Sunday, March 11, 2012

Confess All (motherhood style)

I write hundreds of "I love my children so much and here's the 1,000 reasons why-vomit-barf" posts. So just allow me this one. Please.

When I first became a mother, it was to a beautiful little girl with a lot of health problems.

I thought- WOW- this is all SO HARD because of all the surgeries, oxygen at home, g-tube feedings. If only I had a healthy baby, then this would all be sooooooooooooo much easier.

Then nineteen magical months later, I had a son. Healthy, robust, strong- this kid had it all going on.

It was then I realized something so simple it's a wonder it took me so long.

It's not having a child with extra health needs that's so difficult. No, the problem is motherhood.

Motherhood is hard.

You spend all day keeping them happy/entertained/fed/changed/alive.The day ends and you have significantly less hair and significantly more wrinkles.

The bathed and fed little cherubs are put in bed and within minutes of falling asleep-you miss them desperately and want to wake them up to see just one more smile.

If you spend all day away from them you feel guilty.Yet if you stay with them all day you feel guilty that you need an escape.

You spend the first months of their lives so sleep deprived that hallucinations start occurring involving you on a deserted island with nothing but a soft bed, a pillow and a down comforter.

When they're sick, you end up cleaning up vomit and diapers-the smell of which sends you scrambling to get your "I'M DONE HAVING CHILDREN" document notarized.

When they get shots, you're the one that gets bitten-kicked-screamed at while they're the one that gets the sticker.

You think- with the next phase surely this gets easier- when they can walk on their own/when they're in school/when they can make some of their own decisions/when they can make me dinner.

And yet each stage arrives with its own struggles, fears and hardships.

No matter what flavor of ice cream is in that cone you're holding, it WILL melt all over your hands and fingers in a sticky disaster.
Motherhood is hard.
Constant sacrifice is required. Love needs to be administered constantly- no matter how you feel in the moment.

It all starts with the birth. You're the one pushing a baby the size of a small turkey out of your business and yet the baby gets all the credit for the day- by simply existing.

While you get more and more ragged, the baby gets cuter and cuter until your infant son is the handsome executive that you can only hope will remember you on that one brief 24 hour period dedicated to mothers once a year.

Your schedule becomes your child's schedule and snazzy cars get traded in for mommobiles.

Once flat stomachs resemble helium balloons far past their prime. Spa dates now are days that you AREN'T covered in spit-back-in-your-face baby food (carrots, of course)

Your diaper bag becomes your purse and "stylish and trendy" are exchanged for "how many extra outfits will this hold?"

There's something about months of winter, stuck in the house with two small children- alternately sick with every cocktail sickness imaginable- that makes you pin a picture of the animals that eat their young on your Pinterest board titled "Inspiration".

You lose your identity as a person and enter your role as constant worrier- will he stop breathing in the middle of the night? Will he make any friends in school? Will he drive safely? Will he realize he shouldn't marry her and should stay with me forever?

Fancy date nights out with your husband are trumped by a quiet evening in your bubble bath and a book because a sitter was just too hard to find.

Your life is turned upside down and becomes the very picture of agony one teething incident at a time.
There's truly no doubt about it. It's not that we're bad mothers. It's just that it's so stinkin' hard that it's no wonder that all children grow up needing therapy.

Good thing we have these humble things called blogs to commiserate....and chubby arms belonging to the little people in our life to wrap lovingly around our necks in a thank-you-for-taking-care-of-me hug (right before yanking and quite effectively breaking our favorite necklace stopped only seconds before getting to the hoop earrings)

This is why God made babies so cute. So that we would keep going

even when it is hard.
What do YOU think is hard about motherhood?

22 comments:

  1. Love this post! I would say the hardest thing about motherhood for me right now is when you all get the stomach flu at the same time, taking care of your sick babies while you are sick yourself is soooo hard! Although if you ask me this in another 5 years, I am pretty sure it would be something completely different :-) By the way...this just happened in our household...yuck!

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  2. oooh I didn't even think of that! I hope you all get better FAST! And yes, I'm sure in 5 years I'll have an entirely different list of complaints as well. lol.

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  3. Yes, yes, yes, to all of the above!!

