Sunday, February 3, 2008

Harder

It’s not as hard as everyone says it is.

People just try and scare you.

I was prepared for much, much worse.

Such was my take on being a mother for the first year or so of Graham’s life. And at the time I meant it, I really did.

I was ready to become a mother. I was way past ready. And I was prepared to give myself over to the demands of a child. I had absorbed countless horror stories about the all-encompassing, unrelenting demands of mothering and adjusted my expectations accordingly.

I fully expected that the first year or so was going to be a horror show of jumbled hormones and unimaginable fatigue. I fully expected to fall down the rabbit hole. I was prepared for the worst.

But the worst never really arrived. The early months weren’t exactly easy, what with worrying over the state of Graham’s health, but his day-to-day-care and feeding was surprisingly smooth.

He went from breast to bottle without blinking an eye. He was rarely inconsolable. And most significantly, he slept through the night at six weeks and was doing it regularly at two months of age.

Being a mother isn’t impossibly hard, I concluded with relief. It’s just hard.

But here’s the rub: it stays hard.

Two years on, it’s still hard.

I am impossibly spoiled: I know that. My child is healthy. I am healthy. Rob is an involved husband and father. I have a great job with an ideal childcare arrangement and Graham is close to four grandparents who dote on him.

But there are days (and nights too) when it is just plain wearying, this business of always putting another human being first. And there are times when someone you love is struggling (no, I can’t and won’t write about that here) and it is even more wearying because you can’t even put yourself second.

You know what I’m talking about, all you women out there.

Women gather up the frayed edges of their family’s life and sew them together every single day. Women ferociously love and mother and plan and nurture and organize and soothe and quiet and make things better.

That’s what women do.

That’s what we all do, no matter what our circumstances. Whether our children are sick or healthy, whether we have one or seven.

And I was right to think that it’s not as hard as everyone says it is.

It’s harder.

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52 comments:

Zoe said...

eloquently stated. there is nothing more difficult or more satisfying!

Beck said...

Beautifully written. It IS hard. It's also beyond rewarding in ways that you can't even explain to people without kids.

Holly said...

Beautiful post. It is incredibly hard. Parenthood is like a secret club and you have to join it before you can truly understand how rewarding and how hard it is.

sky girl said...

Harder than I imagined. But more rewarding too. :)

Jen said...

Yeah its hard. Not physically hard, mentally & emotionally hard. Great post.

Brittany said...

That was amazing. I couldn't have said it any better!

lattemommy said...

Great post. I absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom, but some days I wonder where "I" am in all of the chaos.

Nap Warden said...

Lovely post, and so true...I was so clueless on what being a Mom was all about...I know more now, and I still feel clueless:)

Dawn said...

You are right on; you described motherhood so beautifully and accurately.

Are You Serious! said...

You explained that very well! I feel the same way...

La La said...

I always thought I'd have children. But I never found a man I wanted to do that with and I don't want to do it by myself. Now, age is telling me that I may never have my own child. Maybe someday I can adopt, but even then I'd want to do it with someone.

This is beautifully written as is all of your writing.

I applaud mothers for their love and hard work.

Blessings to you.

Family Adventure said...

The toddler years are hard. And I think the teenage years are hard. But right now, I find myself in a sweet spot in life...when the kids are old enough to take care of themselves (more or less) but not old enough to make decisions on their own...when it is actually pretty easy. Sure there are days of angst and worry...but overall, I have to say that I'm not as stressed and I sleep better now than I did when my kids were younger.

I'm sure in a year or two, when the teenageritis hits full on, I will be wishing myself back to these days, or maybe even the toddler years.

Heidi

Kitty said...

Lovely post. But I truly believe that everything you give out is given back to you - at the time when you most need it. So hang in there - I've no doubt you're doing brilliantly. x

Just Janice said...

I agree, it is harder. Everyday I waited for it to get easier, and it did. Then I went and f-ked it up by adding another one to the mix and now it's even harder.

Beth said...

As always, you are right on the money! Great post!

wheelsonthebus said...

Brilliant post. Everyone acts like the first few months are the hardest, but the hardest part is knowing that for the rest of your life, this other person's needs will be more important than your own.

Jenifer said...

Amen.

OHmommy said...

True. So very true.

People also said how rewarding it is and you never realize just how true that is until you have your own. So rewarding.

Melissa said...

I so know what your talking about. You know your doing such important work but sometimes you wonder why it has to be so difficult.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Yes, it's a marathon, rather than a sprint; but there are easier and harder times mixed in there (much as Family Adventure said). And, in case you have a second one, be forewarned: your first was an easy baby, relatively speaking.

Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

Well put. IT really just realized how emotional it can be!

Abbie said...

It IS harder isn't it? It's amazing we still love this little buggers as much as we do, and it's amazing that we just can't imagine them NOT in our lives!

Laura said...

This is the hardest gig we will ever have and the one we will always treasure themost.

Wonderful post!

Thanks for the question for my 100 questions...I am now at 20!!!

GoMommy said...

