Motherhood is hard.
Bed-sharing is hard. You’re constantly kicked in the ribs or shoved to the edge of your own bed. You never fall into a deep sleep and your stiff body is restricted to the same spot, not daring to move. A trip to the bathroom is a risky disruption and you silence even the mere thought of a sneeze. You worry if your baby is growing too attached.
Sleeping apart is hard. You worry if your baby is okay without you. You sleep with your eyes wide open, glued to the monitor. Watching every move. You worry when you hear noise, and then, you worry when you don’t. Another trip to the nursery to make sure your baby is breathing. You miss their smell. You worry you’re not bonding enough.
Breastfeeding is hard. You’re attached to a baby around the clock. You don’t know how much milk they’re getting and you worry about your supply. You have to change your diet and tie yourself to a pump and all of its parts that need washed. Your nipples are sore and cracked and mastitis is the devil. You wonder if this is all worth it.
Bottle feeding is hard. You have to measure and prepare it just right and all of the bottle parts are a nightmare to wash, over and over again. Formula is expensive. You feel awful guilt over your baby’s tummy troubles and question whether you’re giving the best, most nutritious start. You wonder if you and your baby are missing out on a beautiful, intimate experience.
Having an only child is hard. You have to teach your child what they would learn from a sibling. You are it. People assume you’re having another and you constantly face their questions. You think of the legacy you’re leaving behind and whether or not your child will be alone when they’re older. You feel guilty.
Having more than one child is hard. You’re outnumbered. Someone is sick or working on it at all times and sleep schedules are never synchronized. You want to make sure each has their own experiences but you’re spread thin financially. You constantly multitask to make sure everyone has what they need and wonder if you’re in over your head. You feel guilty.
Having kids close together is hard. You’re pregnant for an eternity and your body does its best to recover. You’re changing diapers at all times and coordinating a simple outing is like coordinating a trip to Disney World. It’s hard to parent younger kids who are needier and going through challenging phases at the same time. You’re exhausted.
Having kids spaced apart is hard. Your freedom and routine are turned upside down and your body isn’t used to this kind of brutality. You’re overwhelmed by starting from scratch all over again and worry about the adjustment. It’s hard to parent kids who are going through completely different phases at the same time. You’re exhausted.
Staying at home is hard. It’s lonely and isolating and you miss adult conversation about adult things. There is no break from the looming housework or from wiping runny noses (or butts). You wonder if you should be doing more to contribute financially. Life can be so chaotic and unpredictable that you struggle to stay present and engaged. You’re overwhelmed.
Working outside of the home is hard. It’s a marathon just to get out the door in the morning. Your stress level hits the roof when you have to use your precious PTO…again. Racing back and forth day after day wears you thin, and you miss your family dearly. Life can be so chaotic and unpredictable that you struggle to stay present and engaged. You’re overwhelmed.
Being in a relationship is hard. Quality time with your partner is a struggle when you’re raising tiny humans who need so much of you. Intimacy is the furthest thing from your mind. It’s exhausting to always have to get on the same page. You’ve taken on the nurturing role for the whole household and feel like everyone’s happiness rests on your shoulders.
Being single is hard. You don’t always have the help you need. You hate feeling like a burden when you ask the same family and friends for help. You long for a partner. It’s exhausting to be both mom and dad to your kids. You’ve taken on the nurturing role for the whole household and feel like everyone’s happiness rests on your shoulders.
Motherhood is hard. All of it. And no one gives you an award.
There is no magical script for doing it right.
So if it’s going to be hard no matter what…
You do you.
Do what’s best for you and your family. Do what you value. Do what’s important. Do what you believe in. Do what feels right. Do what’s worth it. Do what you want. Do what makes you happy.
Lots of people will have lots to say
But they aren’t you.
What your friends did is great for your friends.
What your sister did is great for your sister.
What your mom did is great for your mom.
But they aren’t you.
So you do you.
So the happiness can outweigh the hard.
So the joy can outweigh the struggle.
So your sanity can outweigh the difficulty.
So you can soak in this amazing miracle you’ve created.
Because for all the things that are hard,
the love outweighs it all.
You know your heart.
You know the way.
You do you.