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  4. Okay so....here goes.
    Motherhood. I've been doing it for 13 years now, always with it in the back of my head that is HAS to get easier. I have spent many a night in a battle of wills with a beautiful blonde haired blue eyed angel of a boy who is almost every bit as stubborn as I am. And I thought good grief. It doesn't get much more frustrating or harder than this. I have had my heart thoroughly broken by my son and spent days laying in bed crying because I simply could not believe that my sweet baby could even THINK of the things he has said to me, let alone actually say them. And I thought, it can't possibly get worse than this. I've given lectures, and yelled, and given spankings. I've gone through child birth three times and have handed my precious girl over for open heart surgery. I've been puked on, peed on, cleaned up poop, picked up dirty laundry and dishes. I have spent HOURS holding screaming children, trying everything I could to comfort them until I felt like screaming myself. But by far the hardest thing that motherhood has brought with it so far is learning to let go. I know that it is what I have been preparing for for the last 13 years. I know its my job to trust the job I have done mothering him. I have faith that he is a good kid and that I have done well thus far. But oh. I still look at him sometimes and see that golden haired cherub instead of the 5 foot 9, peach fuzz covered man child he now is. Its heart breaking. I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I have a little over 4 more years to gradually let go before he flies the nest altogether, when all I really want is for him to never leave.........
    Good God. If someone had told me it would be this hard, I might not have ever even HAD kids. (I'm not serious...I adore my children. I'm just nowhere near ready to have a high schooler!)

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  5. Oh and the thing that really blows my mind is that in another 12-13 years I'm going to have to do it all over again. OMG. What in the heck was I thinking? lol

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  6. I think that you somehow managed to write exactly what has been on my mind for the past few weeks. But you actually managed to do it without sounding like you are whining, which I could never do. I am finding this year so much harder than last. Somehow I was buoyued up by health issues (surgery, etc)and I felt like I was coping OK. Now I don't feel nearly as good as the whole motherhood thing. What is hard about it? Everything. But yes, the whole cuteness is a damn good thing. Just now I about melted away putting her down for a nap and it felt oh so worth it. Give me an hour and who knows what I'll say.

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  7. You are absolutely right. And the picture of you with the diapers on your head is down right sexy. Did your husband take it? Did he have to 'bed' you right after? Am I totally creepy?

    The hardest part for me isn't the SN kids AT ALL. The days when they are the hardest- the ambulance rides to the ER, the scared to death because he's ran off again, the aspirating blood (that was THIS WEEK)- aren't AS terrible because those are the days that your friends and family pray for you. Make you food. Don't comment on the mess your house or your hair is.

    No. The hardest days are the days where you are stuck doing the same thing over and over again just to watch it get trashed as soon as you are almost done. And that's not SN kids. That's ALL kids. And those are EVERY DAY.

    Because there's nothing rewarding about it. Housework doesn't tell you "you're so strong!" Housework doesn't say it's okay to take a break. And it never effing goes away!

    Oh, and I really really hate playing with my kids. It's boring.

    BAM. Love your face,
    Lexi

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  8. Well, I can tell you the best part of parenting - grandparenting!

    Glad Lexi made her way here...

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  9. You stole my thoughts in the "cleaning up vomit and diapers" paragraph and the "worrying constantly that they'll smother in their sleep" paragraph!!

    Motherhood is really, really, hard. I think the hardest thing for me is the feeling that "the buck stops here." If they're sick, wake in the middle of the night, disobedient, struggling, sad, tired, grumpy, etc. I am always the one who has to immediately fix the problem and find the solution! The weight of two (or three) little human beings on our shoulders is a pretty big deal.

    It's made me realize how inadequate I am - that I can't do it all - and has made me honestly beg for God's grace (and wonder how people have more children!!!).

    I love it. More than anything else. But it is really, really hard.

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  10. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amen to everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And my small turkey was almost 9 pounds lol :}

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  11. It's HARD. They are so little and demand so much, and it CHANGES.

    This week, it's "I love bathtime" and "Bathtime is a hellish experience you use to torture me!" "Oh that wagon is so cool" to "I'm going to scream like you're murdering me when you put me in the wagon in front of all the neighbors." And "You will never cook or eat another meal in peace." Also, the munchkin require attention after I do stuff like run hard races.

