Friday, May 6, 2016

_The Hancock News_ Column--May 4, 2016

Motherhood is not what I expected it to be. I’d seen my sisters cuddle their babies, chase after their toddlers, and chauffeur their teenagers. I’d read pregnancy and parenting books. But nothing could prepare me for the life-change of being Mommy.

For starters, I never expected motherhood to be so noisy. My kids are loud. My boys makes all sorts of noises and cause all kinds of ruckus, but the girls scream. Loud and long and frequent are their screams. Sometimes the boys cause the screams, but just as often it seems they do it just because. One of them recently started having night terrors, waking us several times a night with unsettling screams that stop just as abruptly as they start. I never expected a child could do this without ever waking up.

I didn’t expect to be as stupid as I am now as a mother. For all that I value the peace that comes after bedtime, I risk it all for a photo opportunity. If my children look particularly angelic in bed or I find them hugging a book they fell asleep with or if they’ve conked out under a clothes basket or on 
top of one, I can’t help breaking out the bright flash that can wake the living dead. 

I never thought I’d say the ridiculous things I say now. “No, we don’t put meat between our toes.”  “Please, let’s not drink the ketchup.”  “Turn the light on so your brother can go back in time.” “No. We don’t kiss toilets.” Never would I have imagined that these actual words would come out of my mouth.

I hadn’t the notion before children that I could handle so many nights of so little sleep, sometimes because three children all have bad dreams on the same night, leaving me tottering on the edge of our bed. I never thought I could handle being covered in vomit with such grace. Before children I don’t think I was tough enough to deal with a toddler stabbed in the chest by a sharp fork while leaning over the open dishwasher or with a preschooler shoving a pebble so far up her nose that she couldn’t 
dig it out again. 

Not one single book or magazine prepared me for being so excited about “happenings” in the potty or my boys’ blossoming (good) taste in music. I had no idea I’d be the recipient of so many dandelions and busted up acorns. I didn’t expect to have to come up with excuses for the tooth fairy not showing up until after breakfast more than once in the same week.

So these aren't dandelions or acorns, but I get plenty of sticks and rocks and others nuts, too.

I didn’t expect that for more than a decade I would know not a single instance of boredom. Who knew how thrilling it would be to see my child reading a book for the first time? I had no idea, for better or worse, that my daughter would act so much like me. I never thought I’d feel so undeserving of the love my children give to me.

I never expected motherhood to be one bit like any of this, but I sure am glad it is. 


The Mother’s Day tradition in our house is that Mommy and kids bake cookies together. Now that there are seven children, this can be a little hectic, but it is still a tradition worth keeping because this mother loves her cookies. This year’s choice is Molasses Crinkles, the cookies I usually found in Oma’s cookie jar. Happy Mother’s Day!

Molasses Crinkles

3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
4 Tbsp. molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
white sugar for dipping

Cream butter and sugar together, then mix in the egg and molasses. Add combined flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and ginger and mix well.

Shape dough into balls the size of a walnut and dip the tops into sugar. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, sugar side up. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Cookies are thick, chewy, and have crackled tops.

*This post has been shared with Strangers & Pilgrims for the Art of Home-making Monday.


  1. You really are an amazing mother! So proud of you but still thinking you are at least a little crazy to have so many kids! Enjoy the cookies and have a great Mother's Day!

    1. Thank you. Now, if only I could figure out what keeps causing all of these kids! ;)

      About craziness. . . I hear that runs in the women on my dad's side.

      And I happen to think my cool aunt is an awesome mother, too. Happy Mom's Day!

    2. Here's an addendum. If any of my other aunts are reading this. . . . that last comment wasn't intended to mean that I have only one cool aunt. All of my aunts are pretty cool. Happy Mother's Day to all of you (should you actually read this).

  2. Love this humorous but poignant tale of motherhood! :)