It’s time to dive into the brutal truth about motherhood! As a mom of 4 littles, I would like to offer some of my perspective.
I don’t know if you have noticed, but this topic seems to be trending amongst new, stay-at-home moms. First time moms get in the midst of the newborn stage and their eyes are opened to a new reality! The next step is to share this with all of their not-yet-mom friends so they will know what is coming.
“Let me tell you the brutal truth. Motherhood is a LOT harder and less magical than we were led to believe!”
It seems like this trend has a logical reason for starting. If you think back to the ebb and flow of motherhood over the past century, this is all very understandable.
How it began…
If you look back to 100+ years ago, pretty much all women were stay-at-home moms. Basically, every woman was trained from infancy to know how to be a mom and what to expect. When a baby arrived, all of the nearby moms would know to come and support the newbie so that she could rest, bond, and learn. Whenever she needed help with a new skill (like nursing), she automatically had innumerable build-in experts at her disposal.
But then the feminist movement began. Almost an entire generation of women were convinced that they needed to work outside of the home if they ever wanted to call themselves successful. With that came a lot of modern conveniences that made this shift easier. Motherhood became popping out a baby, immediately starting them on formula, and leaving them with a nanny/daycare so that you could get back to work ASAP. Still a very stressful experience, but missing a lot of the unique stresses that come with new motherhood.
The stories and experiences being passed from mothers to daughters didn’t really contain the whole story. New motherhood attained a mistaken halo of ease.
And then we jump into present day. The trend to stay-at-home is growing as we speak. Also, the desire to live a more natural, “homemade” life it skyrocketing. But with that, a lot of shocking realities that the average mom has become unaware of for decades is beginning to sink in.
Moms have gone from describing new motherhood as glorious and easy, to feeling the need to share “the brutal truth”. I believe accuracy is found somewhere in the middle.
MY perspective on motherhood
Motherhood is EVERYTHING!
I am only five years in but I already can’t imagine my life without that title. It adds so much meaning and fulfillment.
It is also everything in the idea that it encompasses all of the extremes. Motherhood is so much better then I ever could have imagined. But it is also so much harder than I ever thought possible.
Let’s stop for a minute to think about this phenomenon. Just because almost half of the population can do it doesn’t make FORMING A HUMAN BEING IN YOUR BODY any less amazing! Followed by the idea that you now have a little person that is 100% reliant on you and you are 100% smitten with them! Take it a step further…if you train them in the way they should go (this is the key!), the Bible tells us that we will be spending an eternity with them in Heaven! That means…
YOU JUST ADDED A SOUL TO HEAVEN!!!
Now, I know there are many stay-at-home moms that say they have a hard time finding fulfillment in “only” being a mom. And I will be the first to admit that it is a HUGE transition from career life. But I believe every job has ups and downs…days that are more monotonous and times that you feel like you want to change things up.
In those moments, think back to the things we have already talked about that make motherhood great. Because, at the end of the day, there is NOTHING more important than making and raising humans. There is NOTHING more fulfilling than training them towards an eternity with Jesus! And if we are talking about career growth, there is not other job field in which you start off feeling more inadequate and with more opportunities to learn and grow!
Let’s get back to the trend
I briefly mentioned this already, but within this trend I’ve seen of sharing the brutal truth of motherhood is another trend. Most of the moms I have seen do this have been first-time moms that are either still in the newborn phase or freshly out of it. This is why I think that the main issue here is perspective.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of moms that are struggling with their kid’s behavior well after the newborn stage and still feel disheartened about motherhood. That is not what I am talking about today because that is a separate issue. We are talking about the discouragement that specifically seems to come from the newborn stage.
I am not saying that I avoided this mindset myself. If I had written a post on this topic three months after the birth of my first child, it would sound VERY different. It would sound more like: AHHHHHHH!!!
Like all mothers, I have had my fair share of issues and difficulties. My first was induced, leading to a very long, hard labor. The second was a natural birth, which is great…but believe me when I say that delivering an 11lb baby with no drugs and a slipped vertebrae is a difficulty all on its own! My third was a last minute C-section followed my two weeks in the NICU. Then there were all of the nursing, sleep deprivation, feeling-completely-ignorant-on-every-baby-topic issues that every new mom faces.
