Before you become a parent, friends and family who have been or currently going through it tell you how wonderful being a mother is and that while it’s hard, it’s the best feeling in the world. Yes, this is all true. The love you have for your child is incomparable. You know what else is true? Just how incredibly hard motherhood is. There are so many layers to being a mom that you can’t even fathom until you’re sleep-deprived, covered in poop or spit up (most likely both) or about to lose your mind yelling at your kids to stop fighting for the 100th time that day. Nobody prepares you for those difficult moments where you question yourself, who you are, and the job you’re doing. This mom life — it’s life-altering. Below mamas get real about the misconceptions they had about motherhood.
All the women I have seen had ‘snapped’ back and there was no snapping for me. My body felt foreign. I didn’t feel like me. I didn’t look like me. It was hard and once I started to feel normal, I was pregnant again.
My mom always seemed to make it look easy. I am here to say it isn’t!
When a child is born so is a mother — I wasn’t prepared for the shift in who I had to become.
And while there are many wonderful days, it’s harder than I could have ever imagined. The lack of adult interaction is sometimes the hardest. There are times I resent my husband for being able to go into an office for work.
And how much effort and planning it takes just to get out the door with your baby. When my sister had my nephew, I would get impatient about her being late, but now that I have my son I understand the struggle! I’m hardly ever on time these days.
Don’t get me wrong, I have an incredibly supportive partner, but there seems to be something about being a mom that means I’ll always be in charge of recognizing when my daughter has outgrown shoes or packing the sunscreen when we go to the beach. Those may be silly examples, but there are so many responsibilities, large and small, that will always feel like they’re mine to either fulfill or delegate to my husband.
Some days take you to your lowest. You’re exhausted, your patience has reached limits that you didn’t even realize you had, and you wonder what the hell has your life become.
I learned very quickly that newborns are the most difficult as a new mom, because you know nothing (even when you think you do). Sleep, schedules, nursing, changing their clothes, my body, sleep deprivation, it was all so new and the beginning of this new person I had become. You lose yourself, find yourself, and forget yourself all day long. Then you start to feel like you’re coming out of the woods, and you realize that you’re a mother and someone else comes before you. Always.
In my experience it’s been 90/10. My husband had to go back to work a few days after I had my son and I was breastfeeding, so I ended up being on night and day shift, full-time, Monday through Friday. That’s not to say that my husband wasn’t as helpful as he could have been, but I was the food source and at home, caring for our kiddo all day long. Parental leave needs to be prioritized in America. It would have been great to have more support from my husband while my body was still recovering from childbirth.
I envisioned playdates and Mommy & Me activities. It’s nothing like that. It’s full of dirty diapers, dirty laundry, tantrums, lots of tears, trying to get one thing done but then your toddler is suddenly coloring the walls, cleaning that up only to realize you left a load of laundry in the wash from the morning and now it’s late afternoon. It’s attempting to get the kids out of the house, but by the time you’ve got the third kid dressed you’re too exhausted to get yourself dressed and out of the house, so decide a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse marathon will just have to do.
When new moms ask for tips I always tell them: Don’t pay too much attention to other mothers’ well-meaning advice. Every child is different — allow your babe to dictate your method of parenting based on his/her individual needs; don’t be bound to societal norms.
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