Wednesday, February 21, 2018

You don't have to enjoy every single second of being a mom

Maya: 13 months old

Recently I had a conversation with a first-time mom whose baby was a few weeks old. She was deep in the trenches of adjusting to life with a newborn and she was finding breastfeeding to be extremely difficult, and she was driving herself nuts pumping every few hours because she wasn't producing enough milk. She had that crazed/teary look that a mom gets when she's freaked out about her milk supply. (Been there!!!) She was incredibly sleep deprived and was on the brink of tears several times while speaking with her. First, she was confiding in me about how hard it was. Then, she told me she read this article online which said something along the lines of "you must enjoy it because it goes by so fast and you will never get this time back again..."

AS IF the first-time mom needed the added pressure of thinking she should be "enjoying" every single minute of it, especially when she's having a hard time getting through the day.

We moms do this a lot. First, you're not allowed to ever openly complain about how hard motherhood is. Or else people will look at you like you're crazy. And if you do, the complaint has to be followed with: "But of course, I love my kids so much". (Duh.) Do we really need to say that we love our kids? OF COURSE we love our kids. The result is that so many moms suffer in silence and they have absolutely nowhere to vent any frustrations because nobody wants to be honest. Whatever happened to just having a good vent??? Without being judged for it. Or without being questioned for it.

As a mom of two children (who are 4 years apart), I can attest to the fact that yes, children do grow up so incredibly fast. And lately, I'm all about trying to enjoy the present moment. But I don't like this shitty societal standard that moms "should" be enjoying every single second of it, and the implication that if you don't that you're a bad mom and/or you regret being a parent.

I can just imagine my mom friend deliriously pumping at 4am (next to her snoring husband) and feeling bad about herself because she's not enjoying EVERY minute like the article said.

That day, I told her: "You don't have to enjoy every minute of it. Sometimes it's just really hard." Her expression to what I said is something that I can't put into words. It was a reaction of relief. Of an honest understanding and acknowledgement. Somewhat of a secret code among moms. I basically told her it's okay to feel like that.

I, for one, do not miss those newborn days. Of course I think back to how cuddly Veda was and the total bliss of her falling asleep on my shoulder...but I certainly do not miss: waking up every 45 minutes, colicky crying, postpartum bleeding, being insanely preoccupied with my milk production, and having zero energy recovering from birth while simultaneously taking care of and breastfeeding a newborn.

Rather than preaching to mothers that they should be enjoying every single millisecond of parenthood (particularly when they're going through a rough time), I think it is more helpful to see the positives and negatives in each phase. And acknowledge the fact that some phases of child-rearing are harder than others.

That is all.

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5 comments

  1. These words are so beautiful and I think you speak from the hearts of many mothers. I had a lot of trouble with breastfeeding, which made my first weeks of motherhood to hell. (Sorry, but there are no other words for this time) After a few weeks I decided to search for a good formula, which I could feed without thinking, that it is unhealthy for my son, because I heard so much bad stuff about feeding formula. I found a good organic one from Hipp on https://myorganicformula.com/hipp/organicformula - this really safed my sanity. Today this bad time is just an old memory. To all mothers: please, do whats best for your baby AND you. You are the only one, who can decide whats good for you and your baby!

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  2. Thanks for putting it out in black and white there. Am not a mother but see so many of my friends who are moms undergo this and keep trying to remind them to enjoy the moment and take what comes, the good and the not so good times, because there will be both in plenty!

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  3. So true, the best way to really enjoy life is to know everything comes with some good and some bad, and it's all part of the package!

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  4. Amen. I'm not even a mom, but I think it's like with anything you enjoy and love, even your favourite activity, gets a little taxing when you have to do it 24/7!

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