But, five years later, I have these three (almost four) amazing, little people in my life that are everything to me! My life wouldn’t be complete without them. The relationship that we have is invaluable and yet improving and becoming more treasured by the day. It’s all about perspective.
Middle school girls
I think it is very comparable to a common cliché about middle school girls. Their overly dramatic response to situations in their life.
Now, I am not coming down on middle school girls. Not only did I used to be one but I even taught them at our local church, and I completely understand where this comes from. They are beginning to understand enough about life to experience more emotional highs and lows. But they haven’t lived enough life to get big-picture perspective.
Although this cliché is commonly used to describe middle school girls, we are all prone to this weakness. Whenever someone is in a new and difficult situation, it is very easy to see it as much bigger than it really is. The only way to get better perspective is to wait more time or talk to someone who already has it.
My three suggestions
Another way this trend is used is to try to get women to question whether or not they are even ready to become mothers. I would not suggest this train of thought because you will NEVER be ready for motherhood. I firmly believed I was ready and found out I firmly was not! One of the best ways you can prep for motherhood is realizing you are not ready and will need to be prepared to learn and grow the moment that baby enters the world!
But I want to leave you with more insight than: you will never be ready.
It is dangerous to get too specific in advising moms-to-be because everyone’s struggles are sooooo different. If I were to just go down the list of all of my struggles and how I resolved them, my audience would get overwhelmed and, once they had their baby, would probably find out that half of my struggles weren’t even applicable to them!
I do have three suggestions I would like to offer today, but that is why they are going to be more vague in nature.
#1 Communicate with hubby
I am NOT someone that advocates using hormones as an excuse for nasty behavior. The hormone changes that occur during pregnancy are NOT a reason to be a grumpy-britches for the next nine months! But they do change things.
During pregnancy, my perspective on issues became much more emotionally based. When emotions are the basis of something, logic often doesn’t rank as high. That “big-picture perspective” that we’ve talked about grows a bit fuzzy. This becomes more and more true as the pregnancy continues.
And then you pop out the baby.
Once the baby is out, your hormones try to start returning to normal. But that takes time. In the interim, you are healing from popping out the baby, sleep deprived, learning SO many new skills and concepts, and just generally struggling in every way possible.
This is what hubby is for. He isn’t going through most of those things that I just listed out and is supposed to be your rock during this time. But your rock is not a mind-reader. Nor has he every experienced what you are experiencing. So he is going to need so help getting on the same page and fully understanding why you NEED him to be your rock right now.
I would suggest starting this communication even before the baby comes so that he can have an idea of what is coming.
#2 Moms on speed-dial
You know how I said that it would not be advisable for me to get too specific in my advice to a mom-to-be. I stand by that. But after the baby comes, this new mom will need specifics…but just in the areas that she is finding struggles. That is why I am suggesting that new moms have several young, yet experienced, like-minded moms on call to answer specific question and be a support system.
The reason I am saying young, yet experienced is that you want them to be close enough to the newbie season (5-10 away) that they clearly remember the struggles/solutions. But you want them to be far enough away that they have gained that valuable perspective. Being like-minded is also important, because you need to be on the same page fundamentally with the person that you are receiving advice from. Again, you don’t want to take advice from another mother, no matter how experienced, if her solution to nursing is formula and you want to approach it from a more natural approach.
#3 In those dark moment…remember
There will be nights when you are walking the halls of your home at 3am. Your newborn has been screaming for the last two hours. All she wants is to latch on to your boob but it has been bruised and bleeding for the last few days. You feel like you have no solutions for anything and the more time that passes the more desperate and helpless you feel. Your entire body is hurting from delivery…you didn’t know you could ever be this sleep-deprived, and this hormone rollercoaster ride is simply making this nightmarish situation more exaggerated.
Do I seem like I have just contradicted everything I’ve said in this post? As dark as that scenario sounds, we have to remember it is all about perspective.
In those helpless moments, remember this: seasons come and go. When we are talking about newborns vs big-picture, seasons are over almost before they begin. God is still in control. This too shall pass. And once it does, you have this AMAZING person, that you are holding in your arms, to enjoy and build a relationship with for the rest of your life!
It is ALL about perspective!
Being a mom is sooooo hard…but it is also sooooooo worth it!