April 17, 2012
Two years ago, I became a mother for the second time. I can distinctly remember rushing to the hospital, getting wheeled into the delivery room and pushing Nicholas out within minutes after being admitted. It’s been an incredible ride since then. Nicholas is undoubtedly my most ‘hard headed’ son. His smile can light up your world, his cry can make your heart melt and his whine can make you go crazy.
Yes, you read that right.
I just admitted that my children make me crazy.
It’s not commonplace to discuss depression and children in the same sentence. It’s also rare to hear a mother complain that her days are tirelessly filled with cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, feeding, entertaining and disciplining.
I would like to say that since becoming a mother I’ve had a greater purpose in my life…that I’m incredibly happy and that I’m fulfilled professionally, physically and personally.
But that would be a lie.
The truth is – is that motherhood challenges your psyche. It makes you feel a variety of emotions daily: happiness, contentment, love, fear, sadness, joy….Despite the hundreds of emotions one can choose to bear, the biggest emotion you feel as a mother is – guilt.
I am rarely on the computer once my children wake up. If they watch television for longer than half an hour, I feel guilt because they aren’t engaged in a mentally challenging activity. If it’s sunny outside, I feel guilt if they don’t go to a park where they can run and play. If they are hungry, I feel guilt if I make them a quick mac-n-cheese. If I’m working or training, I feel guilt I’m not at home.
Besides guilt, at times, being a mother is not always fulfilling.
Right now I have several work projects I need and want to complete. I’ve taken a step back from my nonprofit and writings because my time is limited, especially when the children are awake. While I have a husband who also assists in the childrearing, he doesn’t match the amount of housework, cooking and activities I perform daily.
While I’m near family, I rarely can count on a babysitter.
Sometimes life gets so tangled that it’s hard to remember when you had your professional ambitions or a romantic relationship with your husband.
It’s not about balance. And that’s another truth about motherhood.
Even though you’re sleep-deprived, you’re expected to be energetic every day for your kids. Even though your body has been through a traumatic birthing experience, you’re expected to have an amazing body post-baby. Even though you’re the main caregiver, in many cases with working moms, you’re also expected to generate income.
Another truth: all mothers compare themselves with other mothers.
Naturally there are other mothers you contend with – the ones who are outwardly ‘perfect’ – who nurse until their child is two, who doesn’t believe in vaccinations or keeps an impeccable household. Then there are mothers who have a six-pack within six weeks post-partum or have two nannies while they maintain a high-power job…of course there are really bad moms, but who wants to compare yourself to that?
Two years ago I gave birth to an amazing little fella. He makes my heart sing. He truly does. It’s incredible how the birth of a child is like the wake of your world. Nothing will ever be the same again.
There’s no sleeping in. No spontaneous travels. No late night partying..
But while there are many restrictions, the trade-off is much greater. The love you feel is endless. The desire to be a better person rises. The word, “unconditional” rings loud.
The truth about motherhood is that it’s incredibly challenging, but the reward and fulfillment of being a mother is in direct measurement of its task.
There is no greater job than being a great mother. That’s the biggest truth…. I never knew my strength, until I became a mother.