When Being a Mother Doesn’t Come Naturally
Call it experiencing feelings of inadequacy. Call it the Mommy Wars. Call it whatever you want to, but there's a huge amount of pressure on moms. The media tells us we should feel nothing but love for our children every second of every day. The baby and toddler books tell us everything depends on breastfeeding or getting enough tummy time or playing classical music or sticking to some impossible schedule. The so-called experts tell us our children will be doomed to a life of criminal activity and substance abuse if we don't achieve the perfect balance of letting children make their own mistakes and nipping “problem” behaviors in the bud.
We want to be perfect for our children, but no one is perfect at anything, and mommy failures always seem so much more devastating than others. Maybe you struggle with patience. The constant fighting and, “Mom! Mom! MOM!” makes you feel like you'd like to go running out the door, and it takes way more than deep breathing and counting to 10 to stay calm.
Maybe being a mom doesn't give you any sense of fulfillment. Sure, you love your kids, but there's a feeling of grief over all the sacrifices you're making and a quiet desperation over who you used to be. While there will certainly be time to explore your interests and goals when the children are grown, you wonder if you'll have any energy left by the then to do anything other than take uninterrupted naps and eat dessert without sharing.
It's hard to come to any level of acceptance of who you are as a mother when it seems like everyone else always has a smile on their face, bakes the perfect chocolate chip cookies every day after school, and is doing every single mommy-and-me activity on Pinterest flawlessly. It's hard to recognize that we each have something special to offer our children that no other person could, and it's hard to keep fighting what seems like a losing battle day after day.
Confession: I don't think I was really meant to be a mother. I don't like to play I Spy, listening to the same story three times makes me feel like my head's going to explode, and playing Barbies seems like it happens in some strange parallel universe I can't quite understand. But I also know I'm not alone in this. Without fail, every time I muster up a little courage and admit that this parenting thing is hard and I'm pretty sure I'm screwing my children up for life, another mother raises her hand and quietly says, “Me too.”
Do you ever feel like being a mother doesn't come naturally to you?