Why is it that we as moms/parents are made to feel awful for talking about how freaking hard this is?
We are supposed to “live in the moment,” and “enjoy it because you’ll blink and they’ll be all grown,” or a personal favorite of mine “this is the easy part.” I realize that one day my kids will be grown, my house will be quiet and clean, and I’ll most likely be sad. But right now, I.Am.Tired and right now I need all the coffee. And, you know what, even if that is all true, let me sulk for a moment while I throw my own pity party because sometimes motherhood just sucks.
A few of my friends and I have a group text.
These are girls I’ve grown up with and some who I’ve even known for over 20 years and now we are experiencing the joy of motherhood together. According to the movies/tv/etc. our message should be all “oh, guess what little William did today? Isn’t he just the cutest?” or “look at this adorable picture of my Owen!” Okay, now let’s head back to reality. As I sit here writing this piece, aka venting, our most recent messages were centered on microwaving hotdogs, ear infections resulting in tubes, unmet goals, including successfully packing lunch without giving in to a toddler tantrum (which obviously ended in a fail), functioning at a solid 50%, and quotes referring to our lives as a “shitcircus’” which they clearly are.
I reached out to my sister-in-law, who happens to be one of the smartest people I know and also happens to be raising a toddler as well.
After dealing with a major threenager meltdown, resulting in the whole house crying before 8am-seriously even the dogs were feeling this one-, I needed some sound advice, so I reached out to my SIL hoping she would have some words of wisdom for me. What I received from her was even better than words of wisdom, answers, or techniques… what she gave me was understanding and empathy. Her exact words were “We are in the exact same boat and I really think this is all just super normal toddler behavior.” BAM. She nailed it.
Earlier that day I sat in my family room, through tears, wondering if I was royally screwing up my kids.
In reality I am surrounded by a village of mamas dealing with the same drama. Why are we made to feel like kids aren’t difficult? Why are we shamed for saying we are having a really tough time (yes I love my kids, no I am not depressed, but I DID just have a booger stuck in my hair so let me be upset for a moment!) Why do we feel like motherhood should be all sunshine, rainbows and unicorn farts, when it is in fact one of, if not the most challenging things I’ve ever done? I think it is safe to say that we’ve all been verbally abused by our three year olds in one way or another (if you say no, you’re lying) and I think we could all agree that during those moments parenting blows.
Being a mom means you’ll never go another day without the weight of worry on your shoulders.
It means a constant internal struggle of which behaviors to discipline and which to ignore. It is sleepless nights, sicknesses, calling out of work, cooking for kids who won’t eat anyway, laundry upon laundry (oh the laundry), tantrums, meltdowns-both public and private… the list is endless, all surrounding the fact that this shit is HARD.
However, what we don’t talk about is the fact that it is also NORMAL.
You’re not screwing up your child, you’re not signing them up for a lifetime of therapy and you’re not alienating them or tarnishing your relationship with your babe. You’re not in the dark and you don’t need to read another parenting article. No one has this figured out and guess what?! We aren’t supposed to! “Parenting is like folding a fitted sheet, no one really knows how to do it!” We are supposed to learn and grow as individuals, spouses, friends, and parents. We live and we learn-there is no magical formula to parenting. Whether you’re a helicopter mom, a free range mom, a step-mom, a working mom or a SAHM, we are all mamas just trying our best not to raise assholes.
I have a bracelet that my mom gave me that says “perfectly imperfect.”
I need to constantly remind myself amidst socks being thrown at my face and forks being tossed across the dinner table that the imperfect mess that is my life is exactly how it should be. Most days, we run on pure survival mode, we laugh until we cry, and love like hell. The highs are high and the lows are low, but I wouldn’t trade a second of it for another life. You see, motherhood, or parenting isn’t easy. It’s tears and sweat and worry and chaos. However, it will take you on the most amazing journey of your life. You’ll feel and experience things that you never thought possible and you’ll love deeper than any human could describe.
That my friends, is what makes it worth it.
It’s not the picture perfect photos, or laughable kidisms. It is the deep, raw emotion of motherhood that makes us feel more alive than we have ever felt. So relish in the tantrums, snuggle them when they are sick, commiserate with your mom friends and know that you are not alone mama. I feel you and motherhood stinks, but I wouldn’t trade a moment of the chaos for all the peaceful moments in the world.