Sometimes motherhood feels like a trap.
I know, I know. I can already hear the haters crawling out from the woodwork to edge toward their keyboards and recite a chorus of “You chose this.” “You HAD the kids.” and “You could’ve prevented that by wearing a condom.”
Yes. People are mean.
All of these things have been said to me before (many times) behind the cover of keyboards in comment threads.
But here’s the thing, childless haters:
Loving my kids and desperately wishing they’d leave me the hell alone are not mutually exclusive feelings.
I love my kids so fiercely that I want to smell their hair and stare at them like some kind of night stalker as they sleep. In those moments, I’m reminded of their sheer perfection as new humans.
But I also tell the truth, friends.
The. Whole. Truth.
Dark, scary, cob-webby, embarrassing, difficult, painful, torturous truths.
And sometimes joy-filled, happy, exciting, victorious truths.
But not today.
Today, I feel like a victim of motherhood.
Today I am so
that I could barf.
And that’s real-life motherhood sometimes.
I know what I signed up for as an online truth-teller. I know people come for my neck in the comments, salivating, just waiting to tell me how I’m ruining my kids.
That’s cool. Sad for you, but fine.
But here’s the thing…
Motherhood is both.
It is thinking your kid is the most thoughtful, hilarious, kind-hearted tiny terrorist that has ever lived.
It is knowing their tantrums and endless whining are only a product of being a kid, still learning and navigating big feelings and how to ask for help, while also being SO tired of hearing “mom, mama, mommy” for the 847,000th time that you’re seriously considering ear removal surgery.
It is wanting to honor your child’s true feelings, nurture their interests, and create the safest space possible for them to grow up, while also knowing that if you have to “watch this” or hear one more 83 hour story about Fortnite you will actually drive your super cool minivan off the road.
It is encouraging your kid to be the best at whatever they love, take pride in their talents, and support them when they fail, but also know it’s okay that they see when they’ve hurt you.
Sure, we are the grown-ups (technically) and they are “just kids”.
But they also need to learn to respect the feelings of others, to not feel entitled, and to understand that there is more to the world than only their own wants and feelings.
I know not everyone will agree with me here, but that’s part of parenting, too.
I’m not here to make friends.
I’m here to share the WHOLE story; not to skip chapters to get to the feel-good sections of life.
Sometimes motherhood is award ceremonies, parties, and sweet hand-drawn pictures that literally no one but their little minds can decipher.
And you crumble in your undying love and affection for them. Their sweetness overtakes your stone-cold heart.
But sometimes it’s like today…
And both can exist in the same life,
In the same world,
In the same household,
In the same day.
So, be kind to each other.
Raise the Mockingjay salute of solidarity to the mom wrestling her kid into the grocery cart.
Stop judging and start smiling.
This. Life. Is. Hard.
The hard doesn’t go away. It just changes. It takes new paths, unexpected turns, and looks differently than we may have expected.
Let yourself feel the feelings, sit in the hard, and cry/sleep/run/eat an entire bathtub of chips and queso.
Just don’t unpack all of your bags and set up shop there.
Make a stop.
Take a detour.
Spend some time.
And then keep moving forward.
Because, like life, motherhood is both
brutal and beautiful,
powerful and painful,
maddening and magical.
It’s what we do in the hard that can most impact the hearts of our kiddos.
We can show them that life is hard,
That we mess up,
That mistakes are normal,
That we get to choose how we respond,
And that resilience is where our power lies.
And both sides of the hard are important, friends.
Perfection isn’t real and there is POWER in teaching our kids that painful truth.
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