Motherhood is a constant.
It’s filled with constant moments of joy, worry, stress, tiredness, fun, and wonder.
You wonder what your children are learning from you and from others, you wonder what they’ll be like once they’re older, wonder if you’re doing enough to protect and raise them.
You have so much fun with those little running feet, those grabby hands, those opinionated little mouths that pucker up when they’re explaining to you, very loudly, why they need to be holding on to that empty glass (ahem, River).
You’re constantly tired. You barely have time to drink your coffee or eat, you have to make a conscious effort to wake up much earlier than they do so you can shower for work, only to sweat bullets while trying to get them ready to go on to daycare. You sleep but you don’t rest, and after they go to bed you sit on the couch, watching videos and looking at pictures of them, wishing they were awake so you could get that last snuggle for the day. You get sleep, yet it’s only enough to make you functional.
You stress about their health, if they’re eating enough, if they’re getting all the nutrients they need, if they’re dressed too warm or need another layer, if they’re learning to play well with others. You stress if you’re doing absolutely all you can for them, if there’s enough time to squeeze in an extra book or if there’s time for more doodling for the day. You stress about your decision to go back to work and if you really need to (I unfortunately do), stress if you’re making the right amount of money to justify paying a second mortgage to daycare. You stress about what you see on social media, the other mamas, and how they parent their children; do they give more attention to their little ones? How do they get to stay home with them? Are their lives truly so well put-together like it comes off with every picture and video (most likely not)?
You worry if everything you’re currently doing is the right thing by them/for them/with them. Worrying becomes second nature, just like living for somebody else other than yourself does the moment they’re born.
But the joy…
The joy outweights all the worrying, all the stressing, all the problems. The joy of that first laughter, the first rolling over, the first “mama” and “dada”, the first step, the first tiem they run. The joy of realizing how much they love and need toy washes it all away and makes it all just background noise.
Even now, with the girls knocking on the door of 2 years old (next month), I still struggle with all of the above. Mom guilt is more than just the newborn phase – it gets worse as they grow and you find your new “normal” in life. It’s a dificult part of motherhood to balance. It is absolutely normal to feel it and think about it, but you just can’t let it consume you. It’s not healthy, and it’s not constructive.
Motherhood means living for your little ones, protecting them, raising them, loving them. They will love you right back and appreciate you and everything you do for them.