Motherhood is hard…and that’s okay. The most important things in life always are.Dear fellow overwhelmed mommas,
Has anyone admitted the truth to you?… Motherhood is HARD.
We knew that before we started down this road though, right? Or did we? People told us about the sleepless nights and the blowouts, about the tantrums and the never ending requests for more snacks. But we didn’t really know, did we?
How could we have? There are some things that can only be learned through experience. In the end, no one can really prepare you for what motherhood requires. No one can communicate the cornucopia of feelings that flow through you over the course of a single day: the exasperation, the adoration, the frustration, the guilt, the laughter, the appreciation, the isolation, the bliss, and the exhaustion.
Yes, motherhood is many things; however, EASY is not one of them. Motherhood is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It requires more stamina, patience, selflessness, creativity, problem-solving, and analysis than my career in teaching ever did.
Sometimes, in fact, I’ve wondered if it’s supposed to be this hard. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one either. And then, we fall into the trap of thinking that if motherhood is hard, then one of two things is to blame:
My kids are more difficult than most. I must have just gotten the Tazmanian devil of the toddler world. So-and-so’s kids don’t act like mine. She’s so lucky to have it easier.
Maybe my kids aren’t the problem. Maybe they are normal, but I’m not. Maybe I just don’t have what it takes to be a mom. Maybe I need to be stronger, more organized, more patient, more…perfect. If I was a better mom, it would be easier.
Anyone else ever have thoughts like that?
Here’s the problem. When we think like this, we create a false dilemma for ourselves because our underlying assumption that motherhood shouldn’t be so hard is WRONG.
News flash: Motherhood isn’t supposed to be easy!
Somewhere along the line, our culture has created this false (albeit appealing) idea that life should be easy. At first, this seems like a good thing, right? I mean, everyone wants be happy. But the problem lies in the assumption that “easy” equals happy and “hard” equals unhappy. That’s simply not true.
Our culture is so obsessed with making things more convenient, more efficient, and more fun that we sometimes start to expect ALL aspects of our lives to be convenient and easy…like watching Netflix shows on demand or having a hot dinner in just a few minutes from the convenience of a microwave.
With our smart phones that give us directions to wherever we’re going and instant access to so many of life’s questions, we start to think that all problems should be able to be answered with the push of a button.
Now, do we think this consciously? No, of course not. But the idea creeps up on us over time, and its appealing message can derail even the best of us into becoming dissatisfied with our lives and feeling confined by our role as mothers.
Here’s the truth: life is hard. Motherhood is hard. But that’s okay. We need to stop associating “hard” with “bad”. After all, when you really think about it, what worthwhile pursuits in life are easy?
Getting my degree as an English teacher involved a lot of late night study sessions, writing and rewriting essays that disappeared from my computer, and conquering fear of rejection. I almost didn’t even apply for the program because of how rigorous the application was. But I decided that if it was something I wanted, then I was just going to have to do whatever it took to get there. I didn’t give up, and I don’t regret all the struggles I went through.
I’m pretty sure that no marathon runner would claim, “Well, that was a breeze” as they cross the finish line. It takes months of preparation, dedication, and physical and mental conditioning to achieve such a goal.
I think of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and other inspiring historical figures. I don’t think any of them would claim their lives were “easy.” Quite the contrary, in fact. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison, for goodness sake. But they knew the value of what they were working for. They knew WHY they were doing hard things. They knew WHY they couldn’t give up.
It’s easy to say that we know our work as mothers is important, but it’s also easy to get lost in the day-to-day monotony and lose sight of the big picture.
So, mommas, let’s recognize motherhood for what it is. Let’s accept that it is hard. It is full of physical, mental, and emotional demands that push us to the very edge of our limits. Usually at least once a day I want to hide in a closet. That’s okay!
Let us also recognize that struggling with those demands does not make us bad moms. It makes us normal. Let’s be reasonable in our expectations of ourselves and and our kids. And while we’re on the topic, let’s not make motherhood harder than it needs to be. Let’s kindly allow ourselves to occasionally serve cereal for dinner, choose to read a book instead of cleaning the floor, or forget to play tooth fairy. It’s okay.
Remember, our kids are not horrible. Nor are we incapable. Motherhood is just hard…and that’s okay.
Because it is also SO worthwhile.
We may not have fancy offices or be winning awards, but we are creating the most valuable resource in the world. We are making people.
Not everyone has the luxury of staying home with their kids, but I do. I am blessed to be my boys’ primary influence, guide, and teacher through their early years. I only get a few years with them before the world will begin shoving its ideas and agendas in their faces.
So, let us guard this time carefully. Let us remember that these little people have been entrusted to us by God. Let us embrace the “hard” and see it less as a swamp to trudge through, but as a mountain to climb–a challenge that we know will bring added strength and perspective.
Let’s enjoy the snuggles and giggles, and let’s change diapers and do laundry with an understanding that even those things are of value to those we serve and love.
Motherhood is hard…and that’s okay. The most important things in life always are.