29 September 2015

Hi. It's hard to be a mom.

I hesitate to post these types of things because I don't want to come off as negative or in need of sympathy. But I do think it's important to be real. And as with everything, being a mom has bright shining moments alongside the hard times. I happened to write this when Rory was going through a really tough phase. So there it is. Being a mom is hard. 

Hi. It's hard to be a mom.
It's not hard because of the dirty diapers or boredom. 
[boredom is surprisingly non existent in all of this]
But I guess I just never got why it was hard. People don't really talk about it. 
Or if they do it's vague. Like, "being a mom is hard" or "it's been a rough week/day" etc. etc. 
But I never really got it. Because, well, I hadn't done it. 
And it's hard to explain even if you have. 
But we're in it together and understanding encourages empathy and I think that's really important,
so I feel like I at least need to explain. If nothing else, just as a way for me to try and make sense of it. 

As a mom, you're a full-time caretaker. Think of anybody you know who is a full-time caretaker. Don't know one? Well, imagine a person who deals with feeding, bathing, dressing, general welfare/happiness, and incontinence of another person. It's a serious full-time job and I've always thought those people must be the most Christlike people on earth. I never thought I would be one [and I certainly don't always feel Christlike while doing so]. Well, being a mom is like that. Except for you never leave work [and certainly don't get to shower before you start your day], and you feel fully responsible for not only their care, but their upbringing. Like, you feel responsible for... everything. And you feel this responsibility to be Christlike and loving and set a good example at all times... all on max 5 hours of sleep per night [less in the early early stages-*there's hope! I now get sleep!]. Oh and did I mention during the early stages you're doing this while recovering from a substantial surgery? And [for some moms] postpartum depression and/or hormone imbalance? Physically, being a mom is just demanding. 

There are no right answers. Like anything in life involving another person- there's no one right answer. By the nature of being two people with two personalities and differing situations from the rest of the world- you have to figure out the right answer for you. That takes a lot of trial and error and talking to other mom's to find support and understanding [if you have ever wondered why mom's stick together.. this is it] because by nature of being a caretaker you are mostly alone with your thoughts and a tiny human all day. And also it just doesn't matter how many books you've read, they'll tell you to put your baby down drowsy but not asleep then you'll have a feisty baby who screams like she will hate you forever and never gives up until you hold her. Not that I have experience or anything....... I guess she's not interested in going to sleep drowsy and learning to self soothe. [...or wasn't for the first few months.]

Everything is a phase- but it never feels like it. I had this night when Rory was tiny. I mean, there were several hard nights, but there was a certain one where I just lost it. Rory was refusing to eat after a few minutes and would just pull away and scream. It was late, and Jay had been gone for almost a week, and I couldn't get her to eat or stop screaming. I lost it. I walked downstairs and basically shoved Rory into my mom's hands with some harsh remark like "I don't know WHAT she wants" and walked away to take a breather. Little did I know that Rory wanted to drop that feeding and just go to sleep, but I was too tired and sleep deprived to realize it so I continued to try and shove food down her throat. She did that several more times- it was a phase, but that first night I felt like I just couldn't do it. I felt like she would never stop screaming and I would never sleep through the night and it would be like this forever. That wasn't reality, but it sure felt like it.

There are no awards. I went to college, I majored in business, I worked in the real world. Inherent in those are grades and rankings and awards and achievements and paychecks and diplomas. You know when you've done a good job or gotten through to the light at the end of the tunnel, or earned something. People tell you 'good job' or 'bad job', you are around people who know what you do and who you are all day long. Being a stay-at-home mom is something nobody recognizes. Ninety percent of what you do goes unseen. There are no awards, there are no paychecks. There is no end, diploma, or award at the end of a long day, week, or year. Nobody wins prizes for staying at home with their kids. There is no worldly recognition for a job well done. I am lucky enough to have a husband who tells me every day that I'm a good mom, but not everybody has that. And even if you do, that's one person out of all the people you know that express appreciation for what you do.

There are no take-backs. You jump into motherhood head on and fully immersed in this little person's life, and there is no turning back. And, though there are millions of books and plenty of freely given advice, there is no real way to be fully prepared. You are about to be a mother. Nothing can prepare you for the enormity of that statement, or all that's implied in it.

At the end of it all, there's this tiny human who loves you and trusts you and gives you these glimpses of heaven and pure joy. It's hard- sometimes it's so hard. But at the end of every day there is this perfect sleeping child and your mother-heart melts and it all feels ok. And for those of you in the brutal beginning phases of motherhood, it gets better.


  1. only a mom understands the restorative powers of a long shower ALONE.

  2. Your words brought back all those feelings (and it's a long way back there). I love 'Like anything in life involving another person- there's no one right answer.' - which is so true and makes finding those right answers so difficult. I know you don't want sympathy, but you certainly have my empathy and encouragement. Rest in the knowledge so many have done this, you have God on your side, and that being a Mom is the hardest and most amazing gift EVER!


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