It’s been about two weeks since last I wrote. For me, that’s a really long time. If you’re a regular reader and I’ve disappointed you with my lack of Tuesday Tips and typical light-hearted fare, I apologize. The reality is, it’s been a rough few weeks. In the past three weeks, I went to Chicago on business (good, but stressful), moved (very stressful), experienced the wrath and ensuing chaos of Hurricane Sandy (very bad and very stressful!), and went to Vegas on business (good, but stressful — and, exhausting!). My good friends know that if I don’t have anything positive to say, I often won’t say anything at all. I go silent. Lately, I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’ve gone silent. And, since some readers say they wish I’d share more of the hardships and challenges I face, well, here they are. I am breaking my silence with a confession. And here it is.
Motherhood is hard. I tend to be a glass half full kind of a person but the reality is that this whole mommy thing is just really freakin’ hard. No one said it would be easy, but I never expected it to be quite so challenging — in every way imaginable.
Physically, motherhood is grueling. It starts at the very beginning, with the morning sickness when egg meets sperm. I thought it ended with the final push and first cry but, I was wrong. With a son who is almost eight, a daughter who just turned six and four year old triplets, motherhood is as physically challenging as ever. The triplets still need to be buckled into the back of the minivan – a daily task that includes twists and turns and seems to require a level of flexibility I no longer have. Not to mention, my pre-partum ass would have been a much easier fit into the third row! My oldest son expects me to wrestle, rough house and play soccer, football, lacrosse, and baseball. I grew up taking ballet classes and never played a team sport. Last summer he told me with more of a hint of disappointment, “Mom, you just weren’t meant to play baseball.” And he was right.
My daughter tends to challenge me more emotionally, though all the kids do in some way. The emotional challenges of motherhood were also unanticipated. I wasn’t prepared for how lonely it can be when you’re never actually alone but your constant companion is a newborn – often, a screaming newborn that you have no clue how to calm. I was completely unprepared for how early the mother-daughter drama begins; the battle of wills over things I know don’t matter (for instance, the removal of every barrette/headband/elastic I’ve ever put in her hair!), yet still I engage in battle. Then there’s the heartache – the gut-wrenching heartache – you experience when one of your children is made fun of or another is chosen last for a team. And once a year, there are those sharp needles that pierce their tender skin at the annual physicals. Ouch. It’s physical for them, emotional for me. And the emotional roller-coaster is ongoing.
Then there are the financial challenges of raising children. Our grocery bills are outrageous. I mean I’m thrilled they like fresh fruit but at this rate, it would be cheaper to buy an orchard. Or two! Clothes aren’t cheap either. I tend to buy on sale and welcome hand-me-downs but when five kids need new shoes, well, let’s just say this mama’s not getting a brand new bag! Another thing no one ever warned me about is extracurricular activities – they really add up! Just think about all the aforementioned sports plus hip-hop classes – and, all the equipment /outfits/uniforms they require! I suppose it’s a good thing the kids are well-outfitted because at this point, I am not… and at this rate, I’m not sure I ever will be… though I’m grateful I once was – I suspect it was my formerly cute, sassy self that attracted a nice man and got me into this marvelous mess called motherhood in the first place!
There’s much more of course… in my life, there’s the struggle of the juggle as a working mom; the strain on a marriage with so many kids and so little time for each other; the challenge of maintaining friendships, finding time to exercise or, for that matter, finding time to sleep!
Nope, it’s not easy. And sometimes it helps just to admit it. So I’ll say it again. It’s not easy. It’s really really hard. But, being that glass half-full kind of a gal, I can’t linger on the hardships for long. The reality is, no matter how hard it is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Although, if anyone has an “easy button” that can be applied to the mega-job called motherhood, please let me know. And Santa, if you’re out there, consider that “easy button” on the top of my list!