Y’all, being a mom is hard, like really hard. I know that is not breaking news to most people, but it is still worth being said. Everyone tries to tell you when you are pregnant about the changes motherhood will bring, but you can’t fully understand it until you are in the thick of it.
Being a classic millennial, I blame my mom. Sorry, Mom! My mom was one of those unicorn women. She absolutely glowed while she was pregnant and loved every minute of it. She has been known to compare her 4 all natural childbirths and breastfeeding to “rolling off a log”. She worked part time for our family dairy while being a stay at mom home. When we were little she had no family in New Mexico and a husband who worked long hours. She made sure we were always dressed for the best and matching, of course! All the while, she made my childhood unbelievably magical. She was super woman. She was a natural at motherhood. She is also the most selfless person I know, and still is.
So when I got pregnant, I assumed it would be the same for me as it was for my mom. That’s what I get for assuming! But I am not my mother. I am not that selfless. I love my career and need time for me. Also, until I had my own children I didn’t really like kids that much. So to say motherhood hit me like a ton of bricks is an understatement. Especially after having my second daughter.
My absolute hardest time was when my daughter was about 3 months old. We were on a family trip for my sister’s graduation. Our daughter was extremely colicky which we later found out was actually acid reflux. My husband had appendicitis surgery a month before and couldn’t lift anything heavier than a gallon a milk. I was feeling extremely depressed. The final straw was getting mastitis the day of my sister’s graduation and ending up in the ER instead of enjoying the graduation party. All I can say is thank God for my family. My Aunt stayed with me at the hospital and my sister in law and oldest niece took care our baby while my husband had our toddler. The whole thing kicked my butt. At least being with all moms and dairymen, they understood better than most what I was going through and were more sympathetic than normal!
I hate to sound like a complainer. And I don’t say all of this to get any kind of sympathy or attention. I am sharing my journey because I have talked to so many other mothers who feel the exact same way. In those early months with our new baby, all I could think of was how lots of other mothers do this and they make it seem so easy! I have so much more help than other moms. My family is extremely supportive. My husband helps more than most. (Don’t tell him I said that. I don’t want him getting a big head about how great he is!) Even with all the help, I felt like I was drowning. I thought back to my mom and my childhood, wondering how she did it all when she had it so much harder than me?! I continually thought (and still do sometimes) that I am just not cut out for motherhood. I felt like I was letting everyone down especially my daughters. This was not what I thought motherhood would be like back before I had kids. But then again nothing about motherhood is what I expected. It is so much more in very way! Yes, there is more hardships than I thought, but there is also so much more love than I could have ever imagined. The first time I heard my daughters laugh is easily two of the best days of my life.
What I have come to realize in the recent months is that yes, lots of mom have it so much harder than me and still make motherhood seem so natural. But everyone has different strengths and struggles. As my mom points out during times I feel inadequate, I have lots of other areas of my life that I excel in. Areas that other people might have a hard time dealing with. That doesn’t make me any less of a mom. My mom continually tells it’s okay to need and ask for help. She also reminds me that everything was not perfect for her either when I was little. But I was child and I remember all the great times not the hard days. With those words echoing in my mind, I am learning to lean on my support system more in my times of need. And most importantly, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself about needing help through my struggles. As moms, we all want our children to be happy and to have a healthy family life. And this looks different for every person. So my challenge to you is, if you need more help, just ask. It is okay to have a hard time being a mom and it is even more okay to need help.
Udderly in love with my daughters,
New Mexico Milkmaid