Over the last couple weeks, I've had one friend find out she's pregnant rather unexpectedly and another couple friends decide that they were going to start trying to get pregnant.
All this talk about pregnancy, has not made me want to get pregnant as it does for some people. Nope, for me it takes me back to when I first found out and the following year or so after having Zachary. Because for me, becoming a new mom was traumatic. I know you hear all the stories about how wonderful it is and how you feel connected from the moment they are born and it changes your life forever.
Part of that was true for me. I did feel that instant love the moment I held him in my arms, tears streaming down my face and Chuck standing there, tears in his eyes, telling me how very proud he was of me and how much he loved us. And it did change my life forever. But, I do not miss the wonderful part. Let me preface this by saying I was undiagnosed with PPD. But it was there, in a big way.
I hated being a mom in the beginning. Everyone would ask "oh, don't you just LOVE being a mom?" And I would smile the polite smile and nod my head and give the obligatory "It's absolutely wonderful." When inside my head I was thinking "it's horrible! I get no sleep, I don't know what the hell I'm doing, everything I do is wrong" and on and on and on. And that feeling of hating, left me hating myself and feeling guilty about not loving being a mom. But I'm here to tell you, it's not all that abnormal of a reaction. I wish I had known that.
After finding out I was pregnant with Lucas, I started looking for online mom's groups. Because I didn't have (and still don't really) have any close personal long-term friends that have kids. I ended up in a bad group, but then found 2 really wonderful groups. Groups of women who became good friends, but also let me know that I'm not alone in my thinking. There are days when it's all very overwhelming and I don't want to be a mom at that moment. There are days when no matter what I do, it's wrong. But knowing that there were other moms out there, who felt the same way, who knew what I was talking about, helped me immensely. It helped me feel normal. These women stood by me during my surprise pregnancy with Elizabeth and then provided me with a weeks worth of meals after her birth-so I didn't have to worry about what to cook.
My friend, Matt, made a comment to me a couple weeks ago that after 3 kids, I probably have a pretty good grip on being a mother. I'm here to tell you I don't. In my opinion, you never have a 100% grip on being a parent. Because it always changes. I have the baby portion down, for now, but then theres issues with Zachary and school, Lucas being a middle child and acting out. Those are things I've never dealt with before and so have no idea how to deal with them. There are times that I go to my kids and apologize to them for something that I said or did, that I feel wasn't handled properly. I do that because everyone makes mistakes and should own up to it. I make mistakes because a lot of the time, I'm learning right along with my children. They are my teachers as much as I am theirs. So, do I have a grip on everything that goes along with being a parent? Nope. But I have learned some things after having 3 kids and being a mom for almost 6 years.
*No matter what you decide to do, some one will disagree with you. Whether it's your in-laws, parents, brothers, friends, some online poster, someone will disagree with you. I've had a person go as far as tell me that I did not love my children because I was a working mom. That was early in my mom career and I was crushed. It really made me question myself as a mother and as a person. But, that brings me to my second piece of wisdom.
*You have to do what is right for YOUR family. Everyone is different. I'm part crunchy and AP and part mainstream. That isn't right for some people, but it is right for me. Sometimes that means going against the advice of your mom, or your best friend, but all families are different and only YOU can decide what is best for you.
*You need a thick skin to be a mom. Because not only are other people criticizing you (because other mothers are the WORST critics of moms, sad but true) but when your kids get to a certain age, they'll start criticizing you too. And that's okay. It's normal development. But it's hard to hear "I HATE you" coming from your 3 year old. Or to hear your 5 year old say "I wish I had different parents". And to shrug it off and say "I'm sorry you feel that way right now, I still love you lots." takes a lot of internal stamina.
*Never quit trying. Never quit learning. I think that one of the most important parts of being a parent is to not take something at face value. Re-evaluate things every once in a while. If something isn't working for you, look at it and try to figure out how to make it work. Because change is inevitable and you need to roll with it. Easier said than done though.
So, do YOU feel like you have a grip on parenthood? What's the things that you have learned over the course of being a parent?
1 day ago