Motherhood is. Obviously, this isn’t a complete thought because I’m still in the thick of it. Thus, I don’t know a singular term that fully embodies motherhood. Motherhood is the epitome of signing up for a lifelong commitment. One that lasts way longer than New Year’s resolutions, that juice cleanse where you’re going to gain all the weight back anyway, friendships, marriages, and lipstick.
Yet, motherhood can be so many different things like Linda talked about in her recent article. I’ve gathered a teeny tiny bit of knowledge in my very short time as a mother and to me, this is what motherhood is. I am hoping that a handful of you can relate, especially if you’re a newb like me.
Mom-Tired is Different Than Any Kind of Tired in Life
From the day your little one is born, you are forever tired. It’s not the same tired as pulling an all-nighter during finals. It’s not even like staying up at the club and partying all night then suffering a hangover. It’s like you are expected to become super human with just 3-4 hours of sleep and then you have to be this way for the next like, 34 years. You secretly scream inside when your single friends go on about how tired they are. You also cry inside when the same friends talk excitedly about “catching up” on sleep over the weekend. All you can muster is a little smile and a “that’s nice”.
But, regardless of how tired you are, you manage to pull through daily. Even if some parts of your life is now in shambles, like the laundry room, your children are fed, pretty clean, abundantly loved, and you almost wouldn’t have it any other way. You may not care about what you wear or if your hair is brushed like you used to. You had time for that. And suddenly, being this tired brings you a new sense of purpose that you would have never known past worrying about the perfect cat eye. It’s incredibly tiring yet incredible all at the same time.
You Actually Don’t Know What You’re Doing, Neither Does That Other Mom
It took a very, very long time for me to even realize this, but all moms seriously are winging it. Some moms make it look like they are winging it more perfectly than others, but once they get off that big white unicorn, you can bet they cry in their closet sometimes because they’ve lost their way, too. Is it actually really that easy, even with the easiest of babies, to be 110% certain that you are doing everything absolutely correct? Is there a crystal ball that they have that we moms who are honest about struggling don’t have? Thanks to social media, we all have to put on our best face because who wants to look like sh*t all the time holding 3 dirty kids who look like they are thisclose to being homeless on the gram? And some moms, even if they are adamant that they are indeed doing everything perfectly, let’s be realistic and tell ourselves they are the ones who probably cry the most in their closet. This is all normal, perfectly fine, and a symptom of the pressures we put on ourselves and pressure we get from social media.
Yet, this is how depression starts and how we unknowingly perpetuate depression in one another without really realizing it. I always tell mothers to quit social media for a good 9 months after delivery until they get their footing and fully understand what motherhood means to them, not their frenemy from high school. I urge any mom who is struggling to give zero f**** about what your neighbor, sister, sister in law, aunt, or what your own mother even did and figure out what makes them feel like the best mom in the world. It’s a rough job and you no one needs the unnecessary pressure of having to be perfect from people who are also actually not that perfect, either.
At the end of the day, at the end of your time as being a mom, what matters is that you gave it your best shot. Some moms did better than others and others just couldn’t do it that well because guess what, they are human too, and were maybe battling some demons they could never overcome.
Some moms are amazing, like Pinterest level amazing. Some just get by each day as best they can. Others don’t give a hoot. Should you love them? That’s not my place to tell you who to love but if you feel like you are able to love your mom just a little for the fact that she brought you into this world and tried to do the best she could, find it in your heart to tell you that you love her on Mother’s Day.
Motherhood is for you, especially the young mommy is figuring out your own way. That child depends on you to come into your new role with some level of confidence and they do not care what Susie’s mom is doing at all. Your kids love you more than you could ever know at this point in life. I have to remind myself of this too, not to waste the magic, because I’m worried that I didn’t carve their sandwich into a 3-D minion today.
Motherhood is forgiving one’s self from time to time. Being overly forgiving is not healthy yet never forgiving yourself is detrimental. Neglecting your kids where they end up wandering the streets is not forgivable. But, putting on one movie today because you only got 2 hours of sleep is forgivable. We make mistakes, some days we just can’t, and that’s fine because, for 364/365 days, we are trying out best to raise some decent adults.
Motherhood is not feeling guilty for taking breaks and if you get a lot of breaks because you have some nannies and stuff, amen to you. We all need what we need and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. We need to feel human again in order to be the best mother to our kids. If it’s a trip to the Bahamas, a fancy purse, or another bottle of foundation, you deserve it.
Finally, motherhood is a gift. Motherhood doesn’t have to be everything in your life, but for forever and a day, you will have a purpose in life even if you don’t think you have one. You’ve got the most important job in the entire universe, of all time. Jobs come and go, children never leave. Even if your child is grown and on the other side of the world, you will never stop worrying about them. The same kind of worry you had on the first day you left them at preschool (literally, I threw up in the parking lot). The same worry when they’re running fevers as a baby still applies eevn when they are 52 years old. The same worry they are not eating enough. The same worry that they aren’t safe. God, safety first people!!! The same worry that they might not feel as loved as they should be. The same worry they don’t feel confident as you feel they should be. It never ends.
Jobs change, that Pinterest mom will change, life changes, but the fact that you are a mommy will never, ever change. So, why not give yourself some love today, forgive yourself, try harder tomorrow, and be the best mom can be knowing that you’ve got, literally, the entire world looking up at you right at your feet. Because you know what, your kids actually think the world of you, too.