I love being a mom with every fiber of my being. As soon as I found out I was pregnant for the first time I cried actual tears of joy. This is a big deal for someone who never used to show any kind of emotion. I was so excited to be a mom and have someone in my life with my DNA because as a transracial adoptee, I didn’t grow up with anyone who looked like me.
I decided to be a stay at home mom so that I could spend the most amount of time with my kids as possible and when it came time to send my five year old off to kindergarten, I just couldn’t do it and we decided to homeschool. I genuinely love getting to spend every single day with my three kids and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
That being said…not every moment is pure joy. When we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my newborn and he screamed his head off for the first three months of his life, that wasn’t enjoyable.
When my daughter had explosive diarrhea all over the playroom and rubbed it into her baby brother’s hair, that wasn’t a moment I was in love with.
When I was battling depression and didn’t realize it and felt angry and frustrated with my two toddlers all the time just for existing, that wasn’t amazing for me.
When you tell a mom that she should enjoy every moment of motherhood because the time passes too quickly and before you know it they’ll be all grown up, it’s toxic, and here’s why.
Sometimes that mom is barely hanging on and to tell her that she should be enjoying every moment when she isn’t, it makes her feel even worse than she already does (if that’s even possible). That statement piles on guilt and shame and though I’m sure no one means for that to happen when they say it, sadly that’s exactly what happens. They don’t need you to tell them that the time passes quickly. When you’re knee-deep in diarrhea the time can’t pass quickly enough.
They say the days of motherhood are long and the years are short and that is completely accurate. Please stop telling a mom to enjoy every moment when she’s struggling. Tell her that things will get better. Bring her a coffee and offer to babysit. Sit with her, let her vent, empathize with her, and cry with her. She doesn’t need your wistful reminiscing. She needs you to remember what it’s like to have an inconsolable newborn, what it’s like to feel like you’ll never sleep again, and what it’s like to resent your kids for existing while simultaneously loving them so much you think you might die from it.
To all the struggling moms out there, I see you. I see you sobbing in the bathroom wondering why anyone would let you bring a tiny human home to be responsible for. I see you worrying that your baby might starve to death if you can’t figure out how to breastfeed properly. I see you comparing yourself to the moms with nice hair, flat stomachs, and stain-free shirts. They are not your people, but I am. You’ve got this mama. It does get better. You will sleep again.
And someday, you’ll never have to wipe another butt.
Stay strong, you’ll make it.