HI! I’m so glad you decided to join me here. You’re going to get a kick out of this :)

So…Motherhood took me by complete surprise. I knew it would be hard but I never imagined it would be THIS hard. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, you can just imagine how upturned my life became once kids entered the picture. I hung in there for a couple of years but eventually, it all got to be too much and I had a mommy temper tantrum. I RARELY journal but I got out a pen and paper and verbally spewed onto the page…anything and everything I could think of that was frustrating me. I was just letting it all go.

When I was all done, I had to laugh. It was kind of funny. I wondered if anyone else felt like I did so I posted it on a blog and sent to every woman I know. And you know what? I was so relieved and comforted by the response…SOOOO many people said “Me Too!” and I realized there is GREAT comfort in getting real, letting go of perfectionism, and learning to just breathe…and LAUGH.

So check it out and see if you can relate. (This is almost word for word from my journal!) A warning: It’s LONG. I had a LOT to get out.

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No one ever told me motherhood would be this tough. Lately, I just thought I was an emotional basket-case. If I had a dollar for how many times I’ve told my husband in all seriousness the past two months that I think I might need medication, I’d have enough money to pay for an 8 year supply of Zoloft. I have struggled with sanity since the day I brought my first daughter home. From the get-go, motherhood took me by complete surprise. Rather than a completely joyous occasion, my daughter’s birth was a terrifying experience for my husband and I as she was unexpectedly taken from our arms and admitted into Special Care due to breathing complications. She spent one week in the hospital – something I was totally unprepared for. Then when we did bring her home, we discovered she was colicky, allerigic to everything and downright cranky most of the time. This was just the beginning of things not going according to plan – which, little did I know then, is like the central THEME of motherhood. I remember calling my mom after just a couple of weeks and saying QUOTE “I don’t get why people do this…what’s this whole thing about the JOY of motherhood???” and on one other occasion I called her in tears feeling like an awful mother as I tried to articulate that I love her of course…because I have to…but I don’t LIKE her at all…I felt like such a terrible mother because I looked down at my daughter and all I felt was “I just don’t like you”.

This is the single hardest thing I have EVER done in my life. EVER. NO one tells you that this is IMPOSSIBLE. I think we get confused because we see so many people doing it – everyone’s doing it. Even men are mothers now for crying out loud…so if ALL these people are doing it, it can’t be that bad or people would stop it. And not only do people do it but they do it over and over again. SO…heck I certainly thought I was a capable and adept person who, if anyone can, I could.

Even despite the rough start, I was determined to be an amazing mother….I felt confident and capable. In the beginning I hung in there, day after day – refusing to give up. I had an idea of what being a good mother meant and come hell or high water, I was going to do it!!! But somewhere along the line, I got tired. REALLY TIRED. And I’m starting to resent this little word “expectations”.

EXPECTATIONS, PRESSURE, STANDARDS, GUIDELINES, BEST PRACTICES…It all starts when we’re still just EXPECTING our bundle of joy. The endless list of rules and guidelines so as to ensure “The best start for your baby”. It’s a full time job just keeping up with all the demands of pregnancy…you can’t take one step without worrying that you’re going to do something to destroy your baby forever. Be sure to keep all your prenatal appts, ultrasounds and screenings, make sure your getting a balanced diet from all the 5 food groups, including fresh organic vegetables, whole grains and of course no sugar. BUT be sure to stay away from peanut butter as it can cause allergies in your little one…and while we’re at it, let’s limit our intake of milk, eggs, wheat and any other gluten-based product just in case. Oh and no deli meat because it can cause listeriosis…and speaking of listeriosis, you also need to be sure to avoid blue cheese, gorgonzola, brie and any other questionable soft cheese. I started to get so confused I ended up avoiding cheese altogether. Don’t eat too much tuna or fish because you don’t want mercury poisoning but be sure to eat enough because you still need plenty of Omega-3’s or your baby won’t be smart. When you go out to eat and finally have a nice dinner out, be sure to cook your steak to the consistency of shoe leather and get rid of your family cat. As a matter of fact, make sure you don’t consume any vegetables or fruits that were anywhere NEAR your family cat and wash everything you eat 8 times with special vegetable wash that costs 80 dollars an ounce. Wow. (My friend was once hooked up to a morphine drip for two weeks during a complicated pregnancy but I’m going to damage my baby because of the salad I ate at lunch???) Get lots of rest and exercise, research baby names and decorate the nursery. Decide whether or not you want to bank your baby’s cord blood (a huge decision because how would you ever feel if one day your child comes down with an illness that could have been prevented and it’s now all your fault because you didn’t make the right choice). Oh yeah, and play classical music to your belly. Read your parenting books, keep track of your progress, take pictures at each month’s milestone and post on a blog to update friends and family. Decide whether you want to put your baby at risk with the selfish decision of a pain-free labor and then sit back and enjoy the ride. Is your head spinning yet? This list is ridiculous. I’m on my third pregnancy now and I can’t even remember my due date.