    But for us... the NICU and open heart surgery sucked. But TEETHING is the worst. And I love my baby. SOOOOO much. And I am so thankful. And I feel guilty saying this. And I'd so much rather have her than not. But I'd be happy with no teeth!

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  12. This is your reader who has no children of her own. By my observation, motherhood is the most selfless profession in the world and one of the least valued, praised and appreciaed by our culture and the general public. I need to remember when kids are out in public,and something happens that I think is displeasing to me to remember that I don't know what just happened before they were near me and that I don't know what the trials of the day have been.People don't need single ladies to be judgemental of their parenting skills. I have given lots of Kleenex to parents when they leave their children to go to college and assure them that the need to pray is as great or greater than before because I know parenting doesn't stop. They're concerned about majors, their child meeting the right spouse, finding a good job, growing spiritually, etc. I've rejoiced with them when they were thrilled with the choice of their child's spouse and cried with a few who thought the world was coming to an end because the choice the child was making seemed so unwise.
    I don't think being a Mom ever stops -- when my Mom was in her 90s she still occasionally asked me if I had written someone a thank you note -- usually when I had not, balanced my check book for me as a gift to me because I was too busy -- and of course that was the months I hadn't written something down or was off some, and sewed the buttons back on that had fallen off and checked every article of clohting that came home with me to make sure it was in good shape. Yes, she was one of those Moms who bought me new underwear so that I would not shame the family if I ended up in the emergency room! I gathered that motherhood is a job that never really stops. When I had to do things for her that she needed done for her that she had always been able to do for herself, she apologized even though for me doing them was a pleasure. I reminded her she never told me in my adult life that I had kept her up all night when I wheezed with my asthma, had allergic reactions, whooped with whooping cough though I know I had done all those things as a child. She could hardly remember ever spanking me -- selective memories of motherhood -- and shared with me dozens of ways that I had made her happy. She told me it was rarely easy and she had never expected it to be but the dividends in the long run were better than what she got in her retirement savings account, and the best part was that because I knew the Lord Jesus, her kids would be the only thing she would be taking to Heaven when she left this earth. So in the long run, I think she was one of many Moms who succeeded even though she would always been the first to say she had not been perfect. God bless you, Deanna. "Do the nexte thynge" as those Puritan women so often said and enjoy the best parts of every stage and accept the challenges. I am praying for you and know you have family close to you who do the same. Love always, Doc

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  13. Love this post!! I'm not sure I can pinpoint it....it is all hard! Right now at this moment, I think it is the nagging question "am I doing enough for my children?"

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  14. The hardest parts for me were the "I will only settle/calm down/stop screaming/resemble a human, for Daddy/Grandma and the never feeling good enough. I have had to watch ER staff STOP my daughter's heart 5 times in 2 years to prevent a heart attack(she is 12), I am the one who is supossed to be able to make it all better and I can't, not good enough. My kids are respectful of adults(other than me), My house is never tidy, but that is one of those things, I choose to spend time playing/cuddling/reading with my kids. Motherhood is hard, and we all have our own things to deal with, but the sleep deprivation is universal and since there has to be a balance, we are given the cutest little bundles of adobableness on the planet. The stinkyness of the diapers is balanced with the freshly bathed baby scent. But the hard... I have been told(by 2 generations of grandparents) that doesn't even out until you become grandparents and can send them home to Mommy.

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  15. I have heard it said...Bigger kids bigger worries and problems" I have a 15,13 and 11 yr old and I can say that is true to some extent but I also enjoy them a lot more now. I can relax with them and that is so fun. Most of the time we really enjoy our time together.
    Be consistent and show them God's love when they are little and you will reap many happy returns!
    Zina from Germany

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  16. definetely the guilt aspect is one hard part for me (am i doing enough, am i pushing too hard, am i not pushing hard enough, what am i forgetting to do for them), the other is the oddly surprising fact that motherhood has no sick days and no vacation (no one mentioned before i had kids that I had to be mom on call even when I can hardly get out of bed, and if I'm lucky enough to go away without them all I do is talk about them or worry!)

