Because admitting when things are hard is good…

“I love my kids more than molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. But it’s amazing how lonely motherhood can be”
Read more: http://www.mommyish.com/2011/06/07/mom-is-the-loneliest-number/#ixzz3YKCvCI9F

That was the first sentence I read after typing “Feelings of isolation as a mother” into Google. I maybe could not have put it better myself. One night, 7 months into pregnancy, I begged Shane to find me a molten chocolate cake on his way home from work, you know the lava cake type of chocolatey goodness, as if that was something he could just swing by Kroger to get. I knew that cake would fix everything. It would ease the ache of tired legs. It would make the finish line feel within reach. It would make the fears of the future melt away. Now… I have an abundance of “molten chocolate cake” in the form of toothless grins, chunky baby thighs, kisses and cuddles, and the deepest most rewarding sense of purpose and fulfillment….and I’ve never felt more alone.

Shane has been on a new fitness kick. He’s been feverishly working out, obsessively watching fitness YouTube videos, and watching his diet. At first I was happy for him. Fitness is so important to him, but I’m jealous. While he’s perfecting his body, I’m surrendering mine…to creating a human, to birth, to breastfeeding. Then, once my sweet baby no longer needs my body, I’ll do it all again. I wanted to see him succeed, but the more he talked about it, the more his enthusiasm infected me. We bought a jogging stroller and I started jogging again. I’ve always been a fairly consistent runner. It felt amazing to hit the pavement again…until I longed for the freedom to actually swing BOTH of my arms. It sounds simple and dumb, but I think running was always just about getting lost for me. Shutting my brain down and just going, but when you’re pushing your baby in a stroller it doesn’t work that way. Motherhood doesn’t work that way… When the little one is in tow, there’s no such thing as absent minded downtime. Praise the Lord that babies take naps, except for in the midst of the 4 month sleep regression when they don’t. In fact… They don’t sleep at all…You don’t sleep at all. You don’t exercise. You don’t veg out. You don’t sit down. You don’t know how to talk to anyone about it…You loose your mind.

I’ve turned to Google as if she were my best friend. We share horror stories about just how freaking hard it is to be a new mom. Except she’s Google. My dark circled eyes cry for support, and she calculates which articles are most relevant to my cries for help. For some reason real women are afraid to admit just how hard it was and IS for them. When we admit our struggles, we are met with our worst fears…reactions that we are somehow not as good at being a mother as we had hoped.

In a moment of weakness and exhaustion, I admitted to Shane how hard of a time I was having. I explained how I felt like I was loosing all of my time to be me, to pursue my passions, and strive for the things I wanted out of life. His response was…”This is why I don’t want anymore kids. You can’t even handle the one we have.” It took him only minutes to apologize, but I promise you that’s a sentence I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.

I love my baby and being a mom more than molten chocolate cake, more than pedicures, more than winning free weekly pedicures for the rest of my life, more than relaxing days at the beach, more than relaxing massages ON the beach, more than winning a $10,000 shopping spree. Nothing has ever brought my life more joy. Nothing has ever brought my life more meaning. Nothing has ever challenged me more.

I used to look at mothers and wonder why they weren’t striving and searching for more for their lives…until I became a mother. Dear mothers I previously and unfairly judged… I’m so sorry. Now, I get it. There’s nothing else in the world that could bring you more fulfillment. There’s nothing else in the world that could be a more wild ride. There’s nothing else in the world that could challenge you more. There’s nothing else in the world that could force you into exploring what you are truly made of more than being a mother.

I think it’s high time we admit our struggles, we support one another’s struggles, and we show each other we aren’t alone. Because really… Is there anyone else that understands more than another mother? And honestly Google is a shitty best friend…

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6 thoughts on “Because admitting when things are hard is good…

  1. Even though my kids are now 13yrs and 10yrs I so remember those days. More so with my first….I think it’s a shock to your system from going to carefree adult life to all of a sudden having no life. Yes we love our kids but let me tell you……that first year was really really hard. First I had my son in November and being in Canada that means winter. I remember trying to get out of a walk one day….stroller…..2ft of snow. I was cursing and fuming the whole way….it was hard! So then I became a hermit in my house. I was that crazy lady standing at the window trying to catch a glimpse of real life. And to top it all off he was beyond colicky and we had a super hard time with nursing. My cousin had a baby 5days after my son was born and I hated her. I know that sounds horrible but she had such an easy time of it. Going out all the time….yes with the baby! Nursed like a champ. Blah, blah, blah! Fast forward 3yrs later and I had twins. Suprisingly they were easier to care for than my single child….shock, I know! But I think the second time around I said screw ‘the way you are to do things’ and just went with what was best for me. Tried nursing and went to the bottle. Did I feel guilty about not nursing ( like I did when I tortured myself the first time )….no….absolutely not. It was such a relief to not go through all that stress and pain again. It definitely helped me be a better mom. I went through about 5yrs in a fog of caring for my 3 kids. Don’t get me wrong….there were many many joyful and precious moments and I would not trade those years for anything. It did start to get easier…..I got a bit more independence but here I am…..13yrs later and I regret not giving myself some sort of life. Now that I have time I don’t know what to do with it. Find a hobby….I don’t even know what I like anymore. I regret that I lost a part of myself. I think it is so important for our children to grow up and see that their parents have interests and enjoy doing what they love. I get so resentful sometimes and take it out on them that I don’t have any ‘me’ time. Kids need to see that even their parents deserve their own space and time. It is a lot harder for us moms to realize that and actually take that time. We feel like we are the only ones who can take care of our kids they way they should be. Sometimes it is as simple as nursing that keeps us from going out there doing what we love. Make that time….it is so very important. Your child will not grow up scarred because mommy went out and daddy or grandma or whoever had to take care of him/her. If there is only one piece of advise I would give to a mom ( I hate when people give their own judgments as to how one should parent )…..I would never hesitate to give this advise……don’t lose yourself. Take some ‘me’ time.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! I totally agree that you need ‘me’ time! As someone with a lot of hobbies and interests, I’m just fighting the time battle. I have hope that with time I’ll work out a nice balance! Good luck to you! 10 and 13 means you are starting a new phase of mommyhood! The teenage years….😳I’m scared of that phase too!!!!

  2. Love this! Thanks for your honesty…I could relate to pretty much every aspect of this post. I’m still in the trenches (one 16 month old and a 7 week old), so I don’t have any advice for you…but just know, you aren’t alone!

  3. Amen! Honestly, I hate hearing about the moms who go to the gym, have an awesome day glow, then take their infant to baby barre, and then french class. I mean, c’mon, thats just not happening for us. I have two babies, a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old. I will say this, it is so much harder to go from 0 children to 1 child, than it is to go from 1 child to 2 children. Going from zero to 1 you have to give up your entire self, you could compare it to learning how to walk again, you have to relearn how to do everything, with a child. Going from 1 to 2, you know what to expect, you know whats coming next, and you’ve gained coping mechanisims to help you get through the day with a kid(s). Mothering can be so isolating, and I am no stranger to this. I have one friend now, just one, and that is a shame, I long for friendship, I long for a sliver of the old me. Hang in there, it gets better, just know, You Are NOT alone πŸ™‚

    • It’s so good to hear that going from 1 to 2 is easier!! I’ve been trying to convince myself out baby should be an only child! Haha he’s not having it, though! You’ve given me hope, and all mothers need a bit of hope time to time! Thank you! It’s so refreshing to hear other women be honest about their experience!!

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