A young mother of 2-month-old twins told me recently that she’s sure tired.
Since they arrived she’s been feeding them every three hours. It takes a whole hour to feed them, which means that in the past 60 days, the longest rest she’s had was two hours long … if everything worked out just right, meaning the twins went right back to sleep, without needing more than one diaper change, and her 3-year-old didn’t come in to snuggle in the mean time because of a bad dream. (By the way, the 3-year-old — as any seasoned mom would know — is the reason this young mom can’t nap during the day.)
So how is she doing?
Remarkably well. She’s surprised by that and wonders how she can feel this good on such little sleep.
Her momma tool box is the reason.
Every mom has one, but doesn’t know it until she has a kid.
It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had a child yet, either through her own delivery or someone else’s. Sometimes a woman preparing to have a child panics at the thought of what’s ahead of her. But what she doesn’t know is that when the kid goes into her arms, the tool box comes out, and she’s suddenly “equipped.”
Like the mom of the twins, she has miraculous stamina, blinding flashes of insight, a saving sense of humor, and a large array of other tools.
Her husband doesn’t get this, by the way. He hovers nearby wondering how she knows how to do something she’s never done before. He’s mystified because his tool box is a lot less complex than hers, with just a couple of tools.
He swings back and forth between a fear of everything from strangers to the car seat (Is this chunk of plastic really strong enough to keep her safe? What if a semi broadsides us?) to a startling sense of protection he’s never felt before as he realizes he’d take on a charging grizzly with his bare hands to keep that little one safe.
Every now and then he’s engulfed with a sense of dismay at how he ever thought he could be a dad, which fortunately is often overtaken by a sense of shock that the arrival of a 7-pound lump of flesh has somehow completed his world — a world he didn’t even realize wasn’t whole until she came along. He also experiences periodic doses of sobering infinity as he looks ahead and realizes he is now permanently staked to the landscape of human existence because even after he quits this world, his memory, likeness, and genes will be perpetuated. Guys who pause to peer into their tool boxes are very humble dads.
A mom’s tool box helps her survive those first few bewildering months when reality hits her that an utterly helpless human being’s total survival depends on her.
Some women would run screaming into the night without their tool box because that sense of responsibility can be overwhelming. But the box fills her with a sense of “I can do this”, and so she does.
The box helps moms accomplish the toughest job on earth: Making decent human beings out of incredibly impressionable kids who live in a world that sometimes seems hell bent on teaching them everything wrong. But moms have very large tools for times like that, and they can wield them with great power when they believe they can.
Naturally, the tool box stays with a mom as long as she’s a mom. Meaning forever.
She’s equipped to raise not only her own kids, but also the next generation, and an occasional stray neighbor kid or relative too.
Raising kids is tough work. It’d be ridiculous to imagine anyone trying to do it without the proper equipment.
Thank heaven for the tool box.
You may contact Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.