i’m new to this whole motherhood gig, so i am by no means an expert and i don’t intend to offer guidance to other mothers. but i would like to offer a response to the lady at whole foods who while walking by us, stopped briefly to say, “life will never be easy again.”
i’ve found that people, like this stranger, tend to point out the difficulties of parenthood more often than the good of it. people like to ask if he’s fussy or “a good baby.” whether he’s eating on a schedule or sleeping through the night.
i would like to respond by saying 1) he’s a baby. of course he’s fussy and needy sometimes. and 2) do you really think my two month old is sleeping a solid 8 hours or are you just trying to remind me that i’m missing a good night’s sleep? (is it my tired eyes and unwashed hair that’s giving it away?) instead, to make myself feel better, i usually just remark that he’s sleeping better than he was a few weeks ago and that he has his fussy times.
it feels like i’m not living up to certain standards — making me a bad mom and him a bad baby — when the focus is on this external rubric.
this isn’t to say that having a new baby isn’t difficult. it’s been far more challenging than i thought since we welcomed a third into our home. i knew i would likely not have time to shower or cook, but i didn’t realize how much my relationship would change with my partner, how little time i would have to myself or how much i would struggle to be any thing other than a mother. i naively thought that after a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months, we’d be on a schedule and everyone would be measuring up.
i expected too much of myself and we are not even close to being on a schedule, and no, my child is not sleeping through the night. i rarely make it out of yoga pants and i shower less than i would like. but i don’t need to be reminded that motherhood is difficult. i realize that over and over again on a daily basis.
what i could use instead is for people to remind me that despite all of the challenges, motherhood is soul-changing. it touches the heart in a way that no other relationship can. i helped create this being who’s breathing and living, and i’m now responsible for that individual–an individual that i have grown to love more than i ever thought possible.
so instead of reminding me that i’m missing out on some solid sleep, how about asking me if my son is healthy and happy? asking me and my partner what our favorite quality about him is? what we hope to teach him? those are questions i would like to answer.
if we mothers (and fathers) focused on these aspects of being parents, we’d likely see these new beings and ourselves in a different light — plus, i certainly wouldn’t mind being reminded that despite a lack of sleep, this whole being a mama thing is pretty great.