What I thought I wanted
There are more aspects of motherhood that take my breath away and overwhelm my heart with emotions than I can count. I knew I would love being a mother, ever since I was a little girl. I wanted to grow up and be a mom, and travel the world to take photos. In my head motherhood was going to be easy because watching my mother care for seven of us, flawlessly, how hard could it be? Right? *Haha
What I didn’t see as a child, watching my mother take care of my siblings and I, home educate ALL of us K-12, provide Home Cooked Meals, and somehow have time for all of us without ever making us feel lost, (besides the fact she was and is a selfless-bad ass-warrior-goddess of 7 children) she had bad days too. She had moments of weakness, and emotional overwhelming exhaustion. I just didn’t know what it was.
When I was teaching early childhood education a lifetime before now, I was convinced that as soon as I got pregnant I would quit my job and be a stay at home mom, like my mom. I knew I didn’t want to home educate, solely because let’s be honest, this woman *points to myself* does NOT have the patience of the saint my mother had. I just don’t. But I was going to be a SAHM, and I was going to ROCK it. *Ha
What God New I needed
Flash forward a few years. I met my boss and his wife through the childcare center where I worked. I was offered a job through them that would get me back into Photography, Marketing and some writing. I was so excited! Heck Yes! Go back to the career path that lined up with what college education I had? Yes please! I didn’t know them well at the time, but well enough to Trust that God had a bigger plan for my life and that this was the path I was supposed to be walking down. (I won’t lie though. The night I came home from work and told my husband “Hey, I am going to quit my job and work for one of my students’ dads. Don’t worry, not the creepy dad.” He looked at me like I was crazy. But encouraged me to go after this next adventure.)
My current job is not a job to me. I mean yes, it has aspects that make it a “job” but this is my dream job. I love what I do, and I adore my boss and his family and the team I get to work with. So when I got pregnant with my daughter my heart was TORN for months about making the decision I thought I never wanted. How was I going to be a working mom? My mom didn’t do that. My husband’s mom didn’t do that! Most of the families in my life growing up had stay at home moms. How the heck was I going to be a working mom? How do you do this? *HELP*
What No One Asked For
Flash forward to 2020. At the beginning of the year, before you know, THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, I set a goal for this year to find ways to spend more time with Zoe. I felt guilty for working full time. I felt guilty for her spending more waking hours with her day care provider than she did with me. I felt guilty for choosing (and loving) a path that is not what my own mom chose. I felt guilty for allowing other people’s opinions of how I should be parenting to affect my own thoughts. I felt guilty for putting my child in daycare and not parenting my child during the day, while other moms were praying and begging God to give them a child. I felt guilty.
Well, I think God heard me asking for more time. But GOODNESS gracious. This is not exactly what I had in mind. I was thinking more like my schedule was changing and I got Wednesday’s off. Or Tuesday’s morning’s off for Mommy Daughter Donut Dates. Not, so much global pandemic, working from home 24/7, while your husband works from home 24/7, while you are both somehow watching her around the clock 24/7, and somehow managing to not go insane. Less of that.
But honestly? Can I just ask this question? WHAT IS HAPPENING OUTSIDE?
It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
Friends…We have had a week. I have struggled with being a mom this week. I have shoved emotions, fear, anxiety, depression and overall stress deep down and put on a brave face, because I thought if I expressed my real thoughts I was going to be met with a backlashing of “You should be thankful” , “Do you know how many women would do anything to have what you have?”, “You asked for more time with her!”, “Stop complaining!”, “Find the joy”, “CHOOSE JOY!”. . . and I didn’t have the energy to calmly respond with “Oh I am so thankful. I get extra snuggles in the middle of my day, I get to see her grow and learn and explore. I do know how many women would give anything for this, because I was one of those women for years. I did ask for more time. I am thankful I got more time. I am not complaining, I am being transparent and honest about motherhood. I have joy! There are MANY situations where I laugh and choose joy.”
Motherhood is HARD. It is okay to say those words. It is okay to be honest that there are days you hide under your kitchen table with your coffee to just have five minutes of her not clinging from you. It is okay to want to go on a run without her. It is okay to baby gate her upstairs with her dad so that you can answer an email without rereading it forty-three times. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to be transparent with other moms. It is okay to feel what you are feeling. Your feelings are valid. Your feelings and emotions are part of who you are. Friend!!! I see you, and I get you. Yes, I am lucky that my husband is here in the house with us, but let’s be real for a second, and I mean this with the most genuine love and truth.
Dads are just not moms.
Dads are often not the ones they cling to, ask for help from, call out for in the middle of the night, NEED to be touching every moment of the day. Dads are often not the ones they are throwing tantrums for. Dads are just not moms. Oh, her daddy adores her. Her daddy tries with an aggressive passion to love her and provide for her, to wait on her hand and foot, but sometimes, she just needs mom. And sometimes…that is just not fair.
You Aren’t perfect, but you are perfect for them
No one said this would be easy. Motherhood is hard. As soon as you think you have a schedule, you finally get her to eat food, you figure out her behaviors and sleep. She is diagnosed with RSV, or Asthma, or is cutting teeth, or changed her mind or got scared. While you are just desperately trying to figure her out she is desperately trying to tell you she just needs you.She doesn’t need a perfect mom, she needs her mom. Who was made to be her mom. Who is perfect for her. No, this is not easy. Some days, she figures out how to open the front door, found scissors, painted with yogurt, danced in the dog’s water bowl, and aggressively hit your only surviving nerve until you cried…but you know what?
You will get up tomorrow, probably after another sleepless night because of anxiety, stress or a child dealing with anxiety and stress, and you will do it again! You will love her fiercely. You will find cold coffee in the microwave twice. You will take five times as long as normal to send one work email. You will figure out what version of her you get that day. You will rejoice when she naps. You will show up. Because you are a badass. Because YOUR HUMAN NEEDS YOU. Mama? You are fierce, and you are loved. Even on your bad days. You are not alone, and it is okay to ask for help and to say that this is hard!
You’ve got this!