Motherhood, am I right? It’s oh so true what they say. Nothing can prepare you for parenting. And surely, don’t get me wrong, that applies to both men and women. I know that fathers, today’s father even more so, of course care deeply, are affected deeply, and caretake more often. My own husband, I sometimes think, when he’s “on,” meaning in the absence of me, when “daddy daycare” as they say is in full swing, is actually a better parent than me (please, lord, never tell him that).
But that fact doesn’t change anything. The message that keeps coming across, as I share my personal challenges and struggles with friends and fellow moms along the way, as I connect with more and more women of all different backgrounds, professions, religions and personalities, is the weight that we bare as moms. Moms alone. The profound change that we undergo, down to the very core of our being. When we become moms, we change. We change for the better. We change for the worse. Our relationships with our partners change. For the better, and for the worse. Our relationships with our careers change. For the better. And for the worse. Friendships, partnerships, commitments. It’s all a whole new world and we’re navigating it blindly. And whether we want to or not, we are changed. To the core.
This doesn’t mean we all let it go, shed our designer labels for leggings and go to bed at 9pm (although most of the time I enjoy nothing more). No. If you follow the mom community these days, thanks to social networking and a new generation of mothers doing it their own way, there’s an eruption of “mompowerment” happening. A rise of the rebel moms, the cool moms, the mompreneurs, the boss moms. The landscape is changing and it’s pretty incredible to be a part of. But, it doesn’t remove the fact that we are changed in a way that fathers, that our partners, just simply aren’t.
There’s layers upon layers of emotional repercussions brought on by today’s motherhood reality. While it’s great to be a rebel mom, a cool mom, a mompreneur, and a boss mom, all of that carries implications that no generation of mothers before us have ever faced. First of all, there’s guilt. Ladies and gents, there’s so. much. guilt. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a 9-to-5 mom, a CEO mom, or a mostly-work-from-home mom like me, we all carry the guilt. Most days, we’re just not enough. Not a good enough parent, not present enough for our partners, not spending enough time at work, not spending enough time at home. Motherhood, it seems, strips away our very being and leaves us barely hanging on.
So my goal, as we launch into a new year, a new decade, is to just give myself a break. Sometimes my kids will eat peanut butter off spoons for dinner. Sometimes I will bake muffins wearing a hand-painted “mom” apron. Sometimes I will sing them lullabies and put them to bed. Sometimes I’ll be out on the town or burning the midnight oil at work. Sometimes I will rock lingerie and sometimes (okay, most of the time) I’ll rock my favorite sweats from college. Some days I’ll spend too much time scrolling Instagram, and some days I’ll play tag with my kids until we all collapse in exhaustion. Some days I’ll disappoint a client because I have a sick child, and some days I’ll disappoint my child because I have an important meeting.
The struggle towards, and burden of, perfection is simply wasted energy. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all commit to embracing the mothers we are and shedding those layers of guilt that don’t serve us? Let’s carve this new path of motherhood together, mamas. Not blindly and alone, but united and stronger together. Bring it on, 2020.