A Hard Truth

PicassoI spent nearly 20 years aching to be a real mom, after a dozen more before that dreaming about it in my child-like ways. I was the mom when playing house with friends. I was the mom when high school friends needed guidance. I was the mom when co-workers needed advice.

Then, one day, I finally got to be a real mom. My son was born and my dream was fulfilled. It was the most joyous moment I’d experienced. I was finally complete. Now I could be truly happy.


Well, if I’m going to be honest, I’m not always happy being a mom. Being a mom is HARD! Being mom to a newborn is purely guessing, all day, every day. Even on kid number 2, 3 or 6, you’re still guessing – you’re just a bit better at it now. They can’t talk to you to tell you what they really want or need. Yes, they do find ways to communicate – cries and coos and wiggles and facial expressions – but they’re still figuring out life on the outside (of the womb) so it’s not real clear much of the time. Their personalities fluctuate and move and flow as they guess at this life stuff, too. Their ‘wet cry’ one day may be totally different the next – because they discovered a new sound they can make and why not try it out and why don’t you know that I’m wet, mom!!

When they become more verbal, it doesn’t automatically get easier. Language is nuanced. It takes a while to develop and finesse it the right way. In the meantime, you need to understand, immediately, that a Super Quander is the pointy thing made with the yellow and blue blocks and not the boxy thing made from the green blocks and that the flower dress can’t possibly go on the dark brown bear because he eats vegetables on Thursdays. And now we’ve reached meltdown stage because – Gawsh! How can you not understand these simple things?!

Enter the school-ager. Language, in it’s current stage, well mastered. Behavior, at least in public, acceptable. Personality seems a bit more persistent (it’s fun to watch this develop – but don’t get too comfy, it will change again, just not as drastically). A moment to breathe. ((sigh)) OMG! How can you talk to that mom? Do you know what her kid did/said/ate/wore?? It probably had something to do with a flowered dress on a Thursday or vegetables with a bear. Don’t try to really figure it out. Navigate your way out of the tidal waters – slowly, or you’ll capsize the whole thing. This is where you breathe…..deep breaths….deeper….try again….count to 10….maybe count to 10 while your taking the deep breaths?

Teenagers….oh, I don’t have the energy to talk about teenagers. Just keep your best friend on speed dial. Trust me.

In the midst of all this laughter, underneath the eye rolls, there is a hard truth – sometimes we don’t like being a mom. At least I don’t.  It doesn’t mean I don’t like my kid. That is FAR from the truth. I love him every minute. It doesn’t mean I regret becoming a mom – I don’t. Ever. But, honestly, sometimes I’d like to be able to make plans without having to check sport and school schedules. I’d like to be able to cook rich and decadent meals for dinner. I’d like to go out with friends and truly focus on them, not my watch, for the evening.

Being a mom is hard. It’s putting yourself in second place most of the time. It doesn’t mean you don’t get nice things, or you don’t get to do things just for yourself. You can – you SHOULD. But, being a mom means there’s always that tingle in your head and your heart that steals your focus from the moment at hand and places you back with your child. (Spidey-sense ain’t got nothin’ on mom-sense). Being a mom means living a life that is less private. I don’t mean you have to share publicly (like I do). I’m referring the fact that your decisions are based on actions outside your private life. You need to consider school and friends and sports and activities and wants and desires and likes and dislikes from a tiny, not yet completely coherent, human.

Being a mom is messy and confusing. I (a mom) spent time color-coding my sock drawer and was gloriously happy afterward. Does this sound like someone who likes ‘messy and confusing?” (No. The answer is No)

Being a mom is time consuming and exhausting; I have written an Ode to Naps.
Being a mom is emotional; I have constructed a 73′ wall around my heart in hopes of not feeling anything ever again.
Being a mom is quick decisions; I once spent an entire month researching pens (ummm…to color-code my planner properly. It was important).

In other words, being a mom is a whole lot of things that are in direct opposition to my core personality. As much as I love being a mom. As much as I wanted to be a mom since I was a very small child. So much of being a mom does NOT fit my personality. So, for me, being a mom is HARD. It’s being who I need to be for him instead of who I want to be for me. It’s feeling like I’m failing day after day because I have these feelings. It’s an innate gift to nurture skewered by uncertainty and the neurosis caused by societal expectations.

I don’t always like being a mom. I am envious of friends whose children have grown and left their direct care. I am jealous of friends who don’t have children and can set schedules more freely than I can. I covet my neighbor’s vacation plans. I long for a mind that isn’t torn in 20 directions, all focused on my child’s life.

And yet, I wouldn’t change things. I like our life together. He’s made me a better person by making me a mom. He teaches me things about life, about himself, about me. We have serious conversations that I never imagined. We have silly conversations that keep me laughing for days. I am nervous about living day to day without him when he is grown. I don’t always like being a mom. But I will never stop loving being his mom.

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