Motherhood is hard.
Besides a few fertility issues over the years, it’s the main reason we don’t have more kids.
I didn’t think it would be this way.
As a young girl, I always saw myself as the cute mom with the pony tail, the snazzy diaper bag, a baby in my arms and a gaggle of munchkins following me around. We’d go to the park, spend the day at Nana’s, attend church at least twice a week, meet friends at the children’s museum…the things moms do with their little ones.
Later I’d be the room mom at school and the one who’d have the open door policy, serving freshly baked cookies and lemonade for all the neighborhood kids.
The teenagers would hang out in our rec room and we’d host the party after high school graduation.
And some of that has happened. But a lot of it simply didn’t mesh with reality.
For starters, my home birth turned into an emergency hospital transfer. That should have been my first clue.
I made it six months as a stay-at-home mom before getting bored and starting my foray into the world of direct sales.
When we tried for a second baby, we got pregnant on the first try…then had a miscarriage.
Motherhood is hard, a lot harder than I thought it would be and in ways I’d never imagined.
An open door policy meant kids I barely knew breaking my treasured garden school. There have been fights, misunderstandings, early mornings, late nights and lots of apologizing both ways. I love our neighbor friends but I’m also a busy woman and the thought of managing a play date and having to befriend another mom makes me shudder.
Working from home along with being more of an introvert than I realized meant spending a lot of time in my kids’ classrooms was stressful.
Our boys shared our bed for years. They also breastfed for years.
There were days when I felt like they were sucking the life out of me.
Doing so helped me save my sanity but it was also hard. They needed me to fall asleep. I loved that, but it was hard to leave them with anyone. I admit it–I didn’t like leaving them with anyone. I still don’t, with the exception of close family.
I chose to try the middle ground between the mom who hoovers and meddles and the mom who barks orders from the park bench. Can I tell you how much work that is? Looking out for my boys’ best interest while trying to teach them compassion and that they don’t always get their way.
I have a strong internal compass. I judge every person and every situation I am presented with. It’s how I’m wired and I can’t turn it off. Parenting is not just the cute ponytail, the trips to the zoo and the art center–it’s agonizing over every decision. It’s feeling my heart drop to my toes when someone corrects one of my sons for something they didn’t do. It’s feeling like I am the only mom who mothers the way I do.
It’s lonely. It brings out the worst in me. It breaks my heart. And it sanctifies me.
Motherhood is sanctifying. My boys have taught me far more than I’ve taught them.
And that’s hard.
I’m a recovering people pleaser.
I gave up on arguing with moms many years ago but I bite my tongue more often than anyone knows. YES, I think you’re doing it wrong! But friendship and grace mean more to me than maintaining my image or attempting to prove my worth via my superior mothering skills.
There have been times when I’ve disciplined my children more harshly in front of other people just so the other adults wouldn’t think I was a lenient mom. Afterward I cried because that’s just not like me, and it’s not worth losing the trust of my child just to put on a show. That’s so hard.
One of my main goals in life is to make others’ lives easier. So I tell stories about my kids to reassure a struggling mama. I make self-deprecating jokes to get a laugh. I almost never voice my own struggles because I don’t want to burden anyone.
I often let my kids lose so the other kid can win.
You’ll never know that your kid threw the sand at my son before you turned around. He didn’t do it maliciously, but my son didn’t know it wasn’t on purpose. Seeing my kid lose is hard. My boys thinking I take sides with some kid we don’t even know? That’s hard. But I’m teaching them that there’s more to life than them.
Even as I’ve written this, I’ve rubbed my temples and laid my head on my desk many times. Today my period started. We’re not pregnant. Again. We’ve “tried” off and on for almost three years. Do I even have to tell you how hard that is? My husband asked me, “Did you cry?”
“No,” I replied. “I’m so past that.”
The rollercoaster stopped months ago. If it happens, it will be a delightful surprise. And I will never give up hope. But every month that passes, I get more comfortable with the idea that it will never happen.
I have two amazing sons that blow my mind every day. I thank God for them every chance I get.
I know what it means to lose one. And I know what it means to bring one home a year later.
Being able to start over with a new baby seems daunting or even impossible to some people, but I welcome it. Every time it doesn’t “take?” It’s so stupidly hard. And no one even knows.
It’s all just so dadgum stinkin’ hard.
I look around at moms who have one child. Or six. And I wonder if it’s hard for them. Some make it look easy. I wonder if they don’t think about it as much as I do, or take it less personally than I do. I wonder if it’s just because I’m a highly sensitive person, if it’s my personality, if it’s my tendency to want to do everything perfectly.
But I’m pretty sure it’s hard for all of us. Whether we’re the mom that’s got it all together or a self-proclaimed hot mess…we’re all doing the hard work.
None of us would say motherhood is easy.
Whether the woman struggling with infertility, the empty nester or the mom who has out-lived her children, we’re all mothers with a mother’s heart. And it’s going to be hard.
I see you out there, Mama, doing the work of motherhood. I commend you.
If you happen to leave the house with the kids every so often, or have any sort of hobby or JOB…I applaud you. It’s hard work.
So, mamas…let’s stick together. Let’s link arms to do the hard work required of us.
Let’s get real and just admit that it’s hard and we need each other.
I’m here for you. And I hope you’ll be there for me. Even if your kid threw the sand first–on purpose.