Friday, May 27, 2011

A mature to be

(Published in Magnificent- April 2011)

Back in August, 2009 I was at the AUC studying the principles of voice coaching and TV presenting. Back then radio hosting and writing were my ultimate goals; they were the dream that forced me out of bed each morning and had me cursing every sunset that came by. On the very last session, the instructor- as promised- sat us all down to give her final feedback and honest advice. We were anxiously fetching for flattery and kind remarks to complement all the hard work we’ve put to ace our challenges. Being the sincere self she’s known to be, Dr. Maha tried her best to deliver her thoughts without embarrassing or de-motivating anyone.
I was expecting her comments to be limited to voice tones, facial expressions and body language when she surprised us all with her graver remarks. She was addressing characteristics that affected the way we talked, acted and reacted. She told me that I, for some odd reason, come off as the shy girl. She told Hossam, that he needs to lighten up his seriousness. She told Heba that she doesn’t need to smile because she already has a friendly face. And then she turned to Nancy; her voice changed, she was now speaking as a mother rather than an instructor. Throughout the course, she kept on telling her that she would be an excellent TV presenter for kids, which drove Nancy crazy because she wanted to be taken seriously, yet, no matter how hard she tried she always came off childish and funny. It was then that Dr. Maha uttered a word that I never thought could affect someone that much. Maturity! Her advice for Nancy was to work a lot, to read a lot, to gain as much experience as she can to become more mature!

At that very moment, maturity was more of a sign to me than just a random remark. That was- and shockingly still is- exactly what I’m missing. I had just turned 22; I was two and a half months pregnant; I was keeping it a secret from almost everyone and I was living in denial! The pregnancy news hit me by storm; it was as if betraying my own dream; a brick wall that I cannot destroy nor cross over. And I kept saying I’m not ready to be a mother; I don’t have what it takes to be a good mother. And it’s true! I was not patient; I was not, by any means, into kids; and I had too much on my plate at that time to simply shut off or make room for what’s about to come. But the truth is I was scared, terrified actually to raise another human being while I, myself, am not done growing up.

It is such a huge transition being married with a kid; before when I was about to go to college, I never felt it was that big of a difference because I still lived with my parents, I still had to study, I still panicked during finals and I still had to wake up at 7:00am! Yet, only one factor was changed and I was never overwhelmed or horrified. But with marriage you become responsible for everything, starting with managing the house all the way to safety and cleaning, that of course and the fact that for the first time in my life I was living with a boy!
Exactly one month after coming home from what I can only call a luxurious honeymoon I found out I was pregnant, and my life started to shatter right in front of me. No more published articles, no more radio shows let alone the possibility of a TV show- because who would want to hire a bloating mum to be- and definitely no more clubs and long late-night dinners with super cool friends who have nothing to worry about. Back then, I thought of those nine months as eternity as if I would always be nothing but a pregnant blob. I just couldn’t see a life for me after having a baby and I kept on waking every night to the same nightmare of being an ugly, boring, fat, 40-year old housewife who has wasted her life doing absolutely nothing.
I was totally alone in this pregnancy; I had to rely on books, internet, my mum’s narration of her tales with what seemed to be a sillier version of me and other mums, who I can tell you now since my son is about to complete his twelfth month were lying straight to my face with the whole motherhood is a blessing story. Allow me to tell you what motherhood really is; it’s being on call 24/7, never having a fixed schedule; it’s to live your life day by day, when plans almost never fall into action. Motherhood means giving up on your wishes to meet your baby’s fierce demands. It’s not sleeping at night for weeks and in my case probably for another year. It’s to put your personal life on hold until your baby sleeps and when he does you spend it hoping his nap would last for at least an hour. It’s a constant sense of guilt and question whether you’re doing everything you can to provide a happy healthy home. It’s playing calm and patient when all you want to do is scream and run away. It’s never having a quite time let alone a quality time. Motherhood knows none of an “I” it’s always he, she or they. That is the ugly truth about motherhood, in some ways it is truly a blessing but most of the time it’s none stop work.

I learnt that the hard way and still to this day I wonder how every woman went through it and survived. I wonder how they get everything done without falling apart and yes I envy those who are still single and not looking. I envy their ability to sleep late on weekends and have a fun night out whenever they want. I’m still waiting for me to adapt, to mature and suck it up. I have a long road ahead of me and a lot of barriers I have to cross. But I can tell you this for now, being a mum is a huge life changing experience even if I’m, at the time being, still struggling, I know deep down that one day I’d wake up a new, improved and hopefully a more mature me…

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