugh several times a day I feel like I have failed. ;-)

PS I don’t think you ever feel like you know what you are doing.

Joanne
14 years ago

I just had my second and I can never believe that they’re mine. Also every other parent in the WORLD seems like they’re better at it than I am.

renmen
renmen
14 years ago

I only have the one baby, but I feel exactly like this every single day… I can’t even imagine doing this with a toddler around too. In fact, when you said you were pregnant, I started looking to you to see whether I want to even consider having another one (since everyone says “oh the 2nd one is easier”) (liars!). Anyway, I think I am kind of getting my answer right about now.

Ingrid
Ingrid
14 years ago

Linda, I think that every person feels this way at some point or another. I have a 22 year old son and it amazes me to no end because… wasn’t I JUST 22? I mean, that was yesterday, right? So no way could I be my age – this is all some kind of weird joke. Surely I woke up in someone else’s life…

pippa
14 years ago

I actually looked at my mother one day and asked her if she was as absolutely CLUELESS as I am when she was raising me. She claims she was.

I still wait every single morning to wake up and realize I’m still 19 and this was all a crazy dream, because you magically turn into an ADULT before you have children. And I haven’t gotten there yet.

Christina
14 years ago

I feel this so hard I could have written it.

Val
Val
14 years ago

I think you are just taking the test. The results of the test are if the children live to adulthood and both you and children are sane.

Melissa H
14 years ago

Yep and yep and yep. Seriously, who is this adult with the kid and mortgage?

Heather C
Heather C
14 years ago

My husband and I just bought our first home. We stood there, in the empty living room, and both of us were thinking the exact same thing: “What the hell?”

I don’t feel mature enough. I work in a bookstore, wear Converse every day, and have a Captain Jack Harkness action figure on my desk. I’m afraid one day the Powers That Be are going to realize they made a huge mistake.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

I feel exactly the same way.

Sundry
Sundry
14 years ago

Heather: I have a Captain Jack SPARROW action figure on my desk. Is that worse? No, here’s what’s worse: I WANT THEM BOTH.

Violet
14 years ago

I have no idea what the hell I’m doing over here. I mean, sometime I look at the kids and I realize that I’m *totally* making shit up as I go along. Everyone else seems to be a REAL parent and I’m.. this girl-chick-woman thing with a bunch of midgets following me around asking me to solve all of their problems and help them understand things and, HELLO, I just ate an entire stick of pepperoni because IT WAS THERE so how can ANYONE expect ME to be in charge?

Jennifer
14 years ago

My problem is that when I look around I feel like everyone else is doing it right and the Walrus and I should be made into a macro with, “ur doin it wrong” stamped across our foreheads.

Deep down I know that everyone has problems and issues and what have you, but it seems like everyone handles it so much better than I do. You, for example, look like you have it completely figured out! And Swistle! God! She completely amazes me.

Hopefully someday someone will look at W and I and be rendered green with envy at our (seemingly) awesome parenting skills when we are really one toe over the line into Crazy Town 99% of then time.

Teralyne
14 years ago

I guess it don’t matter what age you are it still feels the same like it is not real. I have two kids all grownup and have begun the grandma part of my life and I still feel like ha if they only knew how unlike an Adult I feel on the inside. I get my two grandbabies (one 2 year old one 7 day old) every Sunday and it still amazes me that I am allowed to have them all by myself.

Janet
Janet
14 years ago

I have two teenage daughters. One is 18 and the other is 13. I have no idea how it happened either but somehow we’ve managed to raise them without killing or (completely) damaging them. It seems like just a few days ago they were still little kids…

Also, I never felt like I fit in with the other moms. For some reason I just wasn’t like them, they knew it and so did I. To this day I still dread any kind of interaction with the PTA moms. UGH!

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

Seriously. How am I supposed to BE the mommy when I still NEED a mommy sometimes! I still haven’t quite gotten over the fact that there’s no summer vacation anymore, and it’s been 19 years since I had one. Adulthood blows. That’s what I’ll tell my kids when they’re about 13 and itching to be older than they are.

dorrie
dorrie
14 years ago

Dude, I can’t even believe they let me take them home from the hospital. FEELING YOU

laura
laura
14 years ago

all the freaking time.

sometimes I have the feeling that one day I will wake up and I’ll be back in my old, childless life. the reality of the situation being forever changed hasn’t yet sunk in, and it has been 2.5 years. sometimes I think I need to get my head checked.

Nancy
Nancy
14 years ago

Yup, I know.

DH and I were talking about this other day. You spend x amount of time trying for a baby, and then you have 9 months to get ready for the reality. Then suddenly, here’s this person who you know you love, but you don’t *know* them. It’s so surreal to be so totally in love with someone you don’t know, and when you’re now 100% responsible for their wellbeing. Freaked us out x2 with twins.

Swistle
14 years ago

Ha ha! Yes. I’m feeling particularly weird as my children get into the ages I CLEARLY REMEMBER. My oldest is in 3rd grade—but _I_ remember 3rd grade. Wasn’t my mom…OLDER than this when she was going to parent-teacher conferences? Wasn’t the TEACHER older? I don’t feel TALL enough to be The Mother.

For me, I think it’s a perspective problem that flickers in and out. For many, MANY years—the FORMATIVE years—we were in the “child” generation. Now we’re in the “parent” generation, and sometimes I remember that and sometimes I don’t.

willikat
14 years ago

i was telling my mom that i felt like a teenager still, even though i’m on my way to 30. and she’s in her early 60s, and she said to me, “Katie, I still feel like a teenager, too.” I guess that feeling never leaves anyone.

Kristin
Kristin
14 years ago

I feel like this about being in a relationship and doing the grown up parts of that. Am I really sitting with his parents? Will they really be my in-laws someday? I feel like I should still be in junior high passing notes, not doing grown up things.