I never realized how selfish I was until I had kids. They come first. Period. No matter what! It is so hard to raise children, but my boys make me a better person!

Magpie said...

It is. Indeed it is.

Amy said...

though i noticed someone already said it, my response is "amen!" you said this so wonderfully.

Tracey said...

Yep. But I think it's not just motherhood, it's life in general. Everything is harder, greater, worse, faster, slower, etc. than you ever really thought it would be. Life is a constant adjustment.

Ms. Porter said...

Perfectly said. It's the greatest and hardest thing I've ever done...becoming a Mama.

linds said...

You are right, parenting is hard. It's a good thing it is so rewarding!

Life As I Know It said...

Very true!
There are some days when I wake up and want to call in sick ;)

It's hard, but worth it.

Maria said...

Let me just say, you sound very lucky. I have 4 kids, and trust me, some are easy, and some are difficult. You should feel lucky. Raising kids and a family is hard at time, but isn't it the best job in the world?

Mrs. Chicky said...

You said it, sister. Still waiting for this gig to get a bit easier but now with another on the way I think I've really f*cked myself. If you get my drift.

The kids, though, they're lucky they're cute.

slouching mom said...

Ah, yes. Exactly so. Well put.

ewe are here said...

Parenting is soooo much easier than I ever thought it would be.

And yet, parenting is soooo much harder than I ever thought it would be.

Great post.

Badness Jones said...

Yep. YOu've said all there is to say. And better than I ever could.

shay said...

You said it girl BUT I wouldn't trade it for anything!

I agree with what Heidi said too. Those tween years are a gift!

caramama said...

That was so well said. I just asked a friend last night if I could give the Pumpkin back! But there is no giving the kid back when it's your own. YOU are the one people give him/her back to. (Not that I'd really want to give her to anyone else, of course. I was just joking around.)

I would also like to add that some are even harder than others. I really thought I was prepared, having seen my sister and brother go through kids. But mine is an extra fussy one, with sleep problems. She has been harder than her cousins.

And somehow, it's worth it.

Victoria said...

LOVED this, Diva: "Women gather up the frayed edges of their family’s life and sew them together every single day. Women ferociously love and mother and plan and nurture and organize and soothe and quiet and make things better"

So true. Well written!

Kathryn said...

That was beautifully written. Just gorgeous!
I remember telling my mom, "I don't know why everyone thinks babies are so difficult" when I had my first. It seemed easy for a while because he was such an easy baby. The hard part comes in, for me, when they get older and walk, talk, and leave your sight. And yes, the constant putting someone else first. It is nonstop.
Again, beautiful post!

jennwa said...

There are days that is it very hard but when they grow up and move a way, I will miss it.

Kellan said...

Oh yes - it is waaaaaaayyyyy harder than you ever imagined. And, you just wait. As hard as it seems now - it gets even harder in ways you can't imagine. Sleep deprevation and fatique are nothing compared to the challenges when they grow older. It's hard to imagine - but it becomes harder. It is still do-able, but it is challenging and always something new to learn.

Take care - Kellan

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I totally understand. Yesterday I had 2 kids fighting over who got to sit next to me and who would sit on which side of me, both of them practically in my lap just for competition. And? Honestly I just wanted to sit on the couch and watch the Super Bowl. And shout "ME! ME! ME! SOMETIMES I JUST WANT TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME!"

Katie said...

Very eloquent. Very true. Now I have to go sob into my wine....

Kyla said...

Sometimes it is harder, but I think (and hope) that eventually it all balances out.

LoriD said...

This was bang on. Perfect.

E said...

I'm with Kellan. It gets harder. There is nothing worse than an inconsolable teenager in the throes of failed love, or any other of the broken dreams which they will suffer. Their problems get bigger and our solutions get weaker.
But the real secret isn't that it is hard. It is that is will always be, for the lucky ones of us, the most soul satisfying creative work we will ever do. And i know you get that too. i know you do....

Lisa said...

I so agree. It's harder, more rewarding, more tiring, more everything than anyone can prepare you for. But I wouldn't trade it for anything! And I know you wouldn't either.

karenmeg1 said...

It does get harder; the older they get, the more issues there are, and the more of everything really. Dealing with the basic needs is a breeze.
It's when they start developing their own personalities, independence, that it gets more challenging ... but then at the same time infinitely more rewarding. My kids are still sweet, but it was certainly a little easier when they sat there gobbling up their food when it showed up and giggled at the simplest things.
I'm not looking forward to the teenage years, though, that much I'm sure of ... shudder.

Corey~living and loving said...

what a great post. I enjoyed reading it.

I am sort of the odd ball. I find parenthood to be refreshingly different than my old life. I was sort of sick of just worrying about me. I feel like I have more purpose now. I'm odd like that.

Jennifer said...

Yes, yes. So beautifully said. Yes, to all of it.

kittenpie said...

It's true that the days I have to play fifth fiddle in a house of three humans and two cats occasionally make me totally fucking bonkers.

Kimmylyn said...

I so needed to read this post today after the hell of a weekend I had.. GREAT POST and so freaking perfect!! amen.