Breaking the Cloak of Silence

A friend of mine was talking about the slowing down of metabolism as we age.  She said I wish people would tell you these things when you are younger. It got me to thinking about something my sister said to me when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was something along the lines of motherhood being difficult. My sister also said that if women really told other women what it was actually like to be a mother and give birth then maybe more women wouldn’t go into shock after the birth of their first child.  As a person who tries to think positively, I thought it can’t be that bad. I’ve worked really hard in my life: going to university, working crappy jobs, and dealing with difficult people.  So, how hard can motherhood really be?

Doesn't motherhood entail long sleepiness nights, adverse working conditions, and dealing with someone who is inconsolable?

I’m sure that some mothers will tear me apart for breaking the cloak of silence about how wonderful motherhood is…haven’t you heard other mothers profess how great it is to watch your child grow up; go through teething; learn to talk and walk; and so on?

If only we women spoke the truth. Who do we have to impress? Men? Other women? Our children? Ourselves? I’m rippin’ the cloak off right now. We don’t need to impress anyone, let alone our husbands, significant others, or partners. Being a mom is hard work and I would ascertain that being a dad is just as hard (so fellas, I haven’t forgotten about you, but I can’t relate because I’m a mom).

We don’t have to be everything to everyone all the time.  Be authentic, be yourself. If you don’t get out of your pajamas one day and either do the kids, so be it. If you don’t load the dishwasher until tomorrow, who cares?  Only you care and only you are judging you. No one else’s opinion matters.  If we stopped caring what everyone else thinks, we’d be better off. Your baby, ya that one in your arms, does not care at this moment that you are on your 4th cup of coffee at 10 am just to stay awake because they’ve been up all night and your baby daddy was snoring and the whole mess has amounted to your being disgruntled.

So why romanticize it? I think we do this because we think we have to.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother now that my daughter is 7 years old and I have some of my “me” time back.  I’m not so frantic about what she’s eating or not eating; does she have regular bowel movements or not; what is that foreign object she’s chewing on; and oh my god where did she disappear to? In the early days of being a new mom, I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I couldn’t construct a properly formulated sentence for at least the first three years of motherhood. So I thank all my friends, family, and colleagues for putting up with me. It’s a miracle that I finished a degree in that time too.  I was, obviously, on auto-pilot or channeling some great writer of yesteryear.  Or just plain lucky!

Having said all this, being a parent is a wonderful job, but like any job it has its positives and negatives.  I have to admit that it is a rewarding position to have and that I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I know that my life is much more enriched for having a child, but I also know that if I didn’t have a child that I would have found other ways to enrich my life.  The one choice I made early on was to not lose myself in motherhood…I do things for myself like finish school, have a job outside the home, play sports and have friendships that I nurture. 

Being ME is just as important as being Mommy.

~Jennifer Ward

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