I wish someone had told me. It’s like the world’s best kept secret. Maybe no one tells you the real truth because then maybe people wouldn’t have kids. But I’ll let you in on the secret…
Motherhood is really. Fucking. Hard.
I knew becoming a parent would be tough. I knew babies weren’t easy and you didn’t get much sleep. I knew about colic and the 24/7 care that babies required.
But I didn’t know it would be this hard.
Truly, I didn’t expect it to be like this. Maybe knowing it wouldn’t have helped anyway, in the way that something someone tells you doesn’t have the same weight as personal experience.
I’m past my ninth month of sleep deprivation. I can count the nights I’ve gotten more than 6 hours of sleep in a row on one hand. Add this into newborn colic, infant illness, teething, baby mood swings, being on call every second of every day, and zero time for self-care, and it is turning out to be one hell of a year. It was a year I wasn’t prepared for, and didn’t see coming. It’s been hard. So hard.
But here’s the other amazing truth about being a mom… it is the best thing ever. Admittedly, I don’t always have this opinion at 3 am when I feel like crying and inwardly pray to my baby “Please, oh please, just go to back to sleep.” I might not feel this lovey dovey when he’s fighting his nap and I want to cry because his 30-minute-to-the-t nap time is some of the only time I get to myself during the day. But when I call my friend in a desperate attempt at adult conversation and pour out my aching, tired heart, and she tells me that sometimes it’s hard to make that connection with a difficult baby, my immediate and heart felt answer is “But I love being a mom.” And truthfully, I do.
It boggles me that even as broken as I had felt in that moment, my honest response was still one of love. I had surprised myself. I’ve never loved anything more than my little boy and the path of motherhood I am crawling walking on. I’ve had my lowest days as a mom that I’ve ever had in my life. But I’ve also had my highest. Having that realization was enough to get me through that day.
I just needed someone to tell me that it was going to be okay. That I was okay. That I am doing okay. I guarantee that every mom everywhere needs those words at one time or another. Babies are so hard. We don’t know what they want because they can’t tell us, and in between the cries and hours of rocking them alone in the dark, it can be hard to remember that we are everything to them, and that they aren’t doing it on purpose.
The next day was more than a new day and a fresh start for me. It was one of the best days I’ve had as a mother yet. It was full of giggles and hugs, a long nap for both of us and my son’s wet, open mouth “kisses” on my cheek. Those unexpected hours make up for the many dark ones. I wish I could capture that light I felt in a glass ball so that my heart could remember it during the heavy hours. Good days or bad, time passes so quickly. I would have to agree with everyone that always tells a new mom “Enjoy these moments, they go so fast.” Dark nights might feel like an eternity, but as I’m here almost a year later, I can testify that they pass in the blink of an eye.
So to all the tired, dark-circled, hungry, lonely moms out there: It’s fucking hard. I know. But you are enough. You are doing so well, and you are a really great mom. I wouldn’t lie to you, would I?