Then the baby is born and enters in the pediatrician. I want to SLAP that guy sometimes. Forget the fact that he’s a GUY – just once I wish I could see his wife in the office standing behind him going “blah blah blah” as he talks at me about making sure I use the food chart to ensure the proper nutrition of my kids. I get dizzy as I look around the office at posters everywhere… “The TRUTH about Whole Grains”, “Are your kids getting enough Vitamin D?”, “Should my Child get the Flu Vaccine”…the room starts to spin and I feel faint…and then he pulls out the pen and paper. And ALWAYS the first question comes…”how are the kids sleeping?”…OK I can handle that one “well…still waking up here and there at night”…and my heart starts to pound….I know it’s coming….but every time I have to brace myself for the feeling of my success as a mother melting out of me and spilling onto his ugly, sanitized linoleum floor. “And is he falling asleep on his own?” And here we go. I swallow hard and answer in an intimitaded voice…”well… no…. he still uses his pacifier”.

Yes Mr. Pediatric Perfection – he still uses his pacifier!!! He’s 18 months old and still needs a pacifier to go to sleep!!! I just wish I could tell HIM to come over at 3 in the morning and sit with my son while he screams and wonders why his mommy is torturing him as well as everyone else in the family!!!! It’s just a little tiny piece of plastic and silicone but it is my LIFELINE to a peaceful night’s sleep right now and I am NOT ready to part with it yet OK??? So…my kid is going to have buck teeth or talk with a lisp or something awful because I’m the horrible mom that can’t seem to follow the rules and break him of this dreadful habit at the appropriate milestone timeline according to you and all your AAP rulebooks. I wish I could find the guts somewhere to just say “Well, he still has his pacifier…we’re thinking we’ll terminate use around the age of 5 or 6. We’ll see how it goes”. After all, I’m his mother…that’s my choice isn’t it???

And that’s just one person. Forget the host of expectations we find from other people – our parents, our friends, ourselves. I remember crying to my husband just recently talking about this expectation I have hovering over me and how much I realize I’m failing and he just looked at me dead in the eyes and said “Where are you getting your ideas about what it means to be a mother?”…

GOOD question, my friend. I really have no idea! But somewhere we have them and we know that somehow we are just failing miserably. There’s so much I should be doing. My daughter watches too much T.V, she hasn’t had vegetables in a week, I haven’t brushed her teeth in two days, my son has a diaper rash (wasn’t that always a signal of a bad parents who was too busy to change their kids diaper???), I have clean laundry that should have been folded and put away a week ago. Oh and speaking of laundry… I do about 8 loads a week…and two of those loads are re-dos. You know, when you have to re-wash the same load because you forgot to move it to the dryer?? I don’t even realize I’ve done it until I walk past the laundry room (I use that term loosely) and get hit in the face with a shot of mildew coming from the machine. Darn! Forgot to switch the wash again! Dump in another scoop of tide and around she goes again. Oh and THEN I feel guilty because I’m trying to be green and we’re supposed to “never let the water run” when brushing our teeth. I can’t imagine what two or three needless loads of laundry a week is doing for our environment.

My son slept in the closet until he was 18 months old. Yes, we have a two bedroom condo and had two kids with completely different sleeping schedules. So…he slept in the closet. It’s a walk in closet, but a closet none the less. I was feeling pretty satisfied with the set up until my mother mentioned that a friend asked her if there was enough oxygen in there. At first I was very confident. Well of course – like I would endanger my child! And then I started thinking “uh oh – what it if there’s not? Have I just permanently brain damaged my child? What if I’ve slowly deprived him of oxygen night after night?!” So Then I find myself franticly searching online…my google searches included the exact phrases “Signs of Oxygen Deprivation” and even “child sleeps in closet” just to see if I could find anyone else out there living my pathetic arrangement.
I was finally put at ease when I realized we had a heating vent in the closet that constantly pumps out new, fresh air. OK so that guilt trip is over. Of all the things I will do to cause damage to my children, at least this won’t be one of them. We finally did get him out of the closet and into a room with my daughter…but ONLY because we found out we are now expecting our THIRD child and are STILL stuck in this two bedroom condo so just when we thought we’re getting our room back, we will now have another child in the closet. And don’t even get me started on the mind trip I went on when trying to shop for furniture for the set up in the new shared room. I figured bunk beds would be perfect and really the only space appropriate solution…was feeling really excited about redecorating the room until I started reading online about the warnings that bunk beds are not for children under six (my daughter is three). Will SOMEONE give me a break here???? What IS safe anymore? I’m thinking that logically with a removable ladder, I can ensure my daughter’s safety as long as we only use the top bunk for sleeping. But the more I read that warning the more I begin dreaming at night about how my daughter is going to wake up sleep walking and launch herself off the top bunk and suffer permanent damage because of my stupidity as a mother. The decision whether or not to buy the bunk beds was as life-consuming as picking which college I’m going to send them to.

