I am struggling.
Yes, I said it. It feels good to say it out loud, actually. As an admitted Type A personality, parenthood has brought me down to earth in a major way, especially having two babies under two. I am the kind of person who likes structure, organization, and stability; parenthood can and usually is the complete opposite of that. Just when you think you’ve figured out this one, the next stage slowly creeps in and throws you into chaotic confusion all over again. It’s kind of like being given the most amazing item in the world, that needs to be built and constructed with complex steps – and comes with absolutely no instructions whatsoever. Like I mentioned above, because of my perfectionism and need for stability I will admit it – motherhood is causing me to struggle – a lot. For many different reasons actually. Because:
- My first little miracle, the baby I prayed so hard to God for every night is now a boundary-pushing toddler that I must start disciplining. It’s killing me that he doesn’t seem to understand and thinks I’m being mean, and I must be stern towards the precious boy I always dreamed of having.
- I am always guilty. Always. As I sit and write this while my boys nap, I feel terrible that I took 20 minutes to myself doing what I enjoy, while I could be cooking, organizing, or cleaning the endless disaster that is my home.
- That little boy I love most in the world is now pushing every button I have, and I hate to be the bad guy. Yet I know that this is part of being a parent, and I feel torn between doing what is easy and what is right.
- I am both mentally and physically exhausted; my little one still isn’t sleeping well and my big one has no “OFF” button.
- I still haven’t fully accepted that I won’t be able to nurse my second baby ever again, and missed out on the bond I had with my oldest for an entire year. I feel like a failure and privately it breaks my heart and I still cry about it.
- Physically I am still suffering so much from my last labour. I have no time for complaining or appointments and have to keep it together because everybody needs me.
- My home, a place that I had pride in that used to be mine, is slowly deteriorating and cannot stay clean now no matter how hard I try. The constant mess makes me so anxious.
- Although I am honest and diligent, I am terrified that I haven’t completely broken the cycle, and will possibly repeat the detrimental behaviour I was brought up with and create a childhood for my kids that they will need to recover from.
- My marriage is sadly almost at the bottom of my list, and while I prioritize keeping these two babies alive I am neglecting the whole reason I am here in the first place.
- My passion, a family photography career I worked so, so hard to build up is now at the very bottom of my list. I have to turn down clients left and right, and can’t help but feel that people will lose faith in my work and I will lose my one opportunity to do what I truly love.
- I have two children now and because they are both so young I can’t possibly give them both my attention, and the guilt is slowly breaking me.
Now listen, this list wasn’t made or displayed for pity – even though as I read it, it looks pretty pitiful. I wrote this because as promised I want my blog post to be raw, honest and real. I also wrote this so those who are struggling too can see even just one thing on this list they can relate to, and know that they are not alone. I made the choice to be mommy to these boys, and I honestly and truly wouldn’t trade it for the world. Because despite all of the things I’m struggling with, I am surviving motherhood. I’m making it through because:
- Every day when they wake up I’m greeted with huge smiles that melt away my exhaustion, and somehow gives me the energy I really don’t physically have in me.
- Watching my oldest learn new words and skills every day amazes me and makes the hours of repetition and hard work worth it.
- When I discipline him for the 10th time in a row and he finally listens, I know that my tireless efforts were not in vain and my toddler is going to (sometimes) do what I say.
- As I see my littlest grow quickly and become a big healthy boy I am learning to accept that fed truly is best, and the insecurity of not being able to breastfeed him was mine and mine alone.
- I have an incredible tribe of women, both in real and virtual life, who support and back me up 100%. They remind me every day that I’m not alone, and we are all going through very similar struggles (get yourself a small, solid and trustable mom group – you’ll thank me later).
- I know I have broken the cycle – my self-awareness and the state of my life is proof of that – and have risen up, stopped the negative habits and patterns, and will raise happy, healthy and well-adjusted children.
- Despite our exhaustion and distractions, I know that my husband is still my best friend, and we will make it through these sleep-deprived years that aren’t so easy.
- Day by day my oldest gets more used to his little brother being around, and I can envision that someday they will be able to entertain and enjoy each other.
- I look at my issues and remember that there are moms out there who would trade their challenges for mine in a heartbeat.
- I know all of this is all temporary, and have so many people telling me that I will miss the beautiful times during these years that will someday be ‘the good old days.’
In the end, although I am struggling every single day to make it through motherhood, I know that I will survive because I’ve made it through much rougher times. And if you’re reading this – so have you. You’ve survived your entire life up this point – heartbreaks, traumas, devastation, and all the crappy stuff – and here you are. That’s got to mean something, right? To get through my tougher days I often say these affirmations to myself – my motherhood mantras, if you will:
- The very fact that I worry so much about being a loving and effective parent makes me both of those things.
- Everyone makes mistakes and that’s OK. It’s not that we made them that defines us; it’s how we correct and learn from them
- I acknowledge and accept that it is OK to not be a perfect mom, and to be even a decent one is more than alright.
- My anxiety is contagious, but my calmness is too.
- We repeat what we don’t repair. I refuse to inherit dysfunction and will raise my children with love, joy, realness, and accountability.
- Every day may not be good, but there is a little bit of good in every day.\
- I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.
And so are you. If you’re are struggling with anything in your life, not just parenthood – please read these words and repeat them if necessary: you are not alone. You’re really not! We are all stumbling through life; some just hide or recoup from it better than others. If we all stick together and be honest, open, and real about our problems we’ll make it through the tough times stronger, wiser, and better. Our struggles are sometimes our biggest blessings, as they strengthen and shape us into the resilient people who we’re meant to be.
So solidarity, my friends. If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way. We’ve got to stop praying for a life without struggles, since they are unavoidable, and start praying for the strength to survive them. And so far, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. Don’t give up on yourself… you’re stronger than you think.