I sat down to journal “a little bit” in the weeks and days leading up to my kid’s 2nd birthday, and what came out ended up being more like a novella instead of a simple journal entry. Turns out I have a lot of Feelings + Thoughts™ on all the motherhood matters. So instead of posting them all at once, I’ve made it a series, if only to make it seem like I’m not pressuring readers into reading 10k words in one sitting. You can read part 1 here, which is mostly about birthdays. This is part 2, which is essentially one giant disclaimer that allows me to be more free with my snark and set some boundaries for sharing this part of my life.
I have witnessed the following phrases – and I bet you have too – being said or written by mothers I either know personally or know of, saw or read an interview, something like that:
I know now that my purpose is to be this baby’s mother. I have never felt Purpose such that I feel now, having this blessed child in my life. It is a privilege to be their mother. It is my honor, it’s humbling, it’s a joy, to be responsible for and raising these babies that I love more than life itself. It is life’s greatest adventure, being a mother. There is nothing better than being my child’s mother. There’s nothing better than motherhood.
ALL of those sentiments are VERY nice. And I would be willing to bet that all mothers everywhere [who are healthy and able, with access to their children] feel all of those statements on some level.
Different levels, different scales, differentLY, let’s say. Some probably very high – the ones who can and do make these types of statements publicly to friends, the internet, etc., and some perhaps lower or more privately – introverts maybe, people who don’t like to share. And me.
I would now like to preempt basically everything I say from here on out with the following disclaimer and guarantee and plea for understanding: Understand THIS before you keep reading.
I DO love my son. Anyone who questions this who is not me or the father of my son (or any of my healthcare professionals familiar with me): A) does not deserve to question it, because B) it’s not their business, and C) needs to respect that my life is mine and not anyone else’s. It’s not yours to question, period. No exceptions.
My brand of sharing is not for everyone. I tend to hide behind snarky comments, sarcastic banter, and snide remarks meant to entertain. “Tend to,” probably doesn’t cover it fully. I am simply not a gusher (I will refrain from making that’s-what-she-said jokes here (are we still doing those?) but I do need to acknowledge just how much I don’t like that word), and do not and will not wax poetic about maybe anything ever.
It’s not comfortable for me, it’s not ME, it’s not natural to me, and perhaps most relevant when it comes to motherhood: it’s not the outweighing emotion that I feel, most of the time. And even when it IS, it’s the one I keep closest to myself, to my family. Close to the vest, as they say. I HIDE MY CARDS LIKE AN ACE POKER PLAYER, and I will only show you the Joker in my hand. If I knew how to play poker, I could probably make this analogy more apt, but I think you follow.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t love my son. A LOT. Or less than YOU love YOUR kid. It definitely doesn’t mean that I REGRET anything, or that I wish he wasn’t here, or that I wish I had never gotten pregnant in the first place, or that I wish for anything different than what I have right now: which is a healthy, adorable, precious boy, a partner who participates equally with me in loving and raising this boy, and a family that supports us.
These are blessings. These are privileges. These are things I know, recognize, say thank you for regularly. I just don’t say thank you in public – as if saying it publicly makes it count more. Yeah I know, insta-or-it-didn’t-happen.
But to me, my gratitude, my love, the vulnerable and intimate pieces of me are MINE. Mine and mine alone, and I am not accountable to anyone to like, keep y’all posted on my level of gratitude or whatever.
What YOU get is: the comedy, the OTHER very real feelings that I don’t see from others, as much as I see the sometimes rose-colored-glasses gratitude and etc. mushiness.
So that’s the void I’m filling. For myself. Because as unique as we all like to think we are, I know if I feel it, then at least one other person feels it too. Nothing is better than searching for someone who feels the same…and finding it.
You may not like what I have to say, and you may not like how I say it. You may not agree with what I have to say. You may think I need to focus less on “the negative.” You may think I need a gratitude journal. Maybe you think I should say “shit” less.
Key words in all of these statements is: YOU. YOU THINK. I’m here to remind you: You think what you want, boo. And I’ll think what I want. If you don’t like it, I respectfully request that you move on.
Because especially on the topic of motherhood: we all have enough insecurities to deal with. I don’t need people telling me that I SHOULD or shouldn’t, that I need to try, that I could maybe, or perhaps worst of all, “But isn’t it the best? Don’t you love your child despite it all?” Like yes, but that’s not the point of what I’m saying. I’m not going to qualify every shitty toddler story with “but it’s all worth it in the end,” because the whole POINT is: sometimes it doesn’t feel like that! And that’s ok.
I feel so glad and grateful to be raising a kid in this modern world of motherhood, where we – the mothers – have started admitting that a lot of it sucks, and we’ve stopped trying to hide the hard and the sad and the terrible and the soul-sucking.
YES there’s so much more to it, and the love is immense. Immense. IMMENSE.
BUT. It’s not ALL about that, and I am a happy, eager participant in bringing THE REAL into the light.
Join me! Or don’t!
And if you don’t join me, you don’t need to tell me about it.
Peace be with you. See you for part 3, where we discuss hormones and all the you-have-a-newborn discussion points. It gets heavy, but that’s where it gets good.