Some honesty. There are times, many times, when I just don’t enjoy every moment of motherhood.
And then I feel guilt.
I just do. I do. I do. I do. Ack. I hate mom guilt. But here’s why: I feel guilty because today I was super stressed out because my twelve and ten year old were fighting. Again. Arguments over the Xbox or blanket forts or who looked at someone with a wrong look exhaust me immensely. Like they drive me crazy and I want to walk out of the house for a moment and scream. Over two preteen boys picking at each other. Now, of course, I blame it on the end of July and summer boredom and them just deciding that today is the day to pick at each other for no reason. And I will tell you – these moments drive my keep it together mom ability to the limit. I actually have to walk out of the room when the goal of the two of them is to see who could bother the other more.
And then I feel more guilt. There it is. That pesky annoying never-ending I wish I could nip-it-in-the-bud mom guilt. Because I’ve been told my whole motherhood journey to enjoy the moments. Or the kids grow fast. Or it could be worse so be grateful for all you have now.
And I get it.
I have been in some of the it could be worse places in life. And they are really hard. And my could be worst moments aren’t even in the super worse spaces.
So sometimes I feel guilt when I get overwhelmed in the spaces that we so easily label as places we should be grateful for. I start to get after myself and wonder why I can’t just do three deep yoga breaths and come up with some cool project that was on Pinterest that will resolve the conflict between the two of them. Or I start to tell myself if only you were a better mom and then that if only causes my frustration to spiral even more.
As I’m thinking, typically there will be another irritation, by the way. Or something will spill. Or there will be an unexpected phone call. Or we will be late. And all of those normal things, that are frustrating, add up and up and up and then it results in a crockpot of emotions of guilt, frustration, overwhelm and me wanting to be a really good mom but feeling like she’s failing because not only am I not enjoying the moments that I have been told are short and precious BUT also because I cannot seem to deal with the chaos.
You know, the truth is that sometimes when we look back at our lives we realize how important the moments are but when we’re in the midst of them we have to make it through. So often the really good advice about enjoying every moment comes from moms that have MADE IT THROUGH.
You know how hindsight is so clear? Well, that goes for motherhood as well.
Please do not try to enjoy every single moment.
I am not going to tell a new mom who has a colicky baby who is wearing a path in her carpet from pacing over and over who wishes for just a night of sleep and wants that baby to stop crying to enjoy every moment because that baby will grow up. Because you know some truth? In that moment we WANT that baby to grow up just enough to get over colic. It doesn’t mean we don’t love the baby in that moment or that we’re not grateful — it just MEANS we are real. Those moments are hard enough. And trying to think that we are to enjoy and suck the awesome out of something that is miserable is way way way too much pressure.
Same goes for puke that gets in the van OR calls with teachers over homework or attitudes OR waiting up for the teenager to get home because they are ignoring your texts and are late. Or any of those crazy frustrating moments of motherhood. Even the normal ones like two boys, ahem in my house, who have decided that today is the day that there brother is their nemesis.
Motherhood is so much about balancing pressure and giving and loving and we all need to collectively sigh and agree – no more of this enjoy every moment that we either believe or tell other moms to attain.
I have learned this in my twenty-two years of motherhood. And I’ve also realized that I will probably not be able to realize how great motherhood was until they are grown and I get some sleep. Perspective is everything. And in the moments where I am ready to pull my hair out because it’s stressful it does not mean I am a good mom or not grateful for the kids. It means I am real. A real person raising real humans with real emotions and real choices. And more often than not, their choices and their needs don’t match with mine in that moments and because I’m the mom I am the one dealing. And that is hard.
So once, again, don’t try to enjoy every moment. You will be miserable.
Instead try your best.
That is what I want to tell new moms. I want to just hug them and tell them to just try their best. I don’t want them to worry, but I know they will and THAT IS OKAY.
Here’s what matters:
Show up for your family. Love them. Go outside and take a walk when needed. Have ice cream and chocolate available as well. And know that even on the worst and hardest days you are still a really great mom.
From me, the mom that wore that path in the carpet walking her colicky baby many years ago, to you.