Just Google the word "motherhood" and there are plenty of insightful tips on becoming a mom. Advice from mommy communities, therapists, physicians, and disgruntled moms-to-be. Some stories shared by moms were sad, funny, or downright scary.
There is just no way to gauge if what is being read is legit. For the most part, comments ooze with excitement about the blissful new chapter of being a parent. Honestly, there are very few gushing moments to share. The thought of even being a parent shook the core, and like many unplanned things in life, the shock takes time to wear off. Meeting the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of another human being are not on the agenda. Now this little gorgeous and odd crying creature is dependent on us. This comes from a person who makes a dog family, sleeps when needed, has music rehearsal on a whim, and couldn't wait until the Diane von Furstenberg fall collection is released.
Pretty cool picture? Now diapers and having enough butt cream are the normal. There is no sleep, and fitting into a new dress is scary. Then there is the guilt regarding the lack of happiness of being a mom. Finding the support of people going through the same thing was nonexistent. So, the transition began, solo. Although life is not lined up neatly, or organized as it seemingly was before--we begin to traverse through the terrain of motherhood and its challenges.
Perfection is for "The Waltons" and not for everyone. We need to discard perfection immediately, and enter into the realization that nothing is easy. "The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism and become a fearless mother is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly - indeed to embrace uncertainty," author Arianna Huffington says about being a parent. There is a lot of uncertainty and even guilt for some. You might not sew, cook, attend the Parent Teachers Association meetings, or be the one to chaperone a school trip. That does not make you less of a mom. You don't have to operate in another person's gift to feel whole. You may not be able to construct a homemade Halloween costume, but so what?
Also, many women want to work and not remain at home--there is guilt for this as well. Someone gave this advice. If working makes you are better mom, than that is what you do. Being passionate about what you do for a living outside the home is perfectly healthy. Just like being a stay-at-home mom works for others. There is enough stress for new mothers as it is--society tends to frown on those working. But research now suggests that babies don't suffer when parents go back to work. This counteracted the studies that suggested children do worse when a mother returns to work within the first year of birth. New York's Columbia University School of Social Work finds that, while there are "downsides to mothers taking work during their child's first year, there are also significant advantages--an increase in mothers' income and well-being," The Guardian reported. For new mothers, anxiety is off the charts with mood disorders surfacing--the once stable person is moving into another dimension of challenges. Let's not criticize those who choose to work. If this has been a source of contention, seek council and the support of friends.
What is even more frustrating than the lack of support in society for working moms is the responsibility for taking care of another human being. There are people who just love the attention that having a child offers. They swap stories on parenting and that is it. That is fine for some, but there needs to be something more than chatting about being vomited on, or sleeping patterns. Maybe there is something missing generically, but swimming in those conversations all the time, make it hard, even though it is part of this new world. It is more than fine to be happy outside the confines of discussing bowl movements and rashes. However, this is part of the job, and so are our weaknesses. Author Rebecca Lammersen writes about accepting our shortcoming and frailties as humans, not just as moms. "Part of being myself is accepting my humanness--my thoughts of discontent, the guilt, the worry, the feelings of failure mixed with my desire to fulfill my dreams. All of these feelings are natural," she offers on the Huffington Post.
If being a mommy scares you understand that most feel that way. Nobody knows 100 percent on how to raise a perfect kid. Most of them are doing it on the fly. It is like when you first get that baby home, changing them is intimidating. When they turn different shades because they are hot, cold, or just adjusting to something--you want to call 911 before taking a deep breath. There is some crazy stuff, mind blowing, even. Then you learn how to adapt. If that means getting away, taking a drive, buying something pretty, then yes--do it. This will help your perspective and refresh you. One thing that helps is talking to people who are understanding. Talk with other working moms who are struggling, and who are trying to balance everything. Additionally, you need to know that embracing motherhood takes more time for some people. Everyone is different and people process change differently. This doesn't make you a bad person. However, if you need to reach out, don't be ashamed to vent. Transitioning from taking care of you, and then taking care of a family would rock any world.
There are different seasons in our lives, and this might prove to be the most challenging yet. There will be sleepless nights, sickness, crankiness, and just bad days. Preparing for these challenges is hard, but the key is adjusting to them, and using it as a springboard to become stronger. During times like this, you might not say that you are happy to be a mom, but be reminded that the struggle to be a good one will not last forever.