I’m walking every-which-way around my one bedroom apartment, a screaming baby in my arms and freshly regurgitated breast milk oozing down my shirt. I haven’t showered and I have a conference call in half an hour and a very real, very urgent need to pee.
It is in this moment that I can openly admit: I hate being a mom.
Now that isn’t to say I hate being a mom all of the time. In fact, I can say confidently that I love being a mom the majority of the time. But when I’m so exhausted that words no longer make sense and I can feel palpable pieces of my sanity deteriorating, I hate being a mother.
I frequently scan through Facebook and read profound posts, proclaiming an undying admiration for all that is motherhood. Moms going on and on about their little cherubs, all fat and perfect, and how wonderful being their mom is. And I’m sure it is. In fact, I know it is. But I also know that isn’t always the case, and I can probably go so far as to guess that while that mother was typing said post, her baby was screaming for no reason and she was .452 seconds away from pulling her hair out so her ears could catch a break.
So why don’t we just admit it? Why is it that we can complain about almost every other aspect of our lives - from horrible first time sex to college to dating - but when we complain about the shitty, pun intended, parts of motherhood we’re suddenly racked with guilt and the center of everyone’s judgment? Why is that when we admit it isn’t all butterflies and rainbows people toss around words like “birth control” and phrases like “you did this to yourself”?
Well, I say enough of that. I hated being in college when I had a 20 page paper due the day after I started writing it. I still loved college. I hated my mother when she wouldn’t let me go to that one party that one time in high school. I still love being her daughter. I hate lingering deadlines when there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I still love my job. I hated, and I mean hated, wasting a little black dress on a date that couldn’t correctly identify a feeling. I still loved dating. Can I just admit that I hate being a mother when I have to squeeze my butt cheeks together so I don’t shit my pants because my son just will not let me put him down without crying uncontrollably, and still love being a mother?
No? Well, I’m going to anyway.
I hate being a mom when I’m attempting to fulfill a grocery list, child in tow. A simple act like putting bags of food in the back of my car becomes a daunting game of Tetris with a child strapped to my chest. I lean down and accidentally bump his head on the door frame, so he’s screaming and I’m feeling guilty and a bag rips and groceries are all over the floorboard of a car I now detest. I glance over to see a woman casually putting her groceries in the back of her car, holding a latte and talking on the phone and it’s so effortless and easy for her. I hate her.
I hate being a mom when my kid has a blow out and I’ve somehow managed to get shit on my shirt. Of course, I don’t notice the shit-stained dilemma until I take my shirt off, pulling it over my head and effectively smearing poop on my face. On. My. Face.
I hate being a mom when dinner time is the exact same time my child decides to cry uncontrollably. I either can’t cook dinner or can’t eat dinner or can’t enjoy dinner because he wants to be held a very specific, very inconvenient way. I’m pacing around the apartment as he screams in my ear and the bowl of whatever it was I prepared that night mocks me from the corner of the kitchen counter.
I hate being a mom when I finally get my child to sleep only to have a postman or door-to-door salesman or two mormon missionaries from Idaho ring my doorbell. My very loud, very obtrusive doorbell. My kid wakes up angry and I answer the door angry and whoever has decided to disturb us ends up understanding the very real definition of “angry”.
I hate being a mom when it’s 2:45 in the morning and my child will only sleep if he’s in my arms. I haven’t slept a solid 8 hours in over a year and he’s waking up to eat, what seems like, every thirty minutes and now he just won’t slip back into sweet baby dream land without making me work for it. I am yawning and rocking him to sleep with my eyes closed and I swear any moment I’m going to start hallucinating. Which, honestly, wouldn’t be all that bad.
But mostly, I hate being a mom when I realize there will come a day when he won’t need me anymore. He’ll buy groceries for his own home and he won’t need diaper changes and he’ll make dinner for his own family. He’ll yell at annoying missionaries and sleep through the night and he won’t need my arms or my swaying or my calm, albeit exhausted, voice.
I’ll hate that I can’t go back in time and revisit the moments I hated. I’ll wish for them and wax nostalgic about them and hope that, one day, he’ll get to experience them for himself.
Yes, sometimes I hate being a mother. But I’ll hate the days he no longer needs his mother, even more.