Mothers are, well … motherly. They’re effortlessly patient, affectionate and nurturing, and it all comes naturally from a place deep inside… Right? At least that’s the world’s perception of what it takes to be a mother—a good one anyway. But it’s not always true. Not every mother feels like a natural mom. Some of us weren’t born with the same deep maternal instincts that help us cherish every moment and never doubt our abilities as parents. Not every woman who becomes a mother feels like she was absolutely destined to be one. Some moms have to work a bit harder to embrace motherhood and all of its constant demands.
I will admit I wasn’t ready to be a mom. To be honest I only held a newborn baby one time which was my own nephew and I was scared shitless. I wasn’t the “motherly type”. My friends are always saying “Veronica, I can’t believe you are a mother” or “You are the last person on earth that I would see have a child.” I’m not going to lie, these comments get rude and annoying sometimes.
And while it might mean that all our journeys as parents don’t look exactly the same, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t make you any less of a mom to admit that being one is harder than you thought or more difficult than you would like it to be. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to admit that the joy you get from parenting doesn’t always radiate from your body. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a real mother if being a mom doesn’t complete you like you imagine it does for others.
I feel like once you are a mother you are not supposed to say these things. I will admit I don’t always love being a parent, and that is something women get conditioned not to do, no matter how hard parenting can be. If you even hint that you dislike being pregnant, are having a hard time dealing with sleepless nights during a fussy baby’s infancy, or don’t enjoy playing make-believe with your child, someone will jump to tell you to enjoy your children more. I mean, isn’t enjoying your children why you had them in the first place? What kind of mother are you if these things don’t come instinctively?
You can be a mess and still be a good mom. We are allowed to be both!
No mother is alike or should be alike. Besides, the range of emotions involved in parenting can be hard and overwhelming. In just one hour, we can go from joyful and care-free to angry and depleted. Our kids sometimes push us to our limits, demand more from us than we have to give, and love us so hard it hurts. Some of us are just built for the emotions involved in mothering, but some of us have to work hard to not let them get the best of us.
Some of us prepared for years in every way, and some of us never planned on entering motherhood at all. And even those who grew up with younger siblings babysat a lot or spent years trying to get pregnant, don’t find that mothering comes as naturally as they believed it would when the demands of life with children are set in. And why is that? Because there’s simply no way to prepare. No matter how we step into parenthood, the truth is, few transitions in life are as extensive and all-encompassing. You’re no longer the keeper of your own time, and so many things are suddenly so fiercely out of your control.
And yet, once you’re a mother, you’re always a mother. Becoming a parent is one of the most permanent and life-altering decisions a human being can make. But even so, we’re not allowed to express negative feelings about something that can, at times, feel like more than we can handle. We’re told constantly that we should enjoy mothering, that some moms are left feeling that there must be something wrong with them if they have any negative feelings, even though there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way.
And what about talking about those feelings? Forget it! Most of us like to put out the vibe that we’ve got it all figured out. But few of us actually enter parenting with that kind of know-how or perspective. While some of us might have a handle on small duties, like how to change diapers… that hardly makes the all-encompassing journey of being a parent much easier.
The obstacles involved in parenting are very challenging. They’re rarely cut and dry. They force us over and over again, to push ourselves to the limit because being a good parent matters, maybe more than anything else we ever do. So we strive to be so much better than we ever thought we could be. But being better doesn’t always mean being happier. Sometimes, you just have to put in the hard work because it needs to be done. We can do our best to enjoy it all, but it’s not always possible for all of us. And that leads to feelings of inadequacy or questioning whether we have what it takes, simply because of how high the stakes are. We don’t want to fail our children or the people around us. But not feeling like a natural mom doesn’t mean you aren’t a good one. It just means you’re a work in progress like we all are.
So, to us mothers who doubt ourselves or wonder if we are a good parent, I’m guessing we are already a good one. Because I learned that the fact that we are taking the time to worry about it, shows how much we care about our children, which comes naturally to all mothers.
This was an extremely hard blog to write… very personal. I try to not share my negative thoughts with others because I feel as if I’m always being judged. Please refrain from nasty comments or e-mails.
Are you going through the same thing I am? E-mail me or comment below and let’s connect!
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