I am every mother. I am a mother of one, two, or three, or more. I am a mother of multiples. I am a new mother. I am a pregnant mother. I am a working mother or a stay at-home mother. I am inspired by all the moms I see on a daily basis. I am shocked by the behavior of some of the mothers I see at the playground. I am constantly reminding myself that every mother, every day, is doing the best she can.
I am one and done. I am unsure how we will manage two kids. I would have a 3rd in a heartbeat if I didn’t think that the pregnancy would put me at serious health risk. I wonder if a 4th child would improve the dynamics and decrease the bickering because there wouldn’t be an “odd-man-out.” We would have a lot more babies by now but my baby died inside me and I am scared shitless to get pregnant again because of the thought that I might lose another one.
Being a non-gym person, I actually love going to the gym now because I realize I can watch the news without interruption. My girlfriend and I get up at 3:40 to make it to the gym by 4 am to work out and our husbands somehow have their activities during normal waking times. How is this fair!? It took me two years to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of the pooch. I am proud of the fact that I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans at 4 weeks postpartum and I know I look good but won’t tell anyone; and I wonder what part of society has made me feel I can’t tell anyone that or be proud of my accomplishment.
I feel guilty for spending any non-work time away from my children and yet I long for alone time. I will count my alone time as grocery shopping. I love toddler snuggles, but also would like to not be touched all.the.time. I have a hard time putting myself first. I love being able to go out with my friends, but I love staying at home while my husband is out even more. I miss my social self from before children. I want to work so I have a break from my daughter. I don’t want to work because I don’t want someone else raising my child. I want someone else to raise my child because I get scared thinking about how I will ever manage to raise a responsible, kind human being. Sometimes I wish to be a stay at home mom and then realize I would likely suck at it.
My husband is a better parent than me. I go from thanking my husband for being so helpful one moment to wanting to kick him the next for not getting off his ass while playing a video game. I secretly love when my daughter can’t sleep and she comes into bed with us. Every time I lose my patience and raise my voice I can see the look of fear in their eyes and it scares me. I worry all the time about being too strict or too lenient.
I feel slightly relieved that my 6 year old scolds me for using the word “stupid” as a bad word, but feel really bad that he doesn’t realize how many slips I make with “Fuck!” “Shit!” and “Son of a bitch!” I have told my children they are annoying me. I have told them “I can’t listen to you right now.” I have told them “You will do this, or I will make you do it!” Each time those statements fly out of my mouth, I feel like I am scraping away bits of my children’s love for me. I have one child I like more than the other. I worry that as an adult my daughter will hate me as much as I hate my mother.
I tell my son cauliflower is just white broccoli. I wonder how much prune juice is enough to make him poop. I dread long car trips, not because of the kids but because of the kids’ music. I’ve been hiding toys from Wendy’s and McDonald’s; just six more and they’ll be enough for 20 party favor bags. I wonder why I am so willing to drop $180 on my daughter’s music class but can’t bring myself to buy a new pair of jeans. Thank God for my cleaning lady! I would give up a lot before I would give up having the house cleaned once every two weeks.
I didn’t start to feel a connection with my daughter until three months. I expected sunshine and rainbows to fall down around me the minute she was born, and it didn’t happen that way. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was meant to mother my children. I think that life couldn’t get much better, unless of course we moved away from the in-laws. I wonder if we are really ready for a second child but know that we can handle anything together. I aim to be the coolest mom I can be.
Motherhood is hard! It is trying and exhausting. It is constantly second-guessing. It is truly the most amazing thing ever.
Thank you so much to the five incredible women, myself included, who contributed their words and feelings for this post. It was brave and profound and I am a better mother for the experience.