Hello, friends! Today I’m starting a fun series called “Surviving Motherhood” where I’ll talk about certain aspects of motherhood. My hope is to do this weekly or biweekly and really dive deep into this beautiful but tough space of being a mother. My first topic to kick off this series is “The Truth about Motherhood.”
THE TRUTH ABOUT MOTHERHOOD
One of my friends recently said in an instagram post about her children, “I was an awesome mother before I had kids.” and she isn’t wrong, lol! I think we all have an idealistic view of what parenthood will be like, how we will handle certain situations, what we’ll say to people, how we discipline, etc. She is a great mother, we all are. But you don’t really understand the weight of the responsibility of being a parent until you are one, and all of the decisions you have to make on the spot. Or all of the things you’ll do so much differently than you thought (like co-sleeping after you were strictly sleep-training-in-the-crib parents, lol!).
Today I just want to share my truths about motherhood that I’ve learned over the last six months. Every mother is different, every child is different, every single experience is different. It’s important to remember this is MY journey that I’m sharing with you, with the hope that it will inspire you to look inward, find an answer you may have been looking for, or just to make you smile and feel connected to another mama. We are all doing our best and we are all AMAZING.
THE GOOD TRUTHS
You’ve heard me say it before on insta, but motherhood truly is magic. It’s the best feeling in the world to see your child grow each and every day. You become obsessed with their every move, like even changing their diapers is fun and a really sweet bonding time between you and baby. Their laughs and smiles will melt you into a puddle.
Every milestone feels like an accomplishment on your part, too, because you’ve nurtured and done your best to make sure baby is healthy, happy and growing/learning. You’ll never feel a love like the bond between your child and you.
You’ll take joy in their discoveries, wonder for the world around them and how they take each day as a truly new day. They wake up happy and ready to do it all over again without the knowledge of that difficult night or difficult previous day.
When they fall asleep on your chest and you feel their little breaths, you’ll never know a more comforting feeling than that. Each day is filled with sweet moments that you’ll never want to forget. I often say “I wish I could bottle up this moment” because the good in each day is what you want to and always will remember.
Motherhood has given me so many opportunities to grow as a person, too! It’s so cool to see the growth in myself in just six and a half months. I’m more decisive (except when it comes to picking food or restaurants, lol!), I have dedication to the goals I want to meet because now more than ever it’s so important that I’m fulfilling things in my daily life that make me happy. I’m able to let things go that don’t serve me or my family because my family is truly the most important thing in my life.
And, I love my body. Yes, let’s get this out of the way, too. Because it is a really amazing thing to grow a child, labor, deliver & become a mother in an instant. It’s truly so freaking cool that we can do all of this! Our bodies will forever look different, feel different, work different. Mama, listen to me when I say this: give yourself grace and DO NOT PUNISH YOUR BODY BECAUSE IT LOOKS DIFFERENT. Cherish your body. PRAISE your body. LOVE your body because it gave you the best part of your self and your partner. No cellulite-free-flat-stomach-toned-muscled-body will ever compare to the body that gave you your child. You are beautiful and worthy and so much more than what your body looks like.
Your heart will grow a thousand times bigger seeing your child fall in love with your family, with their siblings, with your best friends. It’s heart-meltingly-amazing to see your child react to your voice for the first time, as if they’re saying right back to you “hey mama, I love you.”
THE HARD TRUTHS
And then, in a split second, you can feel the deepest pain of your life. It’s so hard to see your child go through something that is causing them discomfort or pain or sadness and not be able to take it away immediately. It’s hard to do the trial-and-error phase during those newborn months when something isn’t working and you don’t know what it is. It’s painful to hear your baby cry so painfully and not be able to take away the pain or soothe them immediately.
In the same moment that you think you’ve got it all figured out, something shifts and you’re back three steps. Intrusive thoughts will creep in from time-to-time that you’re not a great mother and behaviors will follow that will make you think that it’s true. But please remember mama, YOU ARE THE BEST MOM FOR YOUR CHILD(REN). You were made for this role, as your children were made for you. I know it’s hard and that it can feel so lonely sometimes, but you are their whole world and you matter so much.
Unsolicited advice will be offered at every turn, from family, friends and people you don’t even know. It’ll make you feel like you aren’t equipped to do this job. But you know what? You are the most perfect person to do this job, and just because someone does it differently doesn’t mean their way is the right way.
I recently read this on Facebook and it totally struck me:
“We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.” “We’re taking a survey,” she says half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?”
“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.
“I know,” she says, “no more sleep…ing in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.”
But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.
I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.
That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.
I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her
baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming
children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.
Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.
That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.
My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.
I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.
I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.
I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.
I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.
I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.
My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter’s hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.
Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Moms. May you always have in your arms the one who is in your heart.”