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Motherhood is complex
I literally experience hundreds of emotions and feelings everyday. Some great, some okay, and some not so okay. It’s just part of being a parent, I think.
And it’s OKAY to go through this crazy mix of emotions. We’re human beings. We’re all just doing the best we can.
Some days and some moments, really suck.
This is not the time to be an Aunt Susan and tell every parent to “cherish this time” and that they’ll “miss this”. It’s not the time to tell a tired and worn out picture that they should be thankful and stop complaining.
Do you really think I’m going to miss my 4.5 year old screaming and unbuckling himself in his car seat on his way home from school as he yells at me for 30 minutes because he wants to say goodbye to his turtle again? When I’m sitting at the wheel, just trying to get home while tears stream down my face because I tried all my RIE parenting moves and they’re not helping?!
No. I’m not going to miss this.
I’m not going to miss the looks from the people on a walk as I had the car pulled over because my 4.5 year old told me he wanted a hug and then while he’s hugging me he’s screaming at the top of his lungs and his dad, who is 1451 miles away is on speakerphone but I’ve already forgotten because I’m so wrapped up in trying to calm and diffuse an overly tired preschooler and manage my own emotional responses. While I’m standing there in that cup de sac, one door of the Odyssey open to allow for the physical contact my firstborn is telling me he needs. While the car runs, and my 1.5 year old starts crying because brother is crying. While I get back in the car and he starts screaming again, but now we’re stuck in construction traffic and I notice my tears starting to soak two little spots on my thighs as I silently second guess every decision I’ve ever made. As we finally get home, almost an hour after bedtime at this point, and everything becomes his breaking point, no matter how I try to help or involve or understand or let him work it out.
Bedtime is just as rough, and two books later I’m begging and pleading that they will just take a breath and calm down enough to fall asleep.
But then something beautiful DOES happen. Their deep breaths and snoring start to rhythmically fill the room alongside the white noise. And as I stand up and look at them, I can’t help but smile. DESPITE the ugliness of how our day was ending, seeing them here, like this: their faces to the side as they sleep on their bellies, the way their sweet cheeks are squished and their cherubic lips purse, the way their hands lay next to their heads and their torsos rise and fall.
The next morning, all is forgotten.
They are chipper and can’t wait to get in the pool, even though it’s only 7am and the water is freezing and there’s no sign of the sun in sight. Because children are incredible. They’re resilient. They express what they feel, get it off their chests, and move on. They don’t hold grudges. And today, there has been no mention of the turtle. Or the hour long meltdown on the way home. Or the screaming and crying and there’s no mention of me being mean and not listening.
So no, parenthood isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. And while part of me hopes for that, the rest of me knows this – these moments that feel like they’re going to break us, that test your every reserve, that make you feel like you’re screwing up everything and you’re surely going to be the reason for all your child’s problems as they grow up – these moments are almost necessary. Almost. The pits help me distinguish our peaks. The hurt and the loss and sadness and worry, they’re all part of helping us realize the goodness that we may have overlooked had we not experienced them as well.
So PLEASE, the next time a mom or Dad or caregiver is lamenting to you, is sharing how she is struggling, or how he feels like he’s not doing anything right – STOP telling them, me and us to enjoy it all. Stop telling me I’m going to miss this. To cherish all these moments.
10, 20, 30 years down the line, I sure hope I don’t remember feeling like a failure. 15, 25, 35 years down the line I hope I can focus on the good things I have done, as a mother, a parent and a partner. I want to remember the way they look as they’re sleeping, the way H comes running for me and throws his entire body into a hug, the way J sumo walks down the hallway as he wakes up from a nap and collapses into me. I never want to forget how innocently and truly they tell me they love me, I will never forget those first days of “I luh yew”s and the first times they said mama. Their first steps, the first time they rolled over, the first time they cried real tears and it hit me that these tiny little people have a whole lot of big emotions that they don’t understand how to share yet.
There is SO MUCH I never want to forget, so much that I always want to remember and so much that I already miss.
But the struggles? Nope. You can take those moments of small and insignificance, and I’ll take the big moments of love.
Being a mom, a dad, a caregiver: it’s hard enough without other people trying to tell us how we should feel. This journey isn’t always fun, and in fact can be downright shitty, and that’s okay. Let that burden of feeling like you have to enjoy every.single.second. GO. I promise, there is no guilt to bear over it.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say complaining and getting it off your chest, with fellow parents, with other people who are where you are and have been where you have been, its a GOOD thing. Otherwise, you’re keeping it all bottled up inside of you. To fester and build up pressure until you crack. Better out than in, my dad always said.
Complaining can be healthy.
It can be necessary. And it’s up to me and to you to BE a sounding board for someone else. To be a friend. To be someone who is there to support and let our fellow parents air their grievances. It is NOT a time to mom shame someone who is having a hard time. Because sometimes, when you’re in the trenches, you don’t want someone to try and solve your problems with unsolicited advice. You just want a friend. To be there. To listen. And to commiserate.
We all know this is the greatest job in the world. And that our children are the greatest gifts. But there’s no need to shove that down the throat of a person who feels like they’re at the end of the rope. Rather, we should just BE there, and try to hold on tight.
Five-ish years into being a mom, and I cant say it gets easier. But I can say you learn to adapt. And one day, hopefully, when you and I get through to the other side, we *will* be able to look back at our time as parents. And, fingers crossed, we WILL feel like it’s all worth it.
And we’ll get there without making anyone else feel insignificant in our path.
As a side note, I have recently discovered and fallen in love with a new maternity and breastfeeding shop. And they have proven over and over again to be such amazing, kind, and compassionate people. Thank you so much to Kindred Bravely for sponsoring and sending me The Amelia Maternity Pajamas that I’m wearing in these photos.
The Amelia Maternity Pajamas aren’t just for expecting mamas! While I wish I would have had something this soft and silky while pregnant, even those of us with an unoccupied uterus can still enjoy them. They are beautifully made and I find myself grabbing for them constantly. This wonderful True Blue Amelia Pajama set is just what I need to slip on after a long, hard day of parenting. As soon as my jeans are off, and I slide these on, it feels like I can truly relax and enjoy my evening.
*SPECIAL SAVINGS ALERT!* Use code “SHYNNZ20” to save at Kindred Bravely!