I didn’t love motherhood in the beginning. In a lot of ways, I didn’t even like it. I circled back and forth between thinking there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t head over heels in love with it, to feeling guilty because I felt like a bad mother to feeling ashamed because there are so many women out there who would love nothing more than to be mothers.
When I would see women that were completely in love with being new mothers, I felt like something was wrong with me because I was mostly focused on surviving motherhood. When I met women with 2 children under the age of 2 or ones that had babies that were not yet walking and were already planning on their second, I got anxiety for them rather than envy. I loved and love my daughter dearly but I was struggling with getting into my groove and constantly wondering when my maternal instincts were going to kick in.
Motherhood was harder than I could have ever imagined. As hard as I thought it would be before children, the reality of it did not match my expectations. I always assumed that it would be hard in the very beginning but get easier with each month. In truth, there were many ebbs and flows. There were times where I felt as if I was getting the hang of things but almost as soon as I did, it felt like they changed which frustrated me.
There were many things that my daughter didn’t do naturally that I thought she would like taking a bottle or sleeping through the night. I didn't seek help or admit that I didn’t know what I was doing for fear that people would judge me. I tried to figure it out on my own and felt very much like a failure when I couldn’t. It made me feel like maybe I wasn’t cut out for motherhood when I saw so many women that it seemed to come so easy to.
Motherhood has proven to be a 24 hour, 7 days a week job. I now realize that to some degree, the way I was feeling was because I was burnt out as a mother and in desperate need of a break. Having a family to help with raising your children or just having some sort of relief...being able to take your child to grandmas for the day or the weekend can alleviate a lot of stress and that brief break from the 24-hour job that is motherhood can serve as a way to refresh. Because I live away from my family and in-laws, I didn't have that.
I felt like I lost a lot of myself. I was determined to continue to have a social life but I noticed that even though I worked so hard to maintain my relationships with my friends, I wasn’t the same person. The things that used to bring me joy like going out for dinner or drinks no longer felt carefree but instead full of guilt and worry about being away from my daughter.
I’ve come to realize that motherhood is a full-time job and just how it's okay to not love every aspect of any job you have, it’s okay to not love every aspect of motherhood. The more I’ve talked to different women, the more I realize that I was not alone in my feelings. I’ve even met women who have many children and want to have many more that have confessed to me that they don’t care much for babies but that they love, love, love kids once they reach the toddler phase. I know that this is also a common feeling for first-time moms who really have no clue what they’re in for until they’re actually in it.
Motherhood is a complex and ever-changing role. The more I accept and love my new life rather than trying to desperately hold onto my old life, the more comfortable I become in this role. Feeling more comfortable has increased my level of confidence and the more confident I feel in the choices I make, the more I feel as if I’m doing a good job. I also realize that doing a good job doesn’t mean doing everything perfectly and no longer feel like a failure when I make a mistake. Being less hard on myself for being human and allowing myself to make mistakes has taken away a lot of the pressure and given me more room to breathe and enjoy each day with my daughter rather than obsess over doing everything right.