A Different Perspective On: “Mommy, Somebody Needs You”
If you are a mom, friends with a mom, or just like to read parenting blogs, you have probably seen this blog post making the rounds on Facebook: “Mommy, Somebody Needs You.”
It’s a sentimental piece that pretty much makes anyone who doesn’t cherish every single moment of their time with their kids feel like a jerk. That if you hate waking up in the middle of the night for a 3 year old’s bad dream or an infant’s night feeding, you aren’t doing it right. Apparently when you have spit up running between your boobs and poop on your arm, you should cherish this time. Because someday your baby will grow up and won’t spit up on you anymore. And someday your baby will be potty trained and you won’t have to wipe poop off your arm. So cherish this beautiful time that is motherhood.
I know my children are a blessing. I love having them. I would never trade my life now for my childless life a few years ago. But I can’t appreciate never having time for myself. I agree that the time with your children is short, but I simply don’t believe that it is possible for someone (anyone) to appreciate their children every second of every day. To cherish all of the night wakings. To love hearing “mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” every single second of the day. To look forward to discipline. Frankly, sentimental moms, it’s not the full truth.
These are the things I would read as a new mom that would make me feel like a horrible person and a terrible mother. What was wrong with me? Why did all these other people feel like motherhood was so wonderful, when I felt as if I was drowning? I was barely surviving, trying to catch my breath to even figure out what I was supposed to be cherishing.
When I would call my mother in tears, asking her why I couldn’t be that kind of mother, or even look back on my first child’s year with much fondness, she told me not to minimize what I went through. That all children are unique, and my struggles with first-time motherhood were not because I was a terrible mom and couldn’t cherish my infant waking me 14 times each night, but because that time was really, really, terribly hard.
But moms, you do not have to cherish every waking second. You do not have to appreciate toddler tantrums. You do not have to love your child crying in the middle of the night.
Because you are a good mother, you will of course deal with all these situations as you need to, but don’t feel as though you need to appreciate them. Anyone who tells you they loved “every second” is not telling you the whole truth. Or they are simply romanticizing motherhood and how they feel about it. It’s not necessarily wrong, but for mothers who aren’t that sentimental, it feels judgmental. Like everyone has to feel the way they do, and they’re a better mother because they can appreciate all the time they have with their children. And since you can’t, you’re obviously doing something wrong.
The truth is that all our lives are short. The days are long, but the years pass quickly. And when you are in the midst of some of the more challenging times, try to remember that there are things that are also enjoyable about that stage. But if you can’t do that each and every day, you aren’t a bad mother. You are just a mother. Somebody probably needs you, but they will continue to need you for the rest of their lives. Sure, there might be years where you aren’t the favorite, when they think you don’t know anything, where they don’t appreciate you, or shun your kisses. But that’s life. And while they need you in different ways, you will love them at every stage. You just might not like it. And that’s okay.