Even though the sun is setting earlier these days, it feels like the days are getting longer and longer. I’ve finished so many tasks by 10 am that by 3pm, I am ready for bed, yet I still have a whole crazy evening ahead of me. It’s when I finally get a moment to myself to sit down and relax, to power-down, I find myself watching TV, trolling Instagram, and checking Facebook. None of which is good for my mind and certainly not good for my soul. Living in a social media era, we are inundated with beautiful photos of one another’s perfect lives. Deep down we know that everyone is dealing with their own sh*t, but for a brief moment, we wish we lived in that beautiful house with those perfectly clean children, and the dog that always looks well-groomed.
As mothers, we are also faced with countless articles circulating on Facebook that are supposed to remind us how truly wonderful being a mother is, even in our dark moments. And it’s true. Being a mother is a blessing. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s sacred. But it’s also a bitch.
Recently, over dinner with friends, my husband stated that he’s just not wired the same way as I am. He didn’t have years of training with a first child to figure everything out. He doesn’t know exactly what will make the baby stop crying or how to give three kids a bath at once without one drowning or without flooding the entire bathroom. I guess it takes a brave man to express his limitations, but I think there is something wrong with his argument. I wasn’t given a manual. I don’t always know what to do. I make it up as I go along, as most of us moms do… What I do know, is that motherhood is a physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting job and there is literally no off hours and no escape.
Yes, yes… It’s a blessing. I of all people know that and cherish the fact that after a health scare that almost cost me the chance to have babies, I am now blessed with three… I am grateful, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think that discredits my right to complain a little bit.
I’ve held multiple jobs from high-school through adulthood. I was a babysitter, a camp counselor, a group-leader, a salesperson, an assistant, a teacher. Not one of these jobs was as draining as motherhood. Let me explain.
I wake up in the morning to either a) a child tapping me on the head and screaming nonsense in my ear or b) to the panic that I overslept and everyone will be late for school. With either a or b, I run downstairs to make breakfast and I get screamed at, “No, I don’t like that!” to almost anything I make, even though the day before, they were more than happy with their breakfasts. I make lunch, pack school bags, run a load of laundry, feed the dog, help unload the dishwasher, get the kids dressed, make the beds, clean up breakfast, vacuum, get myself dressed. And this is all before 8:30 am. Some days, it’s a physical fight to get the kids into their coats and shoes. They don’t want to go to school or they do want to go to school, but not in those shoes. The list goes on and on.
In the three hours I have between nursery drop-off and pick-up, I go to the gym or a mommy and me class. I run errands like food-shopping or race around Target grabbing everything we need (and don’t need). I wrestle my 23-month old in and out of his car seat because now he’s decided he only wants to sit in his brother’s booster seat. I get kicked and break my nails and get scratched as I attempt to buckle the car seat. I make it back to nursery just in time (sometimes I do have time to spare – phew!). I drive home like a maniac, trying to keep my 3-year old awake because if he naps, I am screwed at bedtime. I sing, I tickle, I talk really loud, I scream. All while driving. I unload the kids and the twenty bags of groceries and the ten things from Target I really didn’t need. I make snacks. I make waters. I clean up again. I fold the laundry. I play. I clean up again.
sI get my oldest off the bus and we fight about homework. Homework done, we fight about ipad time. Ipad done, we fight about what we will and won’t eat for dinner. Finally, everyone has their food and I sit down and someone says, “I need more cheese.” And then I am up again. I am lucky if I get to eat my dinner sitting down for more than a minute. No wait, I am lucky if I get to eat it at all because I have a little someone that likes to steal mommy’s dinner. Then it’s time to clean up the kitchen and the hooligans destroy the basement like only wild little boys can do. Oh wait, a ceiling tile fell because they stood on a chair and it magically just fell down. So now I am a lie-detector too. I vacuum and clean up toys and a shoe comes flying at my head. The baby thinks flying shoes are funny. He laughs and then says “uh oh” and “sorry mommy” when I start to scream. Ooops, I am starting to lose my shit. We go up for baths and one only wants a shower, one doesn’t want to brush his teeth, and one wants to run naked. The baby pees in the bath and everyone evacuates. We start again. We get into pajamas. One kicks me as I try to diaper. Another screams because he doesn’t like lotion, and one whines because I didn’t start story time yet. Are you kidding me!? My head is spinning, I am sweating, my abs ache from the kicks, and I want to scream.
Tonight, I did. I am not proud. But I am normal. I am not the perfect mother that is never fazed by the craziness. I can remain calm about a lot of things and a lot of situations, but at a certain point, I am tired, overstimulated, and ready for a bedtime which never seems to come.
So yes, motherhood is amazing, but it’s also the hardest job I’ve ever endured. I sleep very little and I work myself to the bone on a daily basis. As most mothers do. So tonight, as I sip my tea with honey to soothe my “I’m so sore throat from screaming at the kids,” I challenge all of you beautiful, strong mothers out there to take a brief moment to admit to yourself that it’s okay to think motherhood is a job, a really really horrible job where you’re ruled by tiny monster bosses that never want you to rest or remain calm. Because it is. It’s the most rewarding bitch of a job I’ve ever had and the only bitch of a job I’d ever want.
Feel free to post some of your “I love my kids, but sometimes I hate my job” stories too. I think the only true way to be a great mother, is to admit that you’re overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. Because once you admit that, you’re able to recognize that perfection isn’t possible, you can’t please everyone all the time, and it’s okay to need “me” time to regroup. Admitting it’s not easy only paves the way for other mothers to feel like they are not alone in their journey. So next time you see that mom sweating in the parking lot of Target with a screaming infant and a toddler throwing himself, offer to return her cart. It’s the least you can do to recognize that being a mother is a tough job with more losses in a day than wins. But those losses make the wins that much more special…. Like tonight when everyone cried or yelled before bath time and someone was hurt at every turn, we all managed to snuggle up in bed to share a quiet story-time. And just like that, peace was restored for the night…
Until tomorrow… xo