Zen and the Art of Mommy Maintenance

I live in a bubble.

A big, cushy, Laurie Berkner, Playdoh, PediaCare, Pooh Bear, Pampers, Mom Van, Peanut Butter and Jelly making bubble.

I wake when the kids wake. I eat when I have a free hand. And my tunnel vision consists of two small people, a husband, and occasionally-out of the corner of my eye-friends and “other” people.

I mean, I hear other people exist. I wait with them in line at the pharmacy. I see that they have lives and clean shirts and even a small purse that does not fit two changes of small people clothing and wipes and diapers and juice boxes and at least 5 matchbox cars and one toy cell phone.

I like my bubble.

But there are fleeting moments when I realize my bubble is temporary. Those small people will, one day (if they don’t rot in their time-out chairs) become big people.

I won’t be needed.

At least, I won’t be needed to wipe their butts after a poop. Or help them brush their teeth. Or simply put on a sock.

So in those fleeting moments, when I realize this is all very temporary, I become very scared.

As a stay-at-home Mom, my whole life is my kids. My whole day is my kids. My whole world is my kids. I sleep, breathe, and eat them. We are attached. There isn’t a coffee break. There isn’t a commute. There is an occasional haircut alone.
Or pedicure.

Or, like today…an hour in a doctor’s office lobby, waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

Holding my husband’s wallet. And waiting.

Waiting and realizing that this All News All the Time girl went to All Mommy All the Time on March 24, 2003.

And today, May 25, 2006…Pop.

With a quick procedure on the Kaiser’s nether regions, my bubble burst. My comfy, silly, kept, small people bubble.

I realize children become adults. I realize we all grow and change and take on different roles. But I’m just not ready to start the countdown to “grown up.” I’m not comfortable with the idea that my childbearing days are over. I’m not comfortable that this entire chapter of my life is now…well, it’s got a stop date.

I’m emotionally spent. I’m tired. And I’m typing this with a baby, sweetly and soundly sleeping on my chest. I can’t believe that once they are grown, that’s it. No more.

It forces me to come out of the temporary and remember that there is a person behind the Mommy. There is a person that would like to read more, go to movies, take an uninterrupted pee.

I want to keep typing. But I’m afraid it won’t come out right. All I know is I have two children. And decisions were made, and I will now never have more than two children. It’s a wonderful thing, but also a sad thing.

I am happy, but I am devastated. I am angry, and I am relieved.

I feel like I’m grieving.

What’s done is done. And now I have to go mop up my once comfy bubble from it’s messy burst, while I rock the baby, and get another pain pill for my husband.

Pop. Pop. Pop.


  1. That IS a pretty bold move.
    I don’t want any more kids, but we haven’t gone the surgical route.
    I too stay at home w/2 little kids, 3 yrs & 6 months.
    Today when I was putting them in the car I was ready to beat somebody, even myself, with a stick.
    So, saying goodbye to the young child stage can’t be all bad.
    Onward to the school-age child, (shudder).

  2. Our bubble (well, Daren’s nutsac) popped about a year ago – and I came to the realization afterwards, there would only be sons. No daughter for me. I was okay with it at first, but as time marches on, I’m saddened by it. I’m not sure I want to do the baby thing again anyway, but no daughter – that thought kicks me in the stomach every once in a while. (hugs to you Erin!)

  3. Oh hugs. HUGS.

  4. Lots of hugs and love from myself and my brood. Share the hugs with the Kaiser.

  5. I love this post and it resonates with me too. But I try to think about what friends with older children have told me – that the needing is still there – it’s just less and less physical and more and more emotional. Let us hope that it’s the same kind of good.

  6. I think that I will find myself in the same dilemma after my second (hopefully) comes along… I’m so sorry that you’re struggling… hang in there and big hugs!

  7. Just remember as the little ones grow hopefully they will become parents and you will once again enjoy babies – grandbabies – that you can spoil, love, and fill with sugar; then send them home.

  8. Oh goodness! Why is everyone making me cry today? First I cried reading Mocha’s blog. Now I’m teary reading your excellent post. I swear either I’m really hormonal or starving (I’ve lost 5 pounds on WW, Erin!)

    -hugs- I can almost relate to how you feel. Dawson is almost two….I want another baby, but then I think…”What am I saying?”

  9. Wow. You made the decision that I have been trying so hard to make. I am not ready… But I am envious that you at least have made a decision. I know I would feel the same as you.
    And to the Kaiser, here’s to a speedy recovery. ~ouch~

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  11. “I have two children. And decisions were made, and I will now never have more than two children.”

    Let a woman who envies you the ability to make the decision for yourself butt in for a “count your blessings” moment. I will never have more than one, barring some miracle of miracles in the next few weeks, and it isn’t due to any decision made by any of us. I’m all about the mommy-grieving lately.

    BUT. I am blessed with my one that I never should have been able to have, and if my family who came before me is any indication, if *I* myself am any indication…THE PARENTING NEVER STOPS. Woe unto my mother. 😉

  12. Yowza. Cheers to the Kaiser for going under the knife. I’d rather not think about that option quite yet, and I’m sure he felt the same way. Get that man some more meds… ‘n beer.

