When I found out I was pregnant, instead of jumping for joy and embracing my husband, gleefully holding up the stick containing 2 pink lines; I collapsed onto the floor and started hyperventilating. I also spent some time spewing curse words at myself in the mirror and pacing full speed back and forth in my 4ft x 10ft bathroom.
The thing is, I didn’t have a husband, or a job, or a car or even my own place, I was living in a halfway house with 6 other women at the time, and sleeping with men was frowned upon by the establishment. But I did it, and now there was evidence, in the form of a real human baby person, growing inside my body.
I had been clean off of opiates for 10 months at this point, and popping a baby out was not part of my recovery plan. I called my sister to share the news and hopefully receive some support, her response was “You are an idiot, Tiffany.” I mean, she was right, but all my life I had imagined her screaming in excitement the day I shared the news with her. I’m guessing that her faith in my ability to take care of others may have dwindled when I proved I was incapable of taking care of even myself; the day I was arrested and ended up plastered all over the news. But that was then, and I was currently in the process of bettering myself, this unborn fetus sent my motivation into overdrive.
I worked my tail off and saved every penny. I ended up marrying the man who put said baby in me, we acquired a vehicle and moved into our own apartment. The moment my son was born, I realized suddenly why I was placed on this earth. My life was no longer about me, I had another little person depending on me. Getting high was not an option. We immediately decided we wanted him to have a little brother, so I got pregnant again when he was 6 months old, with a little girl. Two weeks after she was born, my bonus daughter came to live with us full time (my husband’s daughter from a previous relationship).
I’ll break this down for you, in the span of 2 years, I went from being a single, sexy bachelorette, to a mother of 3 children. I had to grow up fast. I mean, I myself was still in the process of learning to be a productive member of society and now, I was responsible for raising 3 little people to do the same.
So how am I doing? Well, it depends on your definition of what a “good” mom is. Have I been known to shove a fruit roll-up into my daughters mouth as we fly out the door because we are late to school? Absolutely. Do I sometimes have to google-“How to cook chicken in a skillet”, “How to balance a check book” and “tips to remove cheerios from a nasal cavity”- you betcha.
The majority of my adult years were spent getting high, instead of learning basic life skills, so no, I am not the perfect mom. I mess up at least once a day. However I have so much love in my heart for my babies that it sometimes hurts, physically, as if it could burst at any moment. I will go to any lengths to break the cycle of addiction and ensure they have a wonderful life.
I have 4 years clean and sober and I am learning new things about myself and the world around me everyday; for example, up until last week I was unaware that you were not allowed to put butter on the bread prior to putting it in the toaster, which seems like a silly rule to me but, who am I to say.
So while I may burn the meatloaf while attempting to cook a fancy dinner, at the end of the day, I will make sure my kids have a full belly, and are aware that their mother loves them more than she loves herself. There is no guidebook to motherhood, no cheat sheets or manuals, but if you have love in your heart, and don’t take life too seriously, then you are going to be just fine.
About the author: Tiffany Jenkins is a 31 year old wife, mother of 3, and recovering drug addict. She spends her days loving on her babies, attempting to clean her house, making silly youtube videos and sponsoring other recovering drug addicts, taking them through the 12 steps. The stories she writes tell her tale of what life is like as a mother with a history of mental illness and addiction. Her life has so many beautiful moments of triumph, failure and comedy, that she has choosen to bring her readers along for the ride. Follow her on her blog JugglingtheJenkins.com, Facebook and YouTube