I have always wanted to be a mom. From literally as early as I can remember, I have cared for dolls, animals, and little brothers. I babysat like crazy, worked in the church nursery, and observed young moms that were going before me, trying to glean as much wisdom and knowledge as possible. When I was twelve, I wanted twelve children. I still want a whole houseful, though twelve may be a little high now – if only because my body doesn’t particularly love being pregnant.
So yes, there are days that I am over-tired, over-stimulated, and stressed out of my mind… but for the most part, I really do love this. I fight loneliness and exhaustion even as I am SURROUNDED by small people clamoring for my attention, but ultimately it is the most fun thing I’ve ever done. I mean, my kids are hilarious. And so freaking cute. And while 2/3 of them prefer their daddy over me right now, I am still their favorite person whenever he’s not around!
But I also hate parts of it.
I’m not talking about the fountains of spit-up that all three have my babies have spewed regularly (I’ve given birth to three miniature Old Faithfuls). Nor am I talking about the 13 million questions I get asked every day (what does make wind?), the toys I trip over, or the way they eat all the good food. I don’t even hate the dirty diapers – poop is celebrated in our house, often with dance parties and songs.
No, I hate how motherhood has had to become so complicated.
I hate how, when I am brushing my daughter’s hair and she tells me to stop, I feel guilty for telling her she has to hold still and let me finish. Am I teaching her that she’s not in control of her own body, and that she can’t tell someone when to leave her alone? The sinister voice creeps into my head. Are you setting your daughter up for incredible danger and pain in the future just because you make her sit still while you get the tangles out?
I hate how, when I have to feed my six-month-old and I am in a public place, I have to do a massive amount of mental gymnastics just to decide how to go about it. If I feed her here, will I offend someone? If that happens, do I just give in and cover up or leave, or do I stand up for myself? If I go hide to feed her, am I being a disgrace to all breastfeeding women?
I hate how I can’t take photos on my phone of my chubby, adorable kids in the bathtub for my own sweet memories because if I do, those photos will immediately go to the Cloud and it’s not outside the realm of possibility for some horrible person to get to them and do who-knows-what with them.
I hate how I have to worry about one day teaching my daughters that they need to wear shorts that actually cover their butt cheeks, because apparently that’s not even common sense anymore.
I hate that I am dreading ages approximately 6-16, because it’s possible my kids will be the only ones without smart phones… not because I’m nervous about what my kids would do with the phones, but what the phones (and people on other phones) could do to them.
I hate that when I debate between homeschool or traditional schooling, one of the reasons I think I should teach at home is because they won’t be in danger of getting shot while they work on their math lesson.
I hate how decisions my husband and I have made after countless hours of discussion, research, and prayer – decisions that affect our children’s health and bodies, that we made because we believe they are right for our family – mean that I have to tiptoe through conversations about their healthcare… sometimes even with their own doctors.
I hate how I feel guilty because my rough-and-tumble, outdoor-loving, can’t-sit-still three-year-old son doesn’t know how to write his name yet.
I hate how Christmas and Easter feel soooooo complicated, because I don’t know how to balance the commercialism of the holidays with the reality of Jesus. People ask my kids what Santa and the Easter Bunny brought them… I can’t pretend they don’t “exist”, but it’s hard to explain to a three-year-old that they aren’t real when many of their friends think they are.
I hate how first nature for me is to be a “free range” mom, to let my kids run loose and learn about the world for themselves… but the world dictates that I must be a helicopter mom. If I lose sight of my kids in a park for 5 seconds, I’m not just scared that someone will take them; I’m scared someone will see me look away, deem me an incapable mother… and we all know the landslide that can develop from that. Paranoid? Maybe. But also maybe not.
Also, all of this:
Motherhood is hard, and it feels much more complex and difficult than it used to be. Why can’t we just focus on loving our kids, keeping them alive, letting them make messes and occasionally bathing them? That’s the motherhood I long for… the motherhood of fifty years ago. Is it too much to pray that things will change again so that my girls can enjoy simple motherhood one day? I wouldn’t change anything about my life or kids for the world… but I would definitely change a lot about the world for my kids.