when type a’s strike, or perhaps when type a’s are stricken #adventuresinparenting

Earlier this week I attended a lunch with my department to celebrate the end of my practicum and the beginning of my internship. All of the other interns were there along with our supervisors and the good food and conversations began to flow. Suddenly, one of the supervisors began asking myself and another intern, who is also a first time mom, (we are the only two interns with kids) what it’s like to have a child. She asked us what it’s like to always be tired, what it felt like to be constantly woken up, to have our homes turned upside down, and to be “dealing with so much”. I was shell-shocked. Work-wise, I had only interacted with this woman, let’s just call her Mz. Type A or Mz. A for short, three times in my life. She seemed very nice, professionally focused, and her office was always impeccable so I wasn’t entirely surprised about the kind of questions she was asking. But goodness, the assumptions! What did she mean by dealing with so much? And why were all of these questions so negative? As we (other intern mama and I) stared at her in utter confusion, she began to explain that what she meant was that it just seemed to her that having a child in your life spells unpredictability and chaos and that as a newlywed, she couldn’t imagine giving up so much control in her life and in her relationship.

As awesome-fellow-intern-mama tried answering some of her questions I pondered what my response to all of this might be. Did I even feel this way about having my daughter? I mean sure, having my daughter has certainly changed my life dramatically and there have been many things that have happened and will continue to happen that are out of my control. And yes, there are times when oh lord I could use more sleep. I knew this going in and I just roll with it because what else is there to do? I am a parent now. My mother and father stayed up with me as my teeth came in or until my fevers broke. They took off of work to nurse me back to health or to take me to the doctor. They left their classes and jobs early to take me to practice or performances. And they happily let me go when they were done with that part of their jobs as my parents. It came second nature to them and it comes second nature to me now.

But. Many folks already know this about being a parent. Mz. A was raised by caring adults and she is educated enough to know all of these things but that’s not what she was getting at. She was asking us what it was like to have everything about our very beings challenged 24/7. When I finally figured out what to say, all I could think of was “well, yes my kid still wakes up at night and I am constantly dropping everything for her but my experience so far has been you either let it get to you or you don’t.” Her response? “yeah but it just seems like it’s a lot of change and I don’t think I’m ready for that”. As I was processing this later with my partner, I was being very judgmental as I told him that because she has a Type A personality (definition here), she of course can’t imagine having such little control over something so small as a child. But upon further reflection, I feel as though I might have misjudged the situation.

Of course it’s easy for me to say, hey, if you let it get to you, that’s your problem. I have always been the kind of person that just goes with it. I never had a choice in the matter, I’m the youngest of three children in a unique way. My parents had me at 35 years old in the mid-80’s which was considered old at the time. I was born to an 11 year old sister and a 9 year old brother with already established lives. No one was ready for a NEWBORN. So, I have always had to just roll with it. I hung out on the laps of family friends or in a play pen while my parents kept going to their tennis matches or cheered on my brother at baseball games. I played on the floor while my mother fitted my sister’s bomba skirts for her dance performances. So naturally, I have learned to just go with the flow since the beginning of my awesome existence <–Youngest child much?

Mz. A wasn't saying no to motherhood, she was just asking us to please help her understand so that she too can someday be able to have the courage to give up so much control. I can make assumptions about how she thinks or how she operates but I will never fully know. All I know is that the thought of becoming a mom is rocking this woman's boat right now. I know what it's like to be in her shoes. I was once there, when I fell head over heels for a man 10 years my elder. It was then that I realized that if I stuck with him, I could potentially become a wife and mother much sooner than I ever imagined. I was only 22 years old at the time and I felt like I might be giving everything up much in the same way that Mz. A was implying. But eventually something just clicked and my fear of having a child turned to excitement, then anticipation and lastly, impatience over meeting our little booger but that's another story (i.e. #overitpregnantedition).

My only hope is that if Mz. A and her partner ever decide to have children, or perhaps are, ahem, somewhat thrown into having a child (hey, I was a happy accident. you're welcome.), that she finds peace with the unknown. If not well then g'luck lady, I have my own #adventuresinparenting to worry about.

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1 Comment

  1. elyse

     /  November 24, 2011

    love love love this. Who asks such leading questions? Whatev. I think you handled the situation (and her microaggresions regarding your life) amazingly. 🙂


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