My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Being Honest about Motherhood

There is a notion out there, propogated by the media, social networking sites and nostalgia/romanticising, that motherhood is natural, and easy. This is society's biggest lie. It almost feels like a taboo subject to be writing about, but motherhood is HARD. It is by far the the hardest thing I have done in my life; harder than moving cross-country, harder than labour, harder than saying no to ramen.

Being a mother is amazing and I wouldn't ever change my decision to have a baby. My heart could almost burst when G runs up to give me a hug or a kiss. Watching my little man sleep and listening to his soft snores melts that same heart. There is nothing like the love you have for a child. It is trite, but it is true--it's a love you can't understand until there's a child in your life. And on those days when you are confident, you are on top of the world and nothing can stop you or bring you down.

But there are difficult days too. There's two types of difficult days: baby-centred and mommy-centred. Baby-centred difficult days are those days when your child seems determined to be a hellion. These are the days you wonder what past transgressions merit this form of penance (I know mine, I was a babysitter's terror). Today was one of those days for us. G woke up in a foul temper and had three tantrums before we even left the house, tried to kick me when I attempted to put his shoes on, refused his milk and his medicine then screamed the entire way to school. Those days are tough, but you're dealing with a little person who is trying to figure out this whole life thing and has even less to go on than you do, so you can take a breath and count to ten and (usually) keep your temper.

The really hard days, the worst days are the ones that don't have anything to do with your babe's behaviour. They're the ones where you doubt yourself. The ones where you've convinced yourself that your child hates you and your partner resents you. The days you're absolutely certain that you are the worst mother on the face of the earth. I think it happens more than anyone will admit. I know I certainly don't advertise it when I have a day like that, and they happen more than I want to tell anyone.

The media we're bombarded with every day doesn't help. I read a quote about comparing your life to your facebook friends'; it's like comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel. There's a lot of truth to that, but it's hard to see when you're having one of those really crappy days. It's hard to remember when you see that mom's photos, you know the one: her child always smiles, never throws things and she still has time to make creative bento box style lunches. Green looks good on me, right? Pinterest is quite possibly the worst. My ideas on there have hardly ever been attempted, let alone completed, but pinterest makes it look like every mom spends her afternoons in creative, educational pursuits with her two year old who can speak three languages, while the baby is on a perfect nap schedule and sleeps 12 hours a night. Instead, I try to convince myself that the third episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates will actually teach G good manners and contemplate ordering in dinner for the third time that week.

It's hard. Motherhood is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise 1) has never been a mother or 2) has an abnormal changeling for a child or 3) should just be sainted for their patience already. Some days I don't know how I'm going to make it through. Some days I feel like I've got this motherhood thing down pat. Some days I want to curl up in bed and cry and some days a hug from my little man makes me feel like I could take on an army. In the end, I think we're all doing our best to raise our kids. There's been a lot of talk about moms not judging each other, but to be honest, I don't think that's the problem; some of the best support I have is from other moms. The mommy guilt isn't going to diminish until the media stops handing us the image of the perfect mother like some extravagantly wrapped gift.

So here's my mommy truth. I drop off my son at daycare in pyjama pants. I almost never get dinner on the table before 8 pm. My son sometimes runs out of clean socks and my living room hasn't been vacuumed in weeks. My name is Emmi Lawrence and I am an imperfect mother doing her damnedest. 


  1. You're the best mom ever! There I said it. I wish I had your patience! I love you and I think you're the best!

  2. Luckily I had your mom and dad around for support when I was a mom your age! You're the best! Thanks for your honesty.

  3. This is very real for so many moms. I always said that babies should come with an instruction manual, moms need at least 3 or maybe 4 arms, the patience thing is in short supply some days, and the housework never gets done, the Tupperware drawer will always be a mess, and please Lord, can I get 8 hours of sleep? I'd settle for 6 hours.
    Hang in there. Those perfect "Get everything done, and the house looks perfect, and my clothes look just right, and my child never misbehaves" moms, do not exist in the real world.
    Do the best you can, love your child, love your husband, pick your battles, and the small stuff is "oh well, I don't have time to deal with it. So what if it doesn't get done". Developing an awareness of what your limits are and having a happy family, and a whole you is paramount. However you manage to achieve that.
    You are loved the way you are. You are a wonderful mother, an amazing person just the way you are. You are the perfect you.
    Hugs and love all the way from San Diego.

  4. It is so true. Want to know what I feel when reading your posts sometimes: Wow, I wish I had time or energy to read or do knitworks! So, you're doing great! ;) So jealous., really.
    It is so hard especially once you have two kids close in age. Sometimes I catch myself thinking: What have I got myself into? But the next moment I watch them play together and my heart melts. I think every mom has days like these and no mom is perfect. It's hard to try doing it all right. I had some very bad weeks and yesterday Emma came crawling into our bed for a cuddle and said: "Mami, you're the best in the world. I love you!" And it made me feel all better on one of my worst days. I really enjoyed your post and I think all other moms felt the same way. And: our living room sometimes looks like an After - Storm - Disaster for days. But, that's the way with a family sometimes... Love Miriam