So everyone tells you how AMAZING being a mom is going to be. There is so much hype about how becoming a mom is life altering and that it is the greatest blessing you can receive. I'm not going to sit here and argue either of those points, but I will tell you that for some of us... it's not what we expected. I love my children beyond measure, but I'll be honest, I wasn't sure I was cut out for this "mommy thing" those first few months.
I thought I was going to bring a beautiful child into this world that was going to goo and gaa like the babies on those diaper commercials you see on TV, where everyone is smiling. They never show you the stressed out mom with crap on her hands, trying to catch pee with a nearby blanket, and wishing she had a go-go gadget arm that could just reach just a little bit further to grab the wipes (for those of you not from the '80s, just search "inspector gadget" to find out what a go-go gadget arm is).
Those first few months are hard, and it doesn't make it any easier that other moms don't fess up to it. Many of us go to our mommy groups or playdates and smile and act like everything is perfect. Being a mom is hard work, and when all your baby does is eat, poop, cry and sleep, it makes it hard to feel any sort of reward. I know... the reward is the beautiful healthy baby. But lets be real for a minute, and help other moms out by being honest.
Taking care of a newborn baby can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially for first time moms. Add to it some raging hormones and the everyday responsibilities that most women have... it's a ticking time bomb. Sometimes the hardest part of motherhood is dealing with our own emotions.
Wouldn't it be nice if we were all just brutally honest with each other about how hard it is to care for our "bundle of joy"? Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear another mom say, "I just broke down and cried"? I feel like there is a degree of guilt that moms face when they don't feel that endless amount of happiness every minute of the day. Its not easy, and we should stop pretending like it is. We don't need to feel guilty about not loving every minute of motherhood.
I recently had another mom ask me if it was normal that she didn't feel like she had bonded with her baby yet. Of course its normal... we just don't tell one another it is. We all have our own moments where we bond with our children, and there is no set timeline. If you bond while cleaning crap off of everything and wiping spit up off your shirt... GREAT! If it takes until your little one smiles at you to feel a connection... that's AMAZING too. I wish we could all just be a little more truthful about how hard this motherhood thing is. Guilt is such an overwhelming destructive force that could be easily counteracted with honesty and support.
On top of the guilt we all feel at one time or another, we have to contend with that constant worrying that goes on in our mommy brains. First off, we worry that we don't know what we're doing. We probably don't, but that's okay. Then, we worry that we haven't done all the caregiving responsibilities exactly the way we read about or were told to do. It's never ending. As moms, we will probably worry for the rest of our lives. At least as we grow more wise, we'll learn that worrying doesn't really have very many benefits and just gives you a few extra wrinkles (or as my daughter calls the ones on my forehead "mommy's tiger stripes").
So the next time you meet up with a new mom, tell her she is doing a great job and please being honest with her. Being a mom is hard work. It can be exhausting, overwhelming and downright stressful. If I knew how hard being a mom would be, would I do it all over again? ABSOLUTELY. I would just know that it's okay to not love every minute of it!
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