So for some crazy reason the other day, I was looking for a blog or short piece about “what motherhood is”. Let me just say that you can find lot of interesting things about what motherhood is. There are blogs on how motherhood is like being a navy seal (I mean - what?) and how motherhood is like a crazy college party (doubt that), so on and so forth.
For some reason I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Then I realized I am literally the author of that blog post and I just haven’t written it. So there lies the inspiration for this piece I’ve decided to pen. We shall see how it goes.......
For those of you who are already mothers, I know you totally get it. For those of you who aren’t, let me enlighten you. I can promise you that the fuzzy, warm, Hallmark picture that you have in your head about motherhood...well, it's a wonderful idea, just not quite that perfect. Let me give you my real life look at motherhood. A life that yes, I chose, and no, I wouldn’t trade for anything, because as disastrous as it is, being a mom is very cool..
If you already know me you are aware, but for those who do not and are new to my blog, I am the extremely proud mother of a currently 20-month-old boy. People hear that I have a 20-month-old and it’s all adorable and sweet and then I say, “it’s a boy” and the reaction goes to: “Oh wow, you have your hands full”. Boys are still so easy I can promise you that. I wanted a boy first. I prayed for a boy. He’s perfect.
I am seriously struggling for some reason about the fact that my 20-month-old son doesn’t really talk yet. He is so smart, he is one of the smartest kids I know and yes, I’m partial because he’s my son. He goes shopping with me and we picnic with Chick-fil-a in the car, we eat popcorn and make pancakes together (which is our new favorite) and we’ve also recently discovered the sprinkler in the yard is a blast to play in.
Motherhood is really fun but again, I would be lying to you if I did not say that it comes with lots of stress, lots of tears, and lots of late nights. Not late nights because you’re putting your child to bed, but because you just want a little bit of time for yourself.
My husband won’t be happy with this (love you babe!) but motherhood is picking up after not just your child, but also your husband. When we first got married, my husband helped me with housework all the time and every now and then he still does. Needless to say, he has worked a LOT lately which we do appreciate even though it’s been difficult. Someone has to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. So those times that I walk in the bathroom and see his clothes on the floor, or a Peppermint wrapper on the table / on the floor by his recliner, I’ve tried to handle with as much grace as possible. See, my husband called me at work almost 2 months ago and said: "Hey, are you serious about quitting your job?" This had been discussed between us before. Give or take a few weeks from that phone call and I went to see my boss and give my two weeks notice. I was officially stay at home mom (or work from home mom) which was actually a very hard transition. I've earned a paycheck since I was 15-years-old. Today, I'm slowly getting better at the mom thing, the housewife part needs some guidance, but the work from home part is absolutely amazing! I love being a photographer. Creating beautiful images and planning sessions is my thing. I would never have this chance without my husband and he's been hugely supportive.
But back to the motherhood thing... If you were a big spender on yourself as a single person, just wait until you have kids. I swear if motherhood is not spending half of everything you own on your kid. Cute clothes, cute shoes, mom and son dates, mom and daughter dates. Kids test your restraint on cute things and fun activities for sure. I hear grandkids are worse so I get to look forward to that yet.
So far, I haven’t really told you anything specific so let’s get to the point.
Motherhood is a unique experience for everyone. Some moms bring their baby home from the hospital, get all kinds of help from family and friends and life is good. Other moms bring their baby home from the hospital, don’t get any help from family or friends and sometimes even have to deal with a baby that won’t sleep through the night, won’t eat and is constantly fussy. Lastly, some moms come home from the hospital to be greeted by family and friends waiting to help them. They have a baby that is the easiest child on earth and who sleeps most of the night, eats everything in sight and rarely cries. Wait, that’s the same as the first scenario. But it’s not. It might seem like the perfect situation to come home to however, a look inside will show that it’s completely different. This mother could develop a severe illness, be misdiagnosed multiple times, undergo surgery, then be diagnosed with postpartum depression, and spend months trying to recuperate, find a happy medium, or just make things normal again. It is a dark place that no mother wants to be. Ideally, every mom would be the first scenario.
Motherhood is a mess! (Literally and physically).
Motherhood is constantly changing poopy diapers, because - well honey, that's your full-time job now. And it’s not just the poopy diaper. It’s the whole experience and sometimes getting asked by your husband to change the diaper right before you sit down to eat breakfast.
Motherhood is fun bath times that turn into frantic disasters because your child pooped in the bathtub. You bathe them, let them splash around with their bath toys, turn around for a minute and then...wait, what? What is that? OH my gosh - get out of the tub! And commence a massive cleaning that rivals OSHA standards.
Motherhood is having your child stare you in the face and scream just like a little bird when you tell him that he can’t hit his aunt. (And you better believe some sort of discipline followed that).
Motherhood is getting kisses (on both cheeks) before your little one goes to bed. Motherhood is saying “I love you” and getting a very abrupt nod of the head in agreement as a response because they can’t talk to say it back.
Motherhood is having your husband get home from work exhausted from a crazy or just long workday and then you don’t want to go to bed at the same time, because you haven’t had 10 minutes of time alone all day. And let me tell you that part is no fun either.
Motherhood is appreciating everything that your husband does because he’s amazing and you know it. He really takes care of the family. But it's also wanting one day out of the entire year that is actually about you. Wanting a day that makes you feel special and makes you feel like you actually exist and are important.
Motherhood is carrying your 30-pound toddler around Hobby Lobby while he is dead asleep and sweating / drooling on your shoulder, only having him wake up on your way to the checkout and pee all over your shirt. Can I tell you how many "awwws" he got while he was asleep? Yes, he's precious. I didn't let anyone see he peed on my shirt.
Motherhood is guilt....a whoooole lot of mom guilt. Wanting time alone, but knowing should spend it with your kid, wanting time alone and knowing you should spend it with your husband. Motherhood is having your own goals that you really want to achieve and also wanting to raise smart and kind babies. Motherhood is being really excited about your kid growing up and hoping that he plays t-ball over soccer, but then feeling guilty that you actually wanted him to grow up so fast.
We could go on for days.
Motherhood is constantly saying:
“Don’t eat that!”
“Keep your clothes on.”
“Don’t put that in your mouth!”
(I've said all of these and more.)
Using phrases like:
“Do you see cousin?”
“Shh! Do you hear a helicopter?”
Just to make them look at you for a picture.....even if they aren’t smiling. Just please, child, look at the camera! (Yes, that's real life too.)
What is that saying? “Have kids they said, it’ll be fun they said.”
In all seriousness, on the roughest days when I want to pull my hair out, scream at the top of my lungs, and absolutely give up.... I try to remember that at some point my child has got to nap or will eventually go to bed and when he wakes up is when he becomes, once again, the sweetest little boy ever.
I will make sure that I read this multiple times throughout the next year so I will at least remind myself how awesome being a mother is.
I tried to sum up motherhood in a sentence, but that's hard to do. It's fun, exhausting, adventurous, heartbreaking, unpredictable and rewarding.
Motherhood is beautiful life.
Happy Mothers' Day to all the mothers out there! You are amazing!