In (very belated) honor of Mother’s Day and inspired by Bethany over at Waves and Lilacs, I’m attempting to hop back on this blogging train by writing an honest post about my personal early motherhood challenges and joys.
My feelings recently are that it is trendy to talk about the difficulties of parenthood but in a humorous way. While I, too, enjoy the memes with Katniss Everdeen throwing up her three-finger sign of alliance followed by the “Me when I see a fellow toddler mom and her tantruming womb trophy at Target” quote, I tend to wonder if we REALLY talk about these challenges. Like, REALLY? I started this blog to be a space for honesty, and I’d like to keep it that way.
Alternately, I don’t want to just complain about motherhood, either. It is truly my favorite thing, and most days are more fun than not! I like to try to hold onto a positive paradigm of my world, and I believe practicing gratitude for the joys I experience in motherhood help maintain this mind set. Sure, I’m exhausted and never poop alone, but I’m so damn happy to be her mom!
So here is my list of a few of my own personal best and worst, joys and challenges of motherhood so far:
- JOY- How much more I laugh! Google it, and you will find sources that confirm that children laugh at least a little more than adults each day. This statistic really made me think about how little I laughed before Lu. You know, that really deep down belly laugh with tears. How often do you do really laugh like that as an adult? Well, I don’t know about your child, but mine is a weirdo, and she is always making me giggle. Examples include: referring to my chest as “big milk” (yes, really), wearing odd items on her head like purses, pushing herself around in a baby doll stroller, and forcing me to dance during the credits of her favorite movies. Psychology extols the health benefits of laughter, so I count this as a big positive to having little humans around!
- CHALLENGE- The lack of alone time. Here was a HUGE adjustment when I entered motherhood. You just don’t realize all of the things you do alone before you have kids, and I don’t mean days at the spa or nights out. I mean how much more of a freaking pain it is to run to Target on your way home from work with another body in your charge. How you might have to workout with a toddler climbing all over you. How even a shower is a break. It is difficult not to get irritated at times or fed up, especially if part of your self-care is solo time, like me. I’m sure people warned me, but I’m also sure I scoffed at the thought of not showering because you’re too needed. Silly me.
- JOY- Exploring! Because I want to show Lucy the world, that means I get to see the world more, too. Now that she is older and delights more in new experiences, I am more active in planning them. Plus, they are so much more fun! Check out some of our favorites here.
- CHALLENGE- Breastfeeding. Lu was born with a tongue-tie and had trouble latching because of this. Our hospital, despite being a baby friendly hospital, did not have a mom-friendly lactation consultant. She was rude and made me cry. She never helped with latch, but instead made me feel like I was starving my baby and guilted me into supplementing with formula when Lucy was less than 48 hours old. Sent home with this formula but no real skills for helping baby breastfeed, I suffered through hours of cluster-feeding and cracked, bleeding nipples, which I now attribute to Lucy’s poor latch. I can vividly recall sitting in my back yard, topless, crying because I was going on hour FOUR of nursing, and deeply regretting my choice to do so! Two years later, we are still going strong because my child loves it…but I can’t tell you I do! You always hear about the bonding breastfeeding allows and how mother’s adore it, but not all of us do, and that’s ok!
- JOY/CHALLENGE- Rediscovering me! This is getting long, so let me end on a challenge of motherhood that has emerged into a joy. Before Lucy, my happiness hinged on going out, drinking, socializing, shopping, etc. Life with a baby almost immediately halts the social life you had before kids, so I have been forced to re-examine what truly makes me happy. Surprisingly, it is none of those ⇑ things. I felt sad for a long time that I “lost” myself to motherhood (read more here), but it forced me to dig deep and get out of my comfort zone to learn and try new things that are more fulfilling to me (photography, writing), which is what I want to model to my daughter, anyway. It’s given me a path to begin on to living the most radical life I can imagine, and that is so exciting!
If you’ve made it this far… THANK YOU! Brevity is not a strength of mine, and I even cut this list short so I wouldn’t lose too many readers. If you are a new mom, I hope maybe this post has made you feel not so alone, that we all have struggles (real ones, not just funny ones), and that it is OK to not always love motherhood. But I also hope it has made you feel hopeful for the joys that come with parenthood and finding yourself as a mom. If you are a seasoned mom, maybe you have been able to relate :).
Tell me, what are your biggest joys and challenges of becoming a mother???