So continues the mental trip of motherhood. I want to make them homemade sweet potatoes and roast chicken but what I end up doing is serving up mac and cheese and a Lean Cuisine. I want to do crafts and create paint projects with my kids that I’ll cherish forever but I end up plopping them on the floor with some play dough just praying that my son won’t eat it this time…I want to take them to story time at the library and join mommy and me classes so I can hob nob with THOSE mothers but I can’t even seem to get out the door because I can’t find my daughter’s shoes and my son has no clean pants. I dream of a day filled with laughter and singing and dancing, but instead I am consoling one snotty nosed crying kid while the other begs to be fed lunch all the while crying and wondering when I’m EVER going to get to pee.

Oh yeah and one last thing. People keep asking me how I lose my baby weight so fast. The answer? I don’t eat. Yeah that’s right – no special diet or six week plan…I’m quite frankly just starving so don’t be jealous. Even when I do get a spare minute and finally sit down to some yummy deliciousness, it’s like my kids can sniff it out and they circle in like vultures to feast on my nourishment. I could put the EXACT same thing on their plate and all I’d hear is “no want” but when it’s on my plate it somehow magically transforms into some sort of forbidden fruit…They become CONVINCED that I reserve the special food for myself and feed them the leftover scraps. NO kids I’m eating a lean cuisine too…followed by 6 oreos if I’m lucky. When do people fit in time to EAT with all these kids around??? And for the record,being skinny does not mean being tone. I used to look like Ashley Tisdale in a miniskirt, now I look like Mary Katherine Gallagher.

Yep. NO one ever told me that motherhood was going to be this tough. I am realizing that to do it WELL takes WAY more than I have in me. But I’m relying on God now…dropping the list of expectations…and allowing HIM to tell me what being a good mother means. I’m learning that there is some serious joy and freedom in admitting we don’t have it all together. I surrender my best each day and then pray for God to fill in the gaps for me. The ONLY way I’m going to be the mother I long to be is to have complete dependence on Him…I can’t do this alone but with His help, we’re going to be OK. I just need to sit back, enjoy the ride, learn to laugh at myself, and understand that there are mothers all over the world who feel like I do. And we’re going to make it :)

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11 Responses to “Motherhood Confessions”

  • You are too cute. You do a wonderful job as a mother and a wife AND a friend! I’m excited to read about all this stuff. Maybe it will prepare me for motherhood one day! I’ve trained my dog to pee in a box! yay! ; ) Love you!

  • Wow…you just wrote everything I feel all the time. Funny thing, I am the same way about laundry. I forget about it. Sometimes I don’t even forget, I’m just too lazy to do it. I think you are a wonderful mom. I’m sure if you asked the kids, they’d say the same. Love you!

  • Nic, after reading this I was just reminded of why I love you!! I seriously… seriously… think you need to write a book! I know you probably won’t have time for that until you’re like 50 and hopefully your kids will have moved out by then 😉 But some day you need to publish what you’ve written. You have said everything that every Mother feels but is too scared to say out loud. Honestly I don’t know many people who could be as eloquent as you are to put this into words in a way that we can all relate to and laugh at! I can’t wait to see what you write next!!

  • Nic, well said! It is like you are describing my life. It is sooo hard. No one EVER tells you all of the negative…all you hear is how wonderful it is. It is not until you are actually a mother that you see how hard it is. I look forward to more from you. It is therapeutic to read this. Makara is right. You have a way with words. I do hope that one day you will put all of it to the test and get it published. I think that they will allow the rough draft to be written in ketchup or crayola…not sure but you can check on that…..

  • I laughed out loud! You made me feel totally normal. I think we all try to keep up this perfect mommy image….but we are all secretly feeling the same thing, insanity. Let me make you feel normal…Tron still has his pacifier and he is 2, I found the laundry had been done last night but not put in the dryer, I give Tron V8 Fusion because it has a full serving of veggies and fruit (can’t seem to get him to buy the whole veggies are good for you thing), and last but not least if Daddys not home Mommy is serving pizza! Miss you tons! Laura~

  • OMG!!!!!! can you PLEASE contact someone and have this made into a book!!! this was brilliant! i read it to my mom too. it was so much like reading a girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy! AMAZING!!!! keep it coming please!!!!!

  • Liz:

    Aww Nic that is too funny. You are a wonderful mother and just know that this is not something that you alone have problems with. None of us can do it all but alas it has been bred in us to keep trying of course and be heartbroken when we fail. You can always count on me girlie. Love ya!

  • I laughing out loud! I love you!Lisa

  • Okay, so after reading part 1 I am having second thoughts about what I said today. Yeah, you know the part about being super excited to be a dad. Dont get me wrong I still do but now Im not just scared about the babies but what is going to happen to wifey? j/k hang in there you are doing fine.

  • KLZ:

    Frakin’ laundry. It all comes down to frakin’ laundry which is always the straw that breaks the momma’s back.

    If there were no laundry to do I am positive my kids would get more balanced meals, exercise, the lot.

    Well, except the TV. I like the TV.

  • Motherhood Confessions:

    I don’t know what I would have done without Baby Einstein when my daughter was a baby. It was the ONLY thing that would make her calm down, and that is in a list that includes her own mother’s gentle touch.

    Thanks for stopping by Momma Kat!

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