Dude! Facebook’s bumming me out lately. No, I’m not talking about the compare and despair phenomenon that leaves folks like me in a puddle on the kitchen floor. I’m talking about the seeming onslaught of Mommy blog articles lamenting the struggles of #momlife.
Like many moms, I follow a host of mommy blogs. Stay at home mom blogs. Crafty mommy blogs. Toddler mommy blogs. I’ve got it all covered. Like many, my mornings are spent giving Facebook a quick scroll as I drink coffee and make breakfast for my wee one. Lately, this has left me feeling a bit sour. Link after link pops up with titles that clearly spell out the trials and tribulations of motherhood.
- The meltdowns.
- The lack of sleep.
- The never ending todo lists.
- The unhelpful spouses.
- The helpful spouses who still just don’t get it.
- The kids who are slowly trying to kill us.
All of it. None of it is untrue. Yet, somehow, after skimming the third article, I feel overworked and under appreciated.
I get it. The bombardment of #soblessed posts has left too many moms wondering why they’re the only ones feeling like they’re constantly sinking. I’ve yet to encounter a more lonely feeling than sitting at home with an infant who simply will not stop wailing and feeling like everyone else has this motherhood thing figured out and you’re just an epic fail. Or scrolling Facebook in the middle of the night after you’ve had yet another tango with your toddler who won’t sleep and realizing everyone else is in bed… because they’re good moms who have figured out how to get their kid to sleep. I’ve taken the unshowered, pajama clad walks around the neighborhood with my kid in the stroller and stared enviously at the put together moms I saw passing me by. What do they know that I don’t? And then I’ve gone home, scrolled some mommy blogs and realized that I’m exactly where I should be… and likely doing far better than I give myself credit for. So I understand the need for these articles.
All of us, at one time or another (sometimes multiple times an hour) need to be reminded that the glossy pictures we see on Facebook are just the surface of mom life. The women we see who clearly have it all figured out and are sailing through momhood with nary a self doubt are actually struggling just like we are. (I laugh as I think of the specific woman in question that I’m thinking about. I foolishly lived in jealous fear of her and her momhood prowess for months only to accidentally stumble upon a friendship with her and realize she’s no different than I am. The same fears. The same self doubt. The same sense of being overwhelmed. Lesson learned.) I’m not saying these articles are untrue or unneeded. They absolutely are!
If today is not your day, your week, your month or even your year, you are not alone and the collective we totally gets it. Keep on trudging, mama. You’re doing fabulously.
If, however, you need to be reminded of the good that makes motherhood the joy that it can be, this is the post for you.
Top 10 Reasons #momlife is #SoWorthIt
1- The Smiles: Sometimes I see that smile all day. Sometimes I get a rare glimpse every 3 hours because life is just doing my kid wrong over and over that day. But every time, no fail, that smile slays me. Why? Well, who doesn’t love to see their kid happy? Duh. But, really, have you looked at a kid smile big? It’s a true, genuine display of pure unadulterated happiness. No self consciousness. No “smile with your mouth closed because your teeth are weird looking” thoughts. Just pure joy. Who doesn’t need a reminder every so often to stop sweating the small stuff and be happy. (Disclaimer: that smile is often quickly replaced by tears when the “small stuff” is suddenly threatening to ruin your kid’s entire life)
2- The Milestones: I’m not talking about how early your kid crawls or how many words they can say by the time they’re 3. I’m talking about the little, daily milestones that no one would notice but you and your little one. The first time he can put his dish in the sink. Realizing he couldn’t do that puzzle last week. Seeing him struggle with fixing a train track and succeeding. Watching a kid take his toy and seeing his little brain working to figure out what to say.. rather than resorting to tears or pushing. The first time you walk to daycare without having to remind him 212 times that he has to hold your hand when you cross the street. These are the moments that stop me in my tracks and remind me that I’m doing something right and he’s working hard at life as well.
3- The Unconditional Love: Disclaimer for this one– last week I was informed that my son likes the neighbor’s mama more than his. That said, pay attention the next time your kid looks up at you. Stop and take in their face when they see you first thing in the morning. That’s love at its purest and that look makes every hour spent drowning in the world of “I’m not good enough” and “this kid is going to be the death of me” worth it.
4- The Purpose: I’m not talking about living for your child or making them the be all and end all of your world. Lord knows I’ve struggled with that and have recently made a conscious decision to get a life outside of my kid. Still, there’s a purpose that comes from raising another human. An immediate answer for the question of “why” you keep on keeping on even when it feels insurmountable. Little people are relying on you. Your little people. There’s no greater feeling, in my mind, than the sense of purpose that comes from raising a tiny human to be a respectful adult.
