I love reading posts about people with young kids, I was there not so many years ago myself. Okay, maybe it was many years ago, maybe even over a decade. Those posts take me back to a time when there was a diaper bag always ready to go, a stroller folded up in the back of my car, and car seats with little pieces of Cheerios and other unknown food bits stuck to them. My eyes were tired and I was going on pure adrenaline, but I loved those days with my two young babies. They were difficult, but they were special.
My boys are now 18 and 17 years old. We did the sleepless nights when we put them in the big boy bed. We did the endless crying when we took away the beloved pacifier. We did the first time with a babysitter when the tears were so big I thought I would drown in them. But through all of that, we survived. We all did – baby, mom and dad! And, mommies, you will too. I’m here to tell you, you will!
“Momming” isn’t easy. It’s a challenge. I don’t like the word “hard”. As a teacher, I don’t let my students use it and I also don’t let my children use it at home. It automatically makes our brains think that we won’t be able to accomplish something or succeed at something without even that first attempt. It’s negative. Instead, I love the word challenge. A challenge, when successful, is an amazing feat and is something to be admired and proud of, just like motherhood.
We work hard being moms to raise our kids the best way we know how. I don’t think there are many women that go into motherhood wanting to fail. When we find out we are pregnant, our brains go into hyper-drive thinking about the possibilities of our baby’s future. What will he look like? Will he be tall? Will he be kind? Will he be a great reader or writer or maybe an amazing ball player? What will he be when he grows up? We begin making plans for our baby’s future before we have met or even seen that grainy sonogram picture of our precious baby.
Motherhood is a time for growth in ourselves as we see all that we can do.Beth
I had two boys in 21 months. When I look back at that time in my life, I ask myself, “what were you thinking?” It wasn’t easy, I mean, I basically had two babies! I had experienced six carefree, easy-breezy years with just my husband but that changed after we had our first son. I thought that was a “challenge” but then 21 months later, we had our second son and that’s when life really changed! My cute yellow VW Beetle got traded in for the typical family minivan because it was the only car that could hold our enormous double stroller. Life was no longer about me. I now had to focus on two little ones that depended on me in every way – from the food they ate to their bedtime routines – it was all on me and that’s a lot of pressure!
Life was “hard” (oops, there’s that word), but it was! Babies are adorable, they smell good (most of the time), and they love you unconditionally, but tending to them is exhausting! It doesn’t matter if you are a stay-at-home mom or a working home, the responsibilities that come with motherhood are endless and will wear you out. However, when you see that precious baby sleeping peacefully, it’s like Will Smith has zapped you with the Men in Black amnesia device and you forget all about the spit up in your hair, the fact that you haven’t showered for a couple of days, the lack of sleep, and you fall deeply and passionately back in love with that little bundle of sleeping joy.
And just know, as I know myself and can tell you from experience, babies grow up. As a mom for 18 years running, your sweet babies will turn into toddlers, then school aged kids, then preteens (Lord, help us), then teens, and eventually adults, and you will look back on those baby years and forget all about the tears (on their part and yours) and wish you had your baby back.
I, soon, will be sending my older son off to college and it’s scary knowing that he will have total control of his life, every part of it. For 18 years, I mostly have decided what he has eaten, where he has gone, who his friends have been, and now I have to turn him over to the big wide world to allow him to make all of those decisions on his own without his mommy’s help. But here’s the thing. In those 6,570 days that he has spent in my care, I have been training him, along with his father, for this. Every decision we have helped him make, every choice he has pondered, they have all been leading up to him moving out of our four walls and into his own. He won’t totally be independent of us yet. Yes, we will be paying his college tuition bills and he will be back to live in his old bedroom over summer break but this is the next step to adulthood.
So, mommies, when you are exhausted and wondering what your purpose is and why motherhood is so challenging, know that this is it. You are in an 18-year long training session with your child to grow him to one day leave your comfortable home and to be a wonderful, successful adult because of you. So keep going. I know it’s hard but it is also so rewarding in the end!
Are you ready for the marathon? I know you are!
Author: Beth Sharpe
Beth Sharpe is the author of ‘Why Does Motherhood Feel Like a Marathon‘, and writes her own content on her blog Teens, Teaching, and Takeout, a blog to blow off steam about the “adventures” of adult. life. Being a mom for over 18 years to two boys, a wife for 25 years, a teacher, and self-proclaimed “Take-Out Queen”, she enjoys writing about her life and hopefully bringing a smile to her readers. She definitely doesn’t take herself too seriously and it shows in her zany blog posts. Make sure to check her out at www.TeensTeachingAndTakeout.com, or on Instagram and Facebook.