“Have children,” they said. “It will be fulfilling,” they said.
And so you did.
It was nothing at all like the books said. So much harder than your mom made it out to be. And way more amazing than anything you had ever done before.
Though I’ve only been at this mommy business for a decade, and trust me, I’m not professing to know it all, I have figured out a few things along the way.
So, let’s bust up some of those mommyhood myths that only undermine our confidence and ruin the good stuff, shall we?
Myth: “Don’t do XYZ (insert any unsolicited advice here), it will spoil your children/ruin their health/make your life so much easier/et al.”
Truth: Every child is different. Every mother is different. Every family is different. Each of us makes our own decisions based on the understanding we have of our children’s needs as well as our own beliefs, values, and knowledge. Everything you are doing is exactly right for you and your child RIGHT NOW. It might not be later, or with your other child, or on the second Tuesday in February, but today, you’re doing the right thing, mama. Pat yourself on the back, you’re doing a great job!
Myth: All of your time should be devoted to your child and you should want nothing for yourself.
Truth: After you have recovered from your uncontrollable belly laughter, go grab yourself a big chunk of chocolate and finish making those dinner reservations for you and your five girlfriends. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Neglecting yourself does not mean you care more about your children. There’s a reason they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first in case of an in-flight emergency. If you’re run down, overworked, feeling sad or isolated, needing a workout, or would like to have a conversation without being interrupted fifty times to put back on the dinosaur’s leg, go meet those needs. These feelings are valid and healthy. You are not only a mother, you are also a mother.
Myth: “They’re little for such a short time. You’ll miss it when they’re grown and gone.”
Truth: Yes, technically this is true. But in reality, the bedtime temper tantrums, that three-month phase where your son would only eat white foods and arguments with your husband about whose turn it is to take off work because of the back-to-back colds your kids had ““ these things will not be missed. Not only that, but it’s nearly impossible to be all Zen about the situation while you’re in the trenches of parenthood. It’s OK to let yourself fantasize about they day when they will be gown and gone, just for a minute, when someone makes such a remark.
Myth: Staying home/working out of the house/working from home/having an only child/having septuplets/having a newborn/having teenagers/ is so much harder.
Truth: Motherhood is not a competition. Stop acting like it is. Parenting is hard. FULL STOP. There are no degrees of hard-ness, no yard stick by which to measure who is suffering more than the other and no medal to award she who had it the hardest. Until we acknowledge that each of us is struggling through this crazy, beautiful, confusing and amazing thing known as parenthood, we’ll be wearing our struggle like an albatross around our neck. Take off that hideous dead bird necklace and hug your fellow Bombshell when she’s had a hard day because it will make both of you feel better about this whole wacky thing we call being a mom.