    Two wonderful kids and no more pills or prophylactics? Sounds pretty nice, all things considered.

    But I can imagine how you feel. We still get weepy when our lil’ guy outgrows a favourite shirt…

  13. I had this huge amount a grieving when Will was weaned. I thought I was ready, I thought Will was ready, but neither of us completely were. Jay was of course. Will was weaned so much quicker than I was. I cried the first 3 nights that I didn’t nurse him before bed. I realized then that they change and grow so fast.

    Jay says that when we are done that he’s willing to take the plunge, but I’m worried that I won’t ever know when I’m “done.” How do you make that decision. I like to daydream about the possibilities.

  14. We want to stop at two, too, but Slipshod was just talking the other day about none of the options of ensuring that being inviting. I imagine we’ll go the route you (er, the Kaiser) did, but it sure makes it more real to hear about you guys actually getting the snip!

    I hear what lots of moms above are saying – even though I have a pretty big list of reasons not to want to get pregnant again, which begins with “I only want two kids,” I wonder if I’ll have doubts later. Probably not. But still… how did you guys make the decision?

  15. Now I’m all teary. I’m still a little behind you, since we are planning on #2 and then will have to make the decision on where to go from there. But yeah, the thought of Cordy growing up scares the hell out of me. Even now I look at her tiny outfits that I dressed her in when she was so little, and I miss those days.

  16. Yeah… two is more than enough… I love the lil’ bohemians but if I lose any more of myself I don’t know what I would do!

    It was a very hard choice to make I am sure! We haven’t gone that route yet but we are quite the hippy heads with health and stuff although we thought about it sooo long…. either way the decision is a hard one!

    Big boho hugs to one royal and regal queen!

  17. I got myself all fixed after the second child – immediately after, in fact, while I was still in the hospital – and I have only once or twice been a little regretful about it.
    Give it some time. As you go on with your day to day life, and suddenly one day realize that you have more free time (oh blessed blessed free time) as they get older, you will feel a lot better about this decision.
    Being a mom is a wonderful thing and a beautiful gift, but remembering yourself, meeting yourself again after years of toil and service, is also a truly spectacular thing.
    But a hug for you, nonetheless:

  18. Thank you everyone.

    I’m still having a very hard time. But, like I said…what’s done is done. And the Kaiser can expect me to starting going, as he calls it, “Angelina Jolie” on his ass anytime now.

    This really was not my decision, it was his. And there was no compromise.

    And I am very happy and thankful with those two little beasts his loins gave me.

    I’m just sad too.

    Why isn’t it ever enough?

  19. Wow, your post is eerily reminiscent of my own life recently. I’ve had many sad “This is it” revelations lately about the kids and also asked the huz if he’s consider getting fixed so I don’t have to go back on the pill.

    I can’t believe I hadn’t considered, in light of my recent melancholia, that I might actually be sad if he did. But I’ll be forty in a year and a half so I guess it’s safe to assume my breeding years will be over soon anyway.

    Loved your mom bubble characterization. I live in one, too 🙂

  20. I got the snip done to me and it was a hard decision and what really helped me was the thought that i really oughtn’t to add to the population of my country. I knew if I didn’t I’d be tempted again.

  21. Grappling with this myself lately. My kids are older, (8 and 11) and it’s really sinking in. Husband has been campaigning for the big V, and even though I know our baby days are over, I can’t quite make that leap, or snip, as the case may be.

  22. Yeah, hear ya. No wisdom, just sisterly solidarity.

  23. This is something my parents never got over. They devoted themselves so completely to us kids (5) that they never developed a great relationship with each other or any outside interests. So they have spent their senior years kind of floundering.

    I wish they had been more healthy independent people and hadn’t focused so much on us. It would have been better for everyone. It took me forever to realize that I wasn’t the center of the universe. I’m still working on this overwhelming self-importance.

  24. Well, speaking as someone who was told she could never have children, I think I understand the NEVER enough feelings you are going through also.
    I got mine the old fashioned way, I didn’t have to work hard or anything fancy so we can say that doctors don’t know everything.
    But now, with a three year old, two two-year olds and a marriage under the stress of that many little kids…..in my heart I have the worst time thinking that I won’t have more.

    I know that if I had started younger or were made of infinite money, I would not stop cranking them out until I was dead. I swear.

    I was supposed to have my tubes tied when I had my twins but got lucky and didn’t have a C Section, and since I wasn’t all cut open they didn’t do the tubes tied thing. So I had a Mirena IUD stuck in, it’s good for five years.

    My husband is sometimes very very kind. He knows how much I THINK I want another one. So we’ve decided to wait until the end of this year and we’ll see how things are.

    The clock is ticking……I am almost 38.

    I just don’t know if I can take the stress of adding one more. And, can I take the stress of one more NOT coming along? If mothernature doesn’t cooperate?

    I don’t know if I am strong enough for either scenario.

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