I’ve got a confession…there are some times I don’t love being a mother. It’s not that I don’t love my kids, I just don’t love some of the things that motherhood has brought into my life. Obviously most people can understand the lack of enjoyment in the blow-out diaper changes, snotty noses, and cleaning up vomit, but I knew I was signing up for that when I decided to become a mother. I’m talking about things that weren’t on my radar that would make motherhood overwhelming at times.
My biggest struggles are with mom guilt, feeling lonely even when there are so.many.people around, and insecurity.
Mom guilt is something that keeps me awake at night as I’m trying to think through how I’m going to make it to the class parties, get all of my work done for my job, and juggle my personal interests. Mom guilt keeps me up way past my bedtime as I make treats for classrooms and go on a late night grocery store run to pick up something my kids need for school because I don’t want them to feel unprepared. Mom guilt steals my joy as I think of all the things I miss out on in my children’s lives since I work outside of the home.
Loneliness is hard to imagine when your home is filled with rambunctious boys and a loving husband, but it sometimes rears its ugly head. It’s not that I don’t have a large group of people that I could call at any given moment, but sometimes, I am too darn tired to even make a phone call. Making that phone call to a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a month or more, not because you’re upset with them, but because life happens and time is a thief, that phone call to encourage each other and catch up keeps getting delayed. Close friendships are never the same after baby comes. When loneliness finds a home, nestled between mom guilt and insecurity, it can be a pretty difficult place to dig out of.
Insecurity about my ability to be a mother, mom body, and effectiveness in my job have crept in to my mind and remind me of my shortcomings frequently. Are my husband and I giving our children too much screen time and too many toys? Are we handling their behaviors properly? Are we spending enough quality time with them and teaching them they are loved and how to love others? Why did I “let myself go” after I became a mother? I used to comfortable in my own skin, and after becoming a mother, I feel critical of myself and how I have changed. When I am at work, my kids are always on my mind. I’m thinking about them and if I’m failing them because I am working and missing out on parts of their lives. Then, I think about my job, and if I am doing all that I need to be doing for the families I work with. But then, I get a moment of clarity and realize, It’s going to be ok.
When these messy motherhood moments start to gain traction in my life, I work hard to minimize the damage they can cause to me and my relationships with my family and my friends. I find a little comfort in knowing that I am not alone with my feelings of mom guilt, loneliness, and insecurity. Take heart, mamas, it really is going to be ok. When I bring store bought birthday treats to school, my son knows that I remembered him and his enthusiasm for his birthday, when I finally connect with a friend on the phone, I realize there are no hard feelings, just mutual appreciation for one another’s struggles, when I realize what this mom body can do on a daily basis, keep up with 2 busy boys, active husband, and crazy schedules, I stop to pat myself on the back.
As a bit of a perfectionist, I have readjusted my personal expectations. My motto in this season is “good enough.” My children might not be perfectly behaved and randomly say naughty words like “poop” and “butt,” but they are excited to report their kind and helpful acts each day. My date nights with my husband are way too few and far between, but he loves it when I make chocolate chip cookies for no reason, and I love it when he cleans the kitchen. My girls nights out are rare occurrences these days, but when we clear our schedules and spend time together, we feel a little more special.
Despite the dark parts of motherhood, I am so thankful to be my little guys mama, and it’s all going to be ok.
Image by Jill Nicole Photography
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