I recently read a blog post written by a mother who said she was disheartened by all the women who are writing about how motherhood isn’t always great. And that for her, she truly did love being a mom. She really enjoyed spending time with her kids.
When I read her blog post, I felt like a terrible mother. And I also felt that she misunderstood why women write about the less pleasant moments of motherhood. It’s not because they wish they didn’t have kids. And it’s not because they don’t enjoy spending time with their children or that the time spent with their kids isn’t important. I have other reasons to write about the less pleasant parts of motherhood, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
When I had my first baby, my mom came and helped for a few days and my husband stayed home from work with me for the first three weeks. But I’ve never been someone who enjoyed being alone frequently, so once my mom left and my husband went back to work, I felt incredibly isolated.
When my husband left for work each morning, it felt like the rest of the world left with him. I would take walks around my neighborhood and hardly see another person. Most of my friends with small children didn’t live in the area, and friends without children had careers. I was exhausted and usually needed a shower, so I felt uncomfortable going somewhere like the mall or even the grocery store. And since I was a new mom who was getting used to nursing for the first time, I was terrified of needing to nurse my baby in public.
So I stayed home. Just me and my baby, nearly every day. My baby was fussy and I worked really hard to keep him content (which meant I constantly walked around or nursed him, day and night), so I was always exhausted. And even though I was with a tiny person all the time, I had never felt so alone.
Those first few months of motherhood was one of the toughest periods of my life. I talked with friends who seemed like they had it together and motherhood was a breeze. I saw upbeat posts on Facebook from other young moms and I thought to myself, “Something is wrong with me. Why don’t I have it together like those women?”
And now, five years later, I think that is why I feel so strongly that mothers need to share the times when it’s tough. When it’s not perfect. When it’s not something that they enjoy. It’s not because I want to complain all the time or take my life for granted. I realize that having children is a beautiful thing. They are amazing little people who have changed me and my life for the better. Overall, I love being a mother.
But I don’t love it all the time. I can’t cherish every second. Because I’m human. Sometimes I lose my patience, just want to be alone, or feel overwhelmed. I used to feel guilty about it. But now I know it doesn’t make me less of a mother and it certainly doesn’t mean I love my kids any less. And just because someone out there has it worse than me does not mean that my personal difficult times have any less of an impact on me.
I write about the hard parts of being a mother because another struggling new mother might find it comforting to know that she isn’t alone. Because it can be really lonely. And it’s even lonelier when you think that you are the only one who doesn’t love it all the time. I don’t want other moms to feel like I did. I don’t want them to feel guilty and think that they aren’t a good mother. I want them to know that no one has that perfect life. Everyone struggles. It’s just that not everyone shares their struggle.