I never wanted to be a mom.

It wasn’t in my plan. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always just done my own thing – raged against the machine and refused to fall in line. I wasn’t gonna have an ordinary life. I was gonna do big things, and you can’t do big things if you’re a mom.

What a dumb fucking thought.

When I was 35 years old, I was busy being an account exec, keeping a fairly tidy home in Huntington Beach, and fucking off with their dad every chance we could get – weekend motorcycle trips, strolls around South Coast Plaza, Sunday afternoons drinking beers & shooting pool, traveling the world. Brunch. In Newport Beach. Or better – Roscoe’s in Long Beach. I came & went as I pleased and did what I wanted, whenever I wanted.

It was April 2015 when my oldest brother died. Turned out he had a tumor the size of a softball – it perforated his colon and caused him to become septic. He was 40. I knelt by his casket for a long time, talking with him, and that conversation changed everything for me. Not long after that I found myself standing in the Huntington Beach kitchen, telling their dad I need to get married and have children. I told him I’d understand if he’s not interested, but please just let me know either way, because we’ve either gotta plan a wedding, or I gotta start packing to move back to Milwaukee.

In July 2015 their dad and I went to Vegas. I wore blue suede shoes and Elvis walked me down the aisle.

In October 2015 I learned I was pregnant. And to my surprise, nothing magically changed. I didn’t start to feel kinder or more patient or softer. Certainly not gentler. I continued to cuss and feel my feelings strongly and vocalize them. I still smoked the occasional cig. Still drank beer, albeit not as many at once. Ate all the sushi and deli meat and frozen Twinkies I wanted. Got on the bike until I was too big and it wasn’t comfortable, went to concerts. I kept working out. Kept working. Kept being me.

And when Eleanore Leigh Agnew arrived on June 11, 2016, making me the mom of a healthy 8lb, 4oz bouncing bundle of joy and elation and fear and anxiety, second-guessing and third-guessing and double-checking to make sure she’s still breathing, nothing fucking changed. And everything changed.

And today I have two. Erna Mae Agnew followed close behind on September 1, 2017, coming in at 8lb, 3.5oz and all the same emotions. And I did everything the same. Kept being me.

My parenting style is different – I continue to be me. I talk to them like adults and I don’t dumb shit down. Anything they can do for themselves, I won’t do for them – this includes pouring their milk, sorting their laundry, and cleaning the bathroom. I tell them consistently not to be damsels in distress and to figure it the fuck out. They are not put off by my language.

A lot of my friends and family were surprised I chose this path, but not as surprised as I was. And to some, my parenting is questionable. BUT, there are those who love & support me – who see me, as a human, as a woman, as a friend – as a mother. Those are the ones who send gifts like this for Mother’s Day. You hang on tight to those ones, and you keep being you.

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