5- The Sudden Willingness to be Silly: Perhaps this doesn’t apply to everyone. But, I’m a shy, quiet, socially awkward lady. Rarely does pure silly come out of me. And even more rarely does it appear in public. My son is a 2.5 year old crazy person who lives to be silly and loves nothing more than getting ridiculous with mama. He’s also the first person in 34 years of life who brings that out in me. He’s the first person who overrides my feelings of self consciousness and compels me to get on the floor and be a little nutty and possibly even roar at him in public. Because, apparently that’s the greatest thing in the whole damn world. This silliness in me is something I didn’t know I missed until It showed itself with him.
6- The Appreciation for Sleep: Yes, yes I know. You’re tired. Believe you me, I get it. My little small fry is 2.5 and still rarely makes it through the night. And strangely, this is actually not the worst it’s been with him. Honest to god, I can probably count the amount of nights I’ve gotten more than 4 hours of sleep in row since he arrived on two hands. But, the flip side of this exhaustion is what I experienced this morning (after my guy spent the night at grandma’s). THE GLORY OF A FULL NIGHT OF SLEEP. Before Mateo, I was simply unable to recognize the divine nature of sleeping for seven hours in a row.
7- The Empathy: I cared about the world before Mateo arrived. Absolutely. But not quite as deeply as I do now. Seeing news stories of children in crisis, families struggling to get by, schools closing because of lack of funds, and people fighting for justice for our kids slays me in a way it never has. That child in crisis is someone’s baby. And, for the first time, I know what not being able to take your baby’s pain away feels like. That family struggling could be us at any moment and I can practically feel the late night worry they must be experiencing. Motherhood has opened the flood gates of empathy in a way I never expected.
8- Internet Friends: Wait. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. It’s no secret that it takes a village to raise a child. Sadly, however, many people’s villages are spread over the country and family isn’t as readily available as it was once was. Finding mom friends you click with is not nearly as easy as it sounds. College friends grow up and move away. I had some wonderful work friendships that inspired laughter daily. Since leaving to stay home with M, I’ve not seen them more than a couple of times. Life happens and it can be lonely. Bring on the world of Facebook mom groups. Sure, yea, an entire article could (and has) been written about the drama that can EASILY take over in these forums. Still, there’s a sense of shared purpose and fellowship that I know eases the struggle for many a mom. I mean, where else are you gonna turn to post a picture of the nasty rash your child has developed before asking for some suggestions for relief until your doctor can see your kid? Where else are you gonna turn when your everything is handed a truly upsetting medical or psychological diagnosis? I’ve seen these groups rally like no one’s business behind these mamas and I can only hope it’s provided some relief and comfort. Who else cares that you’re in Target alone for the first time in a year? Guarantee your internet mom friends give a damn and salute your solo shopping excursion.
9- Watching the Growth of a Personality: Hands down, the coolest part of parenthood has been watching my son turn from a squishy little newborn into a person with opinions and likes and dislikes and a unique personality. Watching him develop into his own person has been mind blowing. He’s shy, yet silly. He’s cautious in public, yet tries to end his life through daredevil stunts at home on a daily basis. He rarely acts without thinking first… especially in social situations. He’s smart as all get out, yet as illogical as they come. He’s obsessed with whether he has a hangnail at any given moment and is currently holding firm to the statement that his name is Potato. No one is really sure why. But that’s my guy. And watching him develop into who he will eventually become is a gift unlike any other.
10- The Gut Wrenching Love: It’s been said that having kids is like removing your own heart and letting it wander the world outside your body. This sounds exactly right to me. The level of love I feel for this hooligan is absurd. Simply absurd. Yet so wonderful. Five days from now he begins at a new daycare. His first “real” daycare. This has occurred to me daily … actually many times a day for weeks. Why? Worry. The worry produced by a love that feels like it might physically overtake you sometimes. Will he be fine? Absolutely. Will be likely enjoy it? For sure. Will I cry? Oh god, yea. Probably more than once. My unfortunate friends (and probably those internet friends I spoke about earlier) will be bombarded with my need for reassurance that he’s fine all day. I will pick him up at the end of the day and be almost genuinely amazed that he is really, truly fine. While insane, that’s a love for someone I’ve never felt before and I am so grateful to experience it.
There you have it. My top ten list.
Parenthood is hard. It’s hard for us all. It is often times thankless. No one is handing out medals for figuring out how to entertain your toddler while ALSO showering. And, I’ll be the first to admit it. My sister took Mateo to grandma’s house yesterday and is keeping him until Saturday and I nearly cried tears of joy. And then took a nap. But it’s also the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow and the jelly to life’s peanut butter. It’s simply the greatest thing I’ve experienced and sometimes I just need a reminder when it feels relentless.
-sticker makeover courtesy of my toddler-