Have you ever just wanted to throw in the towel on motherhood? There’s nothing wrong with you, I promise!
(Quick and dirty vlog version of this post at the end!)
I wanted to quit being a mom today. I know that sounds drastic and melodramatic, but heaven help me – I. Was. Done.
Done with the tantrums, the fights, the nagging, the complaining, the sassiness; it just all came to a head in a filthy house with an overtired mom who wanted to storm out and never look back.
I really hope other moms don’t have days like this regularly, but my suspicion is that we all do. The benefits of being a mom can sometimes be so great that it makes me want to cry great big joyous, grateful tears.
There are brief moments here and there where I look at my kids and I just wanna squeeze them all in a death grip of love and happiness! But the majority of days (lately) have been so hard that I’m a lot closer to bursting into the other kind of tears.
The hardest part about motherhood is that we’re supposed be so darn grateful for it all the time. I know there are accountants and lawyers and firemen and secretaries who walk around hating their jobs…but if you ever say (or even think) that being a mom just might kinda suck, then you must be an evil, terrible person. (BAD! Bad, naughty you!!)
If I feel frustrated about all my kids driving me insane, then guilt sets in because so many sweet women would do anything to have just one baby. Maybe those of you with 1 or 2 kids feel like you can’t complain because you don’t have a huge family. We stay-at-home moms might feel bad for wishing we had more time when those of you who work feel like no one will ever understand how busy your days are.
The fact is, motherhood is freaking hard no matter what it looks like. You and your feelings of frustration, stress and being overwhelmed are always valid. We always have a right to our feelings, no matter how unpleasant they may be.
Not only is it OK to feel these things, it’s OK to tell someone. We should all have a non-judgmental friend or family member who we confide in when we’re at our wits’ end.
Lest anyone be duped into thinking my mothering attempts are all sunshine and roses, let the entirety of the internet hereby know now and forevermore: most days I have no idea what the crap I’m doing.
Our real work as mothers is pretty scary stuff. It lies in loving, teaching and molding our children to be the best people they can be. Even in the best circumstances, that’s a terrifying job. Add in a household to run, a marriage to work on, maybe another job to perform, not to mention special needs, educating our kids, community obligations…it all just seems completely impossible to juggle all those balls. It’s a wonder any of us want to become moms in the first place! (I suspect newborn squishiness is to blame.)
I try to remember in these moments of self-doubt, that my kids are part of my family for a reason. I believe that every mom has something (actually oodles of things!) she can give her children that no one else can. I also feel really strongly that every child can teach his parents lessons that we’d otherwise never be able to learn on our own.
Sometimes I’m positive that even my very, very best will never be enough. That my “good” mothering is sub-par to everyone else’s in the whole entire world, and that I will fail my children and they will never reach the potential they could (and/or they will potentially become creepy criminal weirdos who lurk in bushes and spy on people. Ew.). But, you know what I’ve realized lately? Our mothering effort is completely independent of our children’s performance.
Let me just say that again…Our EFFORT as mothers is completely independent of how our children PERFORM.
Your toddler screaming and throwing toys through the aisles of Target does not make you a bad mom. Your preteen saying he hates you and slamming a door in your face doesn’t make you a bad mom.
Your teenager getting into drugs or porn or hanging out with terrible friends does NOT make you a bad mom!
And even if, heaven forbid, our sweet innocent babies grow up to be serial killers or evil dictators or any number of awful things, all of the sacrifices we made as mothers would still be valid. They would still COUNT. You would still be a good person, even if your child chose not to be.
That’s a really, really hard thing to think about. That no matter how hard we work as moms, we cannot choose our children’s destinies and we can’t keep them from harm or evil. All we can do is love them.
And so, we do. We love them with everything we’ve got. And we try to remember, amidst all the poop and the pb&j’s and the puberty, that we ARE good mothers. Because good mothers show their love through service. We might never throw a Pinterest-worthy party, or do our hair in time for preschool drop-off or be able to respond calmly when a kid says mean things, but we will keep loving.
Because loving is what moms do best.