Each year, mothers use social media to share an outpouring of love and gratitude to their children. “I’m so lucky to be your mom.” “You’ve taught me to be a better person.” “I never knew how deeply I could love until you.”
I want my children to know I am lucky to be their mom; they have taught me to be a better person; and they did bring a whole new level of love to my heart. But let’s also make it clear that motherhood is not as sweet and simple. There’s much more to say.
I can’t wait to see you every day, but I also may go insane if I don’t get away from you for an hour.
You’re giving me anxiety about things I can’t even identify yet.
You are the most amazing wonder, yet also the most frustrating human alive.
I’m losing sleep at night about how we may clash in 14 years when you’re a teenager.
I really hope you grow up to be a nice person.
As mothers, we become the carriers of a new life – in our bellies, in our arms, in our hearts. Our identities transform overnight; no matter how much we prepare, the moment our child is put into our care, we’re a totally different person than the day before. We cover every end of the spectrum between “I was born for motherhood” and “What the hell am I doing?” and most women are just trying to keep their heads above water. Treading, endlessly. Constantly evaluating, adjusting, re-evaluating, re-adjusting.
It’s hard to write about ourselves and share our experiences without feeling self-indulgent, but we’re doing a disservice when we use our platforms to, often unwittingly, paint a perfect picture. We exclude the hard parts – maybe because we’re afraid they reflect failure, or they hit a nerve of our own uncertain insecurities. If we do share them, we call it out: “I don’t usually get this personal…”
Motherhood is a journey, an epic journey, for all. We crave stories and anecdotes from others to hear that we’re not alone, that someone else has gone through this, that my kid isn’t a medical or psychological anomaly. Post the nice pictures, but let’s share the struggles without apology. We all have our stories to tell.
Just for fun: What do YOU want to tell your children about how parenthood really is? Comment below!