Where there are little girls, there are mothers to be. Playing with dolls, dressing, changing and coddling them with the innate function of love that gives the term motherly its definition. Perhaps, motherhood is something born into a females DNA just as deeply as other strictly female traits. But yet, the fact remains that motherhood is by far the most challenging of all genetic responsibilities and one that is so tightly monitored by societal expectations that many mothers feel like failure. When the urge to have kids takes over; when the first infant is born unto a mother no one explains or talks about the immense commitment of motherhood that can change a woman form her subconscious core.
There are some mothers that just seem born to take care of children. They don’t seem to mind endless hours on the floor playing with blocks, reading Mickey Mouse Books and carrying babies on the hip. They also seem to be able to find the time to make the perfect cupcakes, willingly act like short order cooks and show up with their children looking like the poster mother for Family Circle. In fact, their mini-van is probably packed full of coupons, magazines about cooking, organizing, cleaning and all the other joys of motherhood along with every latest gadget and gadget to promote safety. They are that one mother that no matter what you need on the road; a band-aid, ice pack, baby wipe, disinfectant or diaper they are sure to have it. These are the mothers that make the rest of us feel bad. Whether we like to admit it or not there is a lot of competition when it comes to mothering as well as a lot of things that we feel like we should be doing but don’t. Few mothers go to sleep at night feeling as though they did it all, had every important conversation, signed every paper or made their children feel loved enough. Motherhood and guilt go hand in hand.
At the same time, no one really prepares you for this exhausting job. After a few years and a couple kids it is no doubt natural to become agitated and annoyed because you can’t read a book in peace. Being interrupted on the phone day in and day gets old quickly and you feel angry that your life no longer seems important to anyone. The fact that you can’t follow the best TV programs because children are around makes you resentful. The fighting, constant whining and expectation of always taking care of someone else first above and beyond your self takes its toll. It gets tiring to hear of the latest struggle with a friend at school or a teacher and it becomes exhausting to be forced to dig down deep in order to find the perfect advice about everything when all you really want to do is shout ‘shut up and get over it!’ But you don’t because that would make you a bad mother. Instead you replace your Grateful Dead CD that takes you back to those good old days with the latest crap music from High School Musical or Dora the Explorer and begin to sing along with the tunes that you don’t like. Disdain naturally sets in. Essentially, that is the metaphor of motherhood.
But no one tells you that it’s okay to feel this way and that there will be some days you will wish you didn’t have children at all. No one warns you about the commitment of motherhood and that you are bound to feel like you are being held hostage. No one admits that there are some days mothers don’t really love their children or their life the way they should. So when a mother feels this way; overwhelmed, ignored and a mere shell of the person she used to be; guilt bubbles up! Then most mothers begin to think there is something wrong with them for feeling the way they do. They wish they could be that ridiculous and hokey cupcake mother and think that their mothering instinct DNA gene must be missing or warped. But, it’s not! So don’t worry! Every mother although few are strong enough to admit it; have days, nights, weeks or months where they wish they could just disappear into the population and feel the freedom of spreading their wings again. Most sane mothers think that 10 year olds are geeky and emotional and that listening to their 5 year old read through books every night is annoying. Really, how many times can they misread the word ‘cat’ before they get it? And lots of mothers get to a point in life where they spend a lot of time pretending like they are listening, nodding their head and smiling- but in reality have no idea or care what it is their child is saying. This doesn’t mean there is a lack of love and is instead a survival technique to help mothers survive the immense commitment of motherhood that no one had the guts to tell you about when you were obsessed with ovulation.
Perhaps even if we knew ahead of time how tough being a mom is; we would still have children hoping that our home, family and sense of mothering would be the exception. What is the most disheartening is that although the majority of mothers do love their children deeply and passionately – they don’t feel that it is okay to still want to be their own person sometimes. They feel judged and guilty for that. You must remember that if you didn’t have children of your own you wouldn’t be spending your life hanging around a 3, 7 and 10 year old child for companionship. Why? Because they would never be able to meet your social needs and the world would clearly wonder what was wrong with you. Along those same lines, you can’t expect yourself to have your needs met by your children in real life either. The way you feel some days, wishing that for just 5 minutes everyone in the house would go away, fend for them selves and leave you alone is absolutely natural. Counting down the days until they are all in school is nothing to feel bad about. All animal creatures push away their young; but humans are the only ones who feel badly and lose sleep over doing so.
The commitment of motherhood is forever, rarely ever talked about realistically and goes way beyond conception and changing diapers. The reality of the situation is that the cupcake mom probably cries herself to sleep at night, will lose her mind when her children grow up and has absolutely no sense of self or security in life unless she is being needed and wanted! In doing so she is working hard to keep her kids dependant upon her and neglecting them of the skills they will need to become good people and parents themselves one day! Just because you committed to being a mother doesn’t mean you should have to be committed for feeling guilty, sad, depressed or unworthy and worried that you aren’t a good mom. You are and your thoughts whether they are positive or out of frustration are completely natural’ .there just wasn’t anyone around with the guts to tell you so and even if they did; there is a good chance you wouldn’t have believed them until now!