I just read another article on motherhood. It stated what I believe to be the obvious: we need to talk more about the child-rearing part than the pregnancy and labour part. And I think we are. All the social media feeds I follow seem to state, quite frequently and vehemently, how hard mom-ing and dad-ing is. And while the article went on to talk about the need to share, it still, in my humble opinion, did a crap job of explaining what becoming a parent actually looks like.
Before I begin, I will start with a disclaimer and it’s one that often holds me (and likely MANY others) from sharing the honest truth: I don’t want to come across as an ungrateful, spoiled, and privileged asshole. I got pregnant without any issues. I had good pregnancies and deliveries. My kids are healthy. I’m relatively still in tact, apart from my brain every so often. I live a good life. I have a supportive partner. My family is engaged. How dare I bloody complain? Seriously. You’re likely saying, “shut the front door, woman”. And perhaps this is why many women choose not share how hard it is because all things are pretty damn good and stable (for many). And for so many others things aren’t so awesome.
Perhaps I need a good dose of adversity. Likely. I’m not going to challenge you on that one. Especially as I read Malala (yes, I’m behind the times). I haven’t had much exposure to hardship and those that have tend to have a better perspective on all things life. Or so it seems.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing to hold in the complaints. No one wants a negative Nancy. Furthermore, it’s really important to think of yourself within the global context, it’s less isolating and a helpful reminder to remain grateful – this is a core component of self-compassion. But it may also be a silencer. It may prevent people from sharing their sadness and woes when they need to. As we know this isn’t good.
But hold the phone, this wasn’t the point of this post…the point was to actually give you some nitty gritty insider info on what mom-ing looks like (in my world). So here goes..
- You get up early. Like 4:45 AM on some days. You do Groundhog Day. You live and breathe routine. You don’t f*** with the routine. You have learned the hard way. Ten times. More than that. You keep thinking you can make it work. You can’t.
- You break up tug-o-war toy fights all day.
- You explain why hitting is wrong all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.
- You breastfeed anywhere it works. When travelling, this is often in the closet (where baby is usually sleeping for the darkness factor), on the floor, against the door. It is very comfortable…
- You cry over nap refusal.
- You cry over food refusal.
- You cry over the fact you’re crying again and being such a wimp.
- You eat approximately 8 meals a day. Your toddlers meal leftovers, your own and snacks. You eat so many snacks.
- You put out the flames of toddler tantrum number 6 (in just one morning). You track it back and realize you’ve failed as a parent because they haven’t eaten or are overtired.
- You clean up so much poop. And potty poop is beyond sick. And you get it on your hands. And you gag.
- You lose sight of who you are. You long for your past self. You long to be present. You feel guilt for wanting to be somewhere else and not being joy-filled. You feel guilt that you’re not being the best instagram mom and posting the loving, hugging, happy pics. Instead you feel empty and joyless and sad. Sometimes. Not always. But some moments are harder than others.
- You miss your spouse. You don’t like your spouse. You yell at your spouse. You miss your spouse and long for time alone.
- You play, you read, you colour, you paint, you go to the park. You love it. You hate it. You want to do your thing. You do their thing. You always do their thing. Because it’s the right thing and you love it too, but sometimes you don’t want to.
- You get stressed if you aren’t in bed by 9, but you’re never ready for bed at 9 because you want “you” time. But then you’re exhausted the next day. Scratch that, you’re exhausted all the time.
- You spend a lot of nights in your house. You long to go out. You go out and you want to come home. You complain about watching the same show and getting take out as date night.
- You say, “be careful” 500+ times per day. You remind yourself that saying this is meaningless and try to provide more detail. You end up getting frustrated repeating long-ass explanations that no one is listening to.
- You get bored of visiting the zoo and art factory, but you go anyways as staying in the house is worse. Always choose the lesser of two evils.
- You yell at night because you’re brain is a fog. You’re mean. You hate how moody you are. You want your old self back. You wonder if you’ll ever feel zen again. You see red when your toddler refuses to brush their teeth for the 100th time. You wonder if you’re damaged.
- You worry about your career and how you will go back to work. You worry about schedules and if your kids will be happy. You wonder if you’re ruining your kids lives by working (or staying home). You’ll worry about whether you can be a good mom and contribute something to your work, community and world. And you’ll hate that you can’t do it all. You’ll hate not being supermom every moment of the day because you see that’s what other moms are doing (but they aren’t either).
- You smile at your kids playing together. Your heart melts at your baby’s giggle.
- You feel guilty for not feeling as happy as you think you should.
- You don’t want to parent some days. You want someone else to step in and take control and be the grownup. But it’s you. It’s all you. All the time.
- You make healthy food and your kid helps you make it and you want to SHOUT IT OUT LOUD. Like, “look at me being a f***ing awesome mom”. And then you yell at your kid and you don’t share. You forget to share the wins.
- You snuggle. Oh man you snuggle so much and it’s life-affirming.
- You get slapped in the face.
I’ve done these posts before, but this one is more a mix of the inane, funny, and hardass moments that comprise being a parent. Too often I read articles on how we should be honest and raw about motherhood, but they don’t deliver. They sugar coat the raw. They make it better. We always make it better. And I get why, we don’t want to come off as spoiled, annoying jerks that don’t really have anything to complain about. Because maybe we don’t.
Regardless, we need to be as real, raw, and nitty gritty as possible. Not to scare, but to help. Not to be trendy, but authentic. Not to be anything other than what we are. How do we expect to live contented, fulfilling lives if we aren’t truly honest about all that life entails?
Photo Credit: Travis Grossen on Unsplash.com