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  17. I agree with everything you said really. I always feel guilty talking about the challenges I deal with because I feel they are so normal and everything could be so much worse. I have a very healthy little girl and other than a little acid reflux we have had no health issues so far. I always wanted to be a mom. I knew I would be tired and it would be demanding but I thought those things wouldnt matter because of how wonderful your baby is. Ha! My little one goes from cherub to screaming banshee in a matter of seconds and I do want to run and have my no more kids letter notorized! I constantly wonder how my house is always chaotic since I am a stay at home mom and feel I should be able to keep it up. Add the guilt in for not always cooking for husband brings and it can be overwhelming. I love my daughter- I would never change having her- I just remember that God is always present, he surely wont give me more than I can handle and He always provides what I need. Even if that is just husband suprising me by getting home a little early on a day that has been particularly stressful. :) I know its hard but I dont want to miss all the good times or let them get lost in my stress-- no one has a better laugh than she does- and that helps keep me going!!!

    ps- your kids are so freaking cute!

    Jessica

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  18. Oh I so needed that today. Today I think EVERYTHING is hard about motherhood! ;) But I'm also 38.5 weeks pregnant, sick, have had two sick kids lately and have two boys under 4 who refuse to play nicely together at the moment so my perspective is probably a little skewed right now. No, it's definitely not a walk in the park, but funnily enough I wouldn't give up my job for anything. Lucky they're cute, that's all I can say x

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  19. This is so true! I loved it! We have 3 kids ages 4, 2, and 6 months. I'm totally with you in these diaper days. I gotta share this- to funny and hit the nail on the head. Thanks for brightening my day and helping me remember I'm not alone in this. ~Lis

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  20. I just discovered your blog through a link on FB.... loving your writing. A blog that can make this momma LITERALLY laugh out loud in the middle of a crazy day is a great one! And hey, my name is Deanna, too (with 2 Ns!), so we must both be pretty wonderful!! :)

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  21. Yes, just discovered your blog through a link on Facebook too- wonderful! I would have to say what's hard right now are evenings. I scurry to get out of work, pump, and pick up 3 kid at 2 different daycares, one of which has already closed but graciously stays open till I get there. Then there's dinner to warm up- most of the time it's the same old thing cause they won't eat anything new, but which they complain about. There are lunch boxes to unlOad and repack, the dishwasher to unload, a baby who screams for no good reason, kids throwing cups and forks on the floor, my 5 year i'l with DS insisting on eating with his hands and smearing tomato sauce in his hair, over himself, and over a 4 foot radius. There are bottles to wash, breast milk to transfer, oh that baby is still crying, and wait -picking him up seems to help but his breathing sounds awful - he has wheezing that nothing seems to help and it's really freaking me out! But now my hands are full and the kids want more water. And DD is done, has taken herself to the potty and needs me to wipe her butt. Oh and now 5yo is done and needs the wipedown. Set the baby down on the boopy on the couch because he's stopped crying. Remind the kids every other minute not to touch the baby- but they did anyway and he's screaming again. Nurse him with the little I make, he falls asleep again. Back to clean the 4 foot radius. Now the baby is screaming the PAIN cry, kids have pulled him and the boppy onto the floor... And so on. There's still baths to give, my dinner to eat, haven't packed the lunches yet, and there's the laundry I haven't folded in 2 weeks, and those other projects that are late and I think I'm running a fever and we all need to get up in the morning and start it all over again...
    Oh wait, i'm complaining. You know what? My husband and I have jobs. We have good childcare. We can afford to feed, clothe out kids and so much more. We HAVE kids- my heart breaks for my friends TTC for years. We are busy and blessed and one day we will miss these days. Well, parts of them.

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  22. Realizing that half the stuff you dreamed of doing with your kids is just not going to happen because you are too sleep deprived and worn out to manage it. Hearing your sweet child scream, "I HATE YOU!" and having to say, "Yes, well, I still love you." right back, even though you kind of (just a little bit) feel like screaming it back.
    Also, those moments when the baby finally falls asleep and you lie down to finally get some sleep . . . and he wakes back up again. ARGH!
    But yes, I do love my children dearly and maybe that's the hardest thing of all, the ups and downs when you feel like you should just be blessed all the time. My husband says it's because we love them that it's so hard because if we didn't, it would be nothing to let them scream and throw tantrums or deal with hospital times.

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