Thoughts on Motherhood

Let me share with you a conversation I’ve had, oh – I don’t know, 1,000 times since Zoe’s been born….

Person: So, how’s motherhood going? Are you absolutely loving it?
Me: Um…..it’s going….
Person: Zoe’s so adorable though…you must absolutely love being her mom.
Me: Um…yeah, she’s pretty adorable.
Person: So, what’s your favorite part about being a mom?
Me: Um, Zoe.

It’s not that I don’t like being a mom. It’s that motherhood didn’t come natural to me. That was the most shocking thing that ever happened to me. I assumed that motherhood would come natural. Marriage did. Marriage was easy, it was the easiest transition I’ve ever made. Maybe I assumed that motherhood was going to be easy because moms talk about it like it is. Don’t let them lie to you…it’s not.

You’re told that the moment you hold your newborn baby in your arms you feel this emotion that can only be described as a “mother’s love”, it’s powerful, overwhelming, and hits you like a ton of bricks.  So I pictured myself on the delivery bed, holding my precious, darling Zoe Grace for the first time after 9 months of anticipation, awash in this deliriously intoxicating new emotion.  Um, that didn’t happen. Instead what happened was they placed this darling little {bloody} girl in my arms and I just said, “Hello”, over and over and over again. The only way that I knew that I loved her was because I knew that I would die if something happened to her, and I would willingly die for her. That knowledge was instantaneous from the moment I found out I was pregnant. It became stronger when I held her in my arms. It took me hours after I had her to realize that I was a mom, and then it took me days to get used to that idea. To be honest, it took me weeks to FEEL love towards her. How’s that for shocking? A few weeks into it I was holding her and I remember looking down, this wave of emotion that I can’t honestly describe washed over me…and the knowledge that came with that wave was that I loved her, and it was powerful, overwhelming, and hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a different physical love than I’d ever experienced, it was a mother’s love.

Fast forward 8 months to this past Friday. Brad and I were driving in the car and Zoe was crying. It wasn’t even a full blown cry, it was way more of a dull whine than anything else…but it frustrated me, immensely. After huffing and puffing, fishing for pacifiers and snapping at Brad, I looked at the clock and realized it was 1:30pm. I’d forgotten to feed her lunch. My daughter was crying because I forgot to feed her. And then I cried the entire way home. Brad asked me why I was crying and I said, “Because I suck at being a mom.”

Now, I don’t know much….but I know that’s a lie. I don’t suck at being a mom. I’m a new mom, for sure. I’m learning as I go. There are times when I get incredibly frustrated. Like, I’m ready to walk out the door and quit. Honestly, Zoe’s like the easiest kid on the planet. For real. And yet, still, there are days when I want to walk out on this new gig. I mean, if she was colicky I probably would have given her up for adoption. Not really. That’s a joke. But…you understand, right? And then there are those times when I laugh hysterically at how funny she is, and she laughs back because she’s learning that she’s pretty darn funny. Times when I cry at how crazy I feel, and times when I cry because she just mastered some new trait. Just like any other mom, I sometimes rock at it….and I sometimes stink at it. But, none of that defines me as a mom.

I cried off and on for the whole weekend. I’ve talked to Brad about it several times. I’ve talked to God about it even more. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1) I had unrealistic expectations combined with the fact that I had no idea what to expect.

2) I expected her to pop out of me functioning like a 2 year old…or even better, a 7 year old.

3) If pregnancy affects every part of a woman’s body {which it does}, motherhood affects every part of your identity.

4) I decided that I never want to be a “helicopter mom” and so I went to the other extreme of being too laid back, which also doesn’t feel right.

5) I’ve done a fantastic job of not comparing Zoe to other babies. I’ve done a horrible job at not comparing myself to other moms.

6) I care too much about how people perceive me as a mom.

That’s too much to unpack in one blog, so I’m going to do a “Thoughts on Motherhood Part II” later this week, hopefully tomorrow. Actually, you’ll probably read about all of this again and again, because it’s not going to be solved overnight. There’s no picture today because Flickr isn’t working too well….hopefully tomorrow you’ll get to see some of the shots I took this weekend. There’s a few really good ones!

Have a wonderful day!

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15 responses to “Thoughts on Motherhood

  1. excellent. Looking forward to some time together this week. Love you!

  2. I tell my friends about your blog and when I do I say “I relate to what she says so much. I love hearing other people feel the way I do”. I have all of the same emotions and feelings. Your blog really helps me, it is really nice knowing someone else feels the same way. Esp when it comes to motherhood.

