The moment I became a mother, my whole world was changed. So cliche, right? Yet it’s the truest statement ever made about motherhood.
There are some things that you hear over and over again when you first get pregnant; how much of a blessing your baby will be, how much you are going to love being a mother, etc. Blissful things that make you feel as if motherhood is just a big, fat piece of chocolate cake and all you have to do is sit and enjoy it. The worst thing you may hear is how you won’t sleep for the first couple of months or the ridiculous amount of diapers newborns go through… but you will learn those are only minor issues.
Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is full of those blissful things mentioned above. My babies really are blessings and I do love being a mother more than anything… but what I wished I had heard more of while I was pregnant was how hard it would be to actually adapt to becoming a mother. How your whole world would change and not just in the positive ways.
Here are some things I’ve learned about the reality of motherhood.
You will feel judged for every thing you do (or don’t do).
When I was pregnant with my oldest, my husband and I were living with two roommates. It was rare that we were ever alone. EVER. So after much consideration, we decided it would be best to not have any visitors at the hospital and instead have people visit us when we came home.
The backlash and judgement we received was almost enough to make us push aside the decision we made for ourselves and give in to what everyone else wanted us to do. As a new mom, I was hurt. Angry. I felt misunderstood. I couldn’t believe how harsh people’s reactions were simply because we wanted to spend a few days alone with our son. I felt as though I was already a failure.
But I soon learned that as a mother, I would constantly be under a microscope. I would constantly be judged for my every move. For a little while, I made decisions based on what was acceptable to others, no matter if it went against what I wanted for my family. Even then, I couldn’t please everyone.
Then I realized how silly that was. This was my family. These were my children, not anyone else’s. It was only when I stopped caring about other people’s opinions that I felt confident I was making good decisions for my family.
It’s okay to not be okay.
Postpartum depression can hit you hard and I mean really hard. It’s not something anyone should have to go through in silence, yet many of us do. We are so wrapped up in the idea that we have to enjoy motherhood 100% of the time and if we don’t, we’re “bad” moms.
Excuse my French but, that’s bullshit.
Being a mother is the most demanding job in the world and it takes some getting used to. If no one lets you know this, I will: it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to complain. It’s okay to cry out of frustration. It’s okay to feel as though you just want to run away and hide.
What’s not okay is sweeping those emotions under the rug and not dealing with them. Reach out to those closest to you, join a mom support group, practice self-care, talk to your doctor- do what you need to do before those feelings overwhelm and consume you.
You don’t have to be “perfect”.
The “perfect” mom has everything under control; she’s always dressed well, never tired, her kids are behaved at all times, she has a 3 course meal on the table 7 nights a week and does it all with a smile on her face.
While all that certainly sounds nice, let’s get one thing straight- perfection is neither practical nor attainable. I can laugh at it now, but I wasted so much time trying to reach perfection and getting upset at myself for falling short. After all, the moms around me seemed to be doing it. Why couldn’t I?
No mother has it all under control and it’s not a competition. I recently read something along the lines of, “we keep trying to balance when motherhood is really just a juggling act’. I really resonated with that statement because in my 3 years of being a mother, I have never been able to find balance. That’s because there is no balance between all the hats we wear and all the to-do lists we make. As long as you are trying your best, you’re doing a great job.
Being a mother is not this glorious, magical thing that people make it out to be all the time. Sometimes it’s a headache, exhausting and downright frustrating. And despite that, I have never wished to go back in time. In fact, I feel as though it’s made me a better and stronger mother because I have accepted that I am human. I have accepted that having a bad day doesn’t make me a bad mom. I feel like I appreciate what I have that much more.
So what’s the truth about being a mother? It’s one hell of a ride but it’s totally worth it.