When I was young, I never showed an interest in becoming a Mother. Never thought about having children one day; it wasn’t a goal or dream of mine. As a child I didn’t play with baby dolls or ever want to play ‘house’. In fact my own Mother and I can both remember the time I stood in her bedroom with my hands most likely on my hips in a sassy teenage stance, and declared “I am never getting married and having kids”. Oh how falling in love changes you.
My parents divorced when I was in Kindergarten. It wasn’t pretty. Growing up I began to build a wall to block myself from falling head over heels for a boy/guy/man that had the chance to negatively impact me, my emotions or crush my hope that romance and love can be achievable and long lasting. I had lots of friends that were boys, but never a boyfriend. That wall had a solid foundation and was impermeable. I just didn’t want to put myself in a vulnerable position. As a child I witnessed the heartache, pain, devastation and regret of trying to build a life and family with someone that did not share the same desires, goals, respect or mutual feelings. I had zero interest in committing myself to someone else especially while I was still learning to drive. My future dreams were big. I envisioned myself as a CEO, a bad ass lawyer, or really any career I could wear a black power suit and call the shots.
A summer romance changed my life.
Obviously my “relationship wall” was compromised since I am happily married to my husband, my first and only true committed relationship. Somehow he was able to break through my self-built fortress by making me feel secure and cared for in a safe place. After our summer romance before I started college that wall was deconstructed to merely a decorative fence. This man turned this young woman who traditionally wore all black on Valentine’s day into a woman who believed in love and actually enjoyed receiving terrible chocolates in a heart shaped box. I learned that thought and actions really do count and can warm the coldest of hearts. Long story short, we got married just under 5 years after we started dating.
First comes love, then comes marriage, than comes baby.
After 3 years of marriage we had our first child. I’m not sure what it was. My body’s clock, influence from society’s timeline of ‘get married, have a baby’, but something pushed me to want to start a family. A small void was there, I started swooning over babies, and felt the desire to have one. Weird I know, but meeting Tom changed my life. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, I wasn’t looking to move in with a man during college, and I wasn’t looking to get married at 23 but I did. I wanted to. I fell in love with a man that never threatened my independence or dreams, he has always supported me and gives me the space I need. I’m so thankful I married my best friend.
My desires changed as I aged. In 2011 I had a strong urge to discontinue my birth control pills. We talked about starting a family and agreed in the new year we would start trying. Then I had a dream that felt so real with a premonition due date of 9/10. I was on a table with a big pregnant belly [even checked my stomach when I awoke], was in a medical room with two female doctors in black silhouettes telling me “You’re due date is 9/10”. Crazy I know. Went to work the next day and my co-workers all told me to play the lottery. Two months later had an intense urge to just try that month. We did, and sure enough a positive pregnancy test pops up. We plugged in the dates to calculate a due date. September 10th [9/10]. Can’t make this stuff up! The desire for motherhood was out my control.
Motherhood is one wild wave of emotions.
I delivered my first daughter via forced c-section by the shittiest OB. Her birth was traumatic to say the least. Suddenly I had to care for another human being before I cared for myself. I quit my crappy job at 32 weeks pregnant with her to work from home for the same company but only providing remote social media management. After her birth my incision became infected [later repaired by a plastic surgeon], I had health concerns and a baby to take care of. Motherhood hit me like a ton of bricks. After my husband returned to work [he thankfully was able to be home for 4 weeks], my new reality was scary. I cried, I didn’t want him to leave, I didn’t feel I could do it alone and was a mess.
Looking back I think I had some level of postpartum depression but just chalked it up to motherhood being so draining. I wish there was more support and check ins for mother’s postpartum, all mothers need some level of mental and emotional care. Daycare costs were insane, I was able to work from home part time so we decided I would be home to take care of her primarily. I quickly left that part time job realizing it was nearly impossible to care for the baby, pump, care for myself and my wound visiting wound care clinics weekly and to deal with the annoying company and crazy work deadlines. Postpartum life was something I was not prepared for. I focused on finishing my Master’s degree [MAEd in Higher Ed] and caring for her for a year before I starting working from home again.
Another Mom’s grass isn’t greener, they’re just using a filter.
I read some of the baby books. I still have a stack in my office that were never read past the second page. Why? I don’t know maybe because motherhood wasn’t something I dreamed of early on or because I rarely follow directions and just wing it. I’m not the most nurturing person [INTP personality] and motherhood was and still is challenging for me. So reading about how simple it is to apply techniques to parent better made me feel like I was doing such a crap job. Parenting doesn’t come easy to me. I still eye roll or get annoyed at the ‘perfect parenting’ visuals out there in the social media world. I know it isn’t their real life, but their highlight reel of the day or even week. It just irks me to see so many mother’s never mention the shit-storm that is caring for children and only boasting about how their kids ‘give them life’. Well actually, I literally gave my kids life and at a financial, mental and physical cost. Still I love them immensely and am so thankful they are mine even if one of them inherited my stubborn, perfectionist and zero patience attitude.
Another Mama saved me from drowning.
The older baby and toddler years with my oldest were the best. So good we even added another little girl to the family. Then life with a preschooler, baby and a growing Etsy business became a whole new world of crazy. Motherhood consumed me. The older they get, the more challenging it becomes. My spirit was broken, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, who I was or who I wanted to be outside of Mommyworld. I had so many mixed emotions and was angry at myself for not loving everything about being a Mom. I was disappointed in myself how I forgot who the woman I was prior to wiping a tiny butt. I left that woman behind, and I held resentment towards myself. But the truth is, we all experience being a parent differently. I missed my old life, daydreamed of what my life would be if I never did have kids and even confided in a fellow mama friend about how I felt. To my surprise she felt similar woes and gave me the support I needed to deal with these emotions. She helped me acknowledge that I am more than a Mom, motherhood doesn’t fulfill me entirely and that that is perfectly okay.
I’ll discuss more on how I would not be the mother or woman I am today without the support of that one amazing friend who helped pull me out of my self-dug trench next time. I am so thankful I endured a Mommy group [I’m a 2x drop out] for a few months because I now have this best friend who lifts me up during this motherhood crazy train.
*I am thankful and grateful, truly.
Not a day goes by without me feeling so very blessed, thankful and grateful for my two daughters, even on the shit days. So many women pray and dream of becoming a mother, yet struggle to and sadly cannot. I do not take my two healthy pregnancies for granted. I loved being pregnant, every day of it. I actually missed having my baby belly after each birth. The newborn and toddler stage of children is filled with sleepless nights but such an abundance of love and cuteness. Then they grow up and talk back ha! Just felt the need to put this disclosure out, so everyone can understand I am not just complaining or whining about being a Mom. I love my kids! I just owe it to myself to show myself love also.
Happy Mama = Happy Home.
If you are a mother and no one has told you yet, I will.
You are a wonderful mother. Parenting is freaking hard. Mommying is often a pain in the ass. Kids are whiners, but they need you. Not another Mom, you! You are the perfect woman for the role. You are doing an amazing job and it is perfectly okay if you count down to bedtime and tell yourself you will try harder the next day. -Alaina