    • Heather….that’s EXACTLY why I write… you have no idea how much your comment means to me. It means that all the hours I spend writing in this little corner of the blogosphere has a purpose, and it’s fulfilling that purpose! That is so exhilarating! Seriously, thank you!

  3. I can totally relate. I didn’t get the “mother’s love” feeling right away either, but I have definitely grown into it. My husband did have it immediately, and we joke that he had the typically female reaction and I had the typically male reaction. Seven months into it, that matters less and less to me. I love Jacob now, I love him today, and I will always love him. He’s my peanut, I’m his momma, and nothing can ever change that.

    • Don’t be so hard on yourself Rebecca. I think Zoe is a very Blessed girl to have you for a Mom and Brad for a Dad. I think you are both terrific parents and I think that nobody, including “Parents” aren’t perfect. We all make mistakes with our Children, or wish we would have done something different. I think soemtimes we try so hard to do everything right..and…well..we weren’t made to do “everything” right. Not even where our Children are concerned. Even the Parents that really did do everything right, really didn’t do “everything” right. Rebecca, nobody does everthing right. I think the more Zoe grows, the more you are even going to realize that. And another thing, you were not purposefully neglecting your Daughter. I’m sure she, God, and Brad (and you) know that.
      Just wanted to tell you that. Hope you’re feeling better about the situation. Love you girl..

      P.S. I’m sure Zoebear forgives you…. 😉

    • That’s exactly what happened with Brad and me! He was like instantly super-dad….like he was born for it! Instantly in love with her, instantly assumed his role as dad….it was like he just knew what to do, and he had NO experience with kids before Zoe. I, on the other hand, have spent the better part of my life working with youth…and I was flabbergasted by a baby =) But you’re right….this far down the road, none of that matters. We’re the only mom’s our kids have. Now I just have to figure out how to fit into that skin!

  4. Whether you believe it or not, you’re amazing and you are doing an amazing job 🙂 When feeling bad, compare yourself to the many parents I have met teaching that could care less about their kid, send them to school dirty, hungry, without supplies or a lunch. The only thing I can tell you….you’re with Zoe a lot (which is awesome and I am totally jealous). Once I found some time for myself each week, I relaxed more and felt like I was a much better mother 🙂 Try to find some YOU time!

    • Ah! Great advice! It’s one of my biggest weaknesses…finding “me” time. Although, nap time does help, I just always feel like I’m looking at one of those sand things that keep time….watching it slip away

  5. Okay, this is why I love your blog so much–becuase you say what I think a lot of the time. Your six realizations are pretty close to how I sometimes feel. I just adore my baby and even though I did have one of those awe-inspiring moments when she was born, I still find it feels strange to tell people I’m a mom. It just doesn’t seem real for some reason. And there have been times that my Zoey has been crying and I can’t figure out what she wants and Greg (ever the voice of reason) will suggest trying something that makes me think, “Why didn’t I think of that? I suck as a mom!” The thing is, our lives change so drastically when we have a baby and aside from the physical aspect, there’s a HUGE mental and emotional change that really isn’t talked about a whole lot (except to label it post-partum depression, which it isn’t always). Just know you’re not alone. As a new mom, I’m trying to navigate through all of this too and I feel the same way as you.
    As for ‘me’ time–my me time comes in the form of an hour first thing in the morning before I get ready for work–from 5:00 to 6:00. It’s the only time available. Greg gets up with Zoey and gives her the first bottle and I scrapbook or do some writing or whatever. And let me tell you–I still feel guilty about taking it, even though I think every mom should have some–ESPECIALLY the new moms.

  6. If it makes you feel any better, you sound totally normal. Motherhood is stinkin’ hard. I’m expecting #7 and you’d think I have it all figured out. Well, I don’t. In fact, sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and walk out on this job. I think the thing that helps me is to realize that we are all just winging it. Some days it goes well, and some days not so much.

    Oh, and one time, I forgot to put a diaper on my baby. She was my fourth. I went to get her out of the car seat, thought she peed through her diaper again, but realized I hadn’t put a diaper on her at all. We all have days like that!

  7. You are doing a great job! Zoe loves you regardless of your short comings. Motherhood is hard and I think sometimes we judge ourselves too harshly. This quote is from Jeffrey R. Holland. I thought you would like it.

    “Mothers, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are, better than you are, and better than you have ever been. And if, for whatever reason, you are making this courageous effort alone, without your husband at your side, then our prayers will be all the greater for you. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you. We thank all of you, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God.

    May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—-no, especially—-when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.”

  8. Pingback: Thoughts on Motherhood Part II « Confessions of a Reluctant Housewife

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