I had to shut my mouth at church on Sunday because in our class, the question was asked, “What does motherhood mean to you?”
While everyone started spouting off all the reasons motherhood was so special and meaningful to them, I nodded and smiled in agreement even though my insides were screaming out snarky comments that my 14 year old self would be extremely proud of. But I had to reign in that snarky me, because nothing I could have contributed would have served the uplifting message being shared.
I don’t blame the person who gave the lesson. I’m sure her topic was inspired for many of the women sitting in class who needed to be reminded of their sacred roles as mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, teachers, etc. Because the overall message is that we are all mothers in some way, even if we don’t have any children. Which is a beautiful message…if you’re not where I am right now.
Because right now, what motherhood means to me is loss of identity. Having so little freedom that a simple bathroom trip alone feels like I’m personally offending my children because I’d like to poop without them hovering in front of me and staring into my soul.
Motherhood means I’m constantly exhausted and never catch up on sleep because nobody guards my sleep or my naps the way I guard my kids’ bedtimes and naps.
Motherhood means I’m constantly failing at something. Not giving my kids enough veggies, giving them too much screentime, yelled at them too much yesterday, spoiled them too much today. No matter where I turn, there is judgment galor from family, friends, aquaintances, and complete strangers. And countless studies telling me that I will land my kids in therapy for letting them cry themselves to sleep so I can get enough sleep to function through the day. It means guilt, inadequacy, and shame are my constant companions. I would much rather prefer Snap, Crackle, and Pop. They are more fun to hang out with.
Motherhood means that everytime I try to take some much needed time to myself, it feels like a drug I can never get enough of. I’m counting down the hours until bedtime so I don’t have to hear my children calling my name. I’m waiting for the next stolen moments I can get alone with a chocolate bar and a Dr. Pepper, because that’s the closest thing to heaven right now. Seriously, thank you Lord for Dr. Pepper. I know it’s probably slowly killing me, but it’s ok since I’m already dead inside.
Motherhood means I give all of myself and more and often get nothing but screaming, stomping, and crying in return. The thankless little jerks. My only consolation is knowing my grandkids will someday do the same thing to them. Karma is a b–
Motherhood means that instead of home being a haven, my house has become a prison where I lock myself away from the judging eyes of others. Where I spend my days in isolation as my kids stagger nap times and drain all my energy and motivation and will to live. Basically, my kids are dementors. That’s fun. Expecto patronum!!!….Nah, that didn’t work.
Motherhood means that I neglect my friendships with my girlfriends because I’m too busy running my own personal circus. It means that I grow apart from people that I desperately want to stay connected with. It means I have no close friends because I can’t keep up with nurturing a close friendship. Sorry babes, I love you, it’s just that I’m walking on a tightrope while juggling a million different responsibilities. Come to think of it, it’s more like dental floss, not rope.
Motherhood means that I neglect my marriage. I have no energy left to spend time with my husband. My husband comes home to an empty shell of a woman, too tired and done with life to be loving or affectionate. It means that the irritation that’s been building all day everytime my kids whine for me gets unleashed on him. It means harboring little resentments that I know have no place in a relationship, yet I can’t completely help because he gets to go to work and be away from the kids and have adult conversations. And he doesn’t have to share his food, gosh dang it!!!
Motherhood means that I have lowered my standards of beauty. Of personal hygiene. It means taking a baby wipe to my underarms and calling it a “shower”. It means dry shampoo on days 3-7. No shave November? Ha! I haven’t been shaving since 2016. So I think by default, that means I win! Don’t matter if I look like sasquatch. I’m just gonna wear yoga pants and the same baggy shirt I wore yesterday!
Makeup? Don’t nobody got time for that! Maybe once a year when my husband and I go on a date to his office Christmas party. Haha just kidding, I could care less what his coworkers think of me. I’m just going for the free dinner.
So maybe you’re getting the drift here that right now, motherhood doesn’t strike me as the type of topic where my eyes mist over with emotion as I recall fond memories of my growing chidren. I’m too in the thick of it to maybe appreciate what other women are able to.
Eveyone wants to tell me to not take it for granted, to be grateful, to cherish every single moment and all the messes too, because someday my house will be clean and lonely. Promise? Because that’s literally my dream. Every. Single. Day. To sit in my clean house alone in the silence and do nothing! Ahhh…perfection.
I feel like it’s so easy for people to say all of that in retrospect. Like okay Susan, but switch places with me for 2 weeks and then try to tell me the same thing. I bet you’ll remember really quick that motherhood wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies for you either. And maybe be able to empathize why perspective is so hard to keep when you’re up to your elbows in poopy diapers, hotwheels trucks, and terrible Netflix shows. Seriously, if you don’t know, don’t research. You don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. It’s a scary place.
Moms today have different challenges. Not necessarily more than they used to or worse but different. Gone are the days where you could just let your kids roam the neighborhood and play outside until dinnertime. I can’t count on my neighbors to parent my kids. The whole, “it takes a whole village to raise a child,” just isn’t much of a reality anymore for most people. Unless you live in a bubble that has been seemingly untouched by the rest of society. I’m looking at you, Utah. Keeping up with the good ol’ days!!! Kudos!
I guess what I’m getting at is that it would do us well to validate other moms more instead of comparing our experiences. It would be refreshing if everyone who has had more experience would be more realistic and admit to those not fun parts of motherhood instead of only glorifying the best parts. Yeah, motherhood is the greatest calling and important and wonderful. But where are my wise and experienced mothers that can also admit that it SUCKS BUTT sometimes?
Cause it does. Like figuratively, not literally…gross.
I’m not trying to play down the importance of motherhood. It’s freaking important. But so is paying taxes and everyone agrees that it sucks butt and nobody wants to do it. Okay, so bad comparison, but really…
Motherhood is sometimes so glorified and deemed sacred that it almost feels like speaking blasphemy if you say anything negative about being a mom.
Some people seem to be of the opinion that if you have so much to complain about having kids you shouldn’t have decided to have kids in the first place…
…Come on now, don’t be that person.
I mean, what’s the big deal with moms complaining about momming? People complain about their jobs all the time. Are we really gonna resort to telling people that they shouldn’t work if they complain about their jobs all the time?
If we did this, nobody would work and nobody would have kids. Humanity would just eventually cease to exist as the population growth dropped and everyone else starved from not being able to afford food or shelter, forcing them to resort to eating other people’s brains. See how quickly that escalated?
People who say “don’t have kids if you’re gonna complain”, are basically advocates for the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.
Anyway, getting back on track. Just because I’m saying motherhood sucks, doesn’t mean I’d change my decision to have kids.
If that sounds crazy and illogical, good. Because that’s what having kids does to you. Erases your sanity and logic.
Because despite the fact that you tell yourself everyday that today will be the day you send Johnny off to the circus, you freakin love those little demon spawns with every part of you. Every exhausted, insane, part of you.
It’s not too much to ask to be allowed to blow off a little steam right?
I mean, if so, I’ll just shut up right now because I’ve already revealed too much of my true feelings. Hopefully, the PPA doesn’t come after me. (That’s the “Perfect Parent Association”, not the “Professional Photographers of America”.)
But if any of you feel similarly, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel pressured to only talk about motherhood in a positive light? Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s important to change that narrative?
Share your thoughts! This is a judgment free zone and anyone who disrepects somebody else for a differing opinion will have their comment promptly removed. Let’s please be nice humans! Because mean humans suck!