Motherhood is the hardest journey I have ever been on. Daily I fail. Some days, more than I’d like to admit. I snap at my children and husband. I have moments I feel frustration towards my children for not “letting me get one dang thing done.” I have felt resentment towards my husband for having more “freedom” than me. There are a million other fails I could list, but if you’re a mom, you already know.
It *often* seems mother’s fall in two contrasting groups. The first group of moms talk nonstop about how hard being a mother is, constantly perseverating on the negatives. The other group sugar coats everything, only sharing about how beautiful, wonderful and perfect being a mother is. As if saying out loud, “This is really damn hard” makes them ungrateful or a bad mother.
Across the almost four years I have been a mom, there are some lies I have listened to from myself and other mothers. Some of these lies, little whispers from the Devil, I have believed for split seconds or days on end. Thankfully, over time, I have come to realize that almost everything lasts a moment or a season.
Here is the truth about motherhood, though, so don’t believe the lies.
The Devil whispers, “All my kids ever do is scream and whine!”
Truth says, kids express their needs in ways that seem completely irrational to most adults. As with any relationship, you will learn ways to help them better manage their emotions and express their needs appropriately. This also comes with age, eventually there will be more calm than not.
The Devil whispers, “It will always be this hard.”
Truth says, every season is hard, some harder than others. Eventually, we all find our groove and what works best for our family. Moreover, and I am shockingly terrible at this, ask for help. This may mean, something doesn’t get done the exact way you would do it. You may just need to grit your teeth and let someone help you. You can always go back later when you have time and fix it. I’m only kidding. Sort of.
The Devil whispers, “You will never feel rested again.”
Truth says, all children sleep. Eventually. My daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was two. At this point, I was halfway through my pregnancy with my son who is following in her footsteps. I share this to say, I understand the feeling of nonstop exhaustion. My suggestion is to rest when you can, this may not be a nap, but anything that reduces the stress in your body such as deep breathing or going for a walk with the kids. I also find when I fuel my body with more nutrient dense foods and less junk food, I feel less sluggish.
The Devil whispers, “You will never feel content again. You will always feel as if your emotions are out of control.”
Truth says, postpartum is something we don’t prepare women for enough. My postpartum emotions come out as bursts of anger versus sadness. Taking care of yourself and accepting and asking for help will support your emotions during this time. If they do not start to resolve on their own, though, you absolutely should seek professional help. You may have to initiate this conversation with your provider, as many of them do not focus on this enough. Your children need you to be at your best, so do not hesitate to seek help. If you have to change providers to receive the best care, then do so.
The Devil whispers, “You will lose all your friendships.”
Truth says, friendships may ebb and flow. Yes, there will be some friends you drift away from a little or a lot. You will also make and build new friendships as your children grow. I have found some beautiful online communities with other moms since having my first. There is some light among all the grossness that can be social media.
The Devil whispers, “You will never manage all your responsibilities.”
Truth says, moms work harder than anyone I have ever met. Your workday never ends. You don’t get vacation days or sick leave. You will, however, find a way to manage all things mom. This will be lessons of trial and error. Of learning what is a priority versus what is something you just want to happen.
The Devil whispers, “You will never do anything else with your life.”
Truth says, raising little humans and nourishing their souls is the absolute most important thing anyone can do. If being a mom is the “only” thing you ever do, you have accomplished more than enough.
The Devil whispers, “You will never feel like yourself again.”
Truth says, once you have children, you will never be the same again. This is a beautiful blessing. You will change in some remarkable ways. You will become a stronger and bolder version of your old self. There will be parts of your old self you get waves of nostalgia for, but I promise this version of yourself will continue to amaze you.
The Devil whispers, “You’ll never be able to do everything you want.”
Truth says, well, yes, you cannot do it all. Sacrifice is part of parenthood. In my fantasy world I would be able to shower, exercise, nap and write daily, uninterrupted. There has never been a day this is reality. Most weeks, I’m lucky if I shower more than twice. My exercise consists of chasing around my son. I never nap. Most of my writing happens in 30 second chunks on my phone. Here is the thing, when I worked full time, this was also most often my reality. You have to choose your hard. Decide what is worth sacrificing for. Personally, I’d rather sacrifice for my family than for a boss or company who may view me as replaceable and certainly could never value me as much as my family.
The Devil says, “You think this is hard, just wait until…”
Truth says, ignore this nonsense. As I mentioned, above, every season has hard moments. Do not live in apprehension about what’s in front of you. Focus on the beauty of now. If you believe the upcoming chapter will be awful, it probably will be.
Molding and allowing our mindset regarding our jobs as mothers to expand and change with the ever-changing seasons, is a constant work in progress. We were not meant to do this mom thing on our own. I believe in building a community where moms can be open and honest about the good, the bad and the sticky parts of motherhood. A space where we support each other right where we are at, no need to sugar coat or apologize for our feelings.