It’s hard out there for a mom

Mother’s Day is such a different thing for me now that I’m a mom. Until you are a mom, you will never know how hard it was for your mom. This is a brutal job.

Having been on the kid end of Mother’s Day for over 30 years and recently stepping over the line onto the Mommy end of Mother’s Day, I have some new observations about this holiday!

As a kid, Mother’s Day was a day when I thought about what my mom meant to me, and tried to express it to my mom in one form or another, be it writing a note, making a card, or some other token of my love and affection. Kids love their moms, and Mother’s Day gives them a day to think about that fact.

Now that I’m a mom, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day for me. Seriously. It’s a day of serious reflection — about things I do right, the millions of things I do wrong, the gravity of being the center of the universe for three little someones. I know my kids are loved and happy, which gives me hope that I’m not a total parenting failure, although I often feel like my parenting style is a constant stream of momfails.

Every person has a different experience, and there are different seasons in life, even when you’re a mom. I am in an intense time right now where I have three little boys, and the oldest is not even four years old yet! That’s a whole lotta little boy chaos going on!

I get frustrated because I spent a lot of years in my pre-kiddo adult life doing projects all the time. I like doing projects, and it is sooo hard to do them now. That doesn’t keep me from signing onto new projects, and creating new loads of unnecessary work for myself, of course. I guess I like a challenge. But, there is a huge list of things I want to do that I usually can’t squeeze into my day. I manage to write because I love it and it’s one of my primary driving forces, but many tasks go undone (cleaning house, cooking great meals, playing enough with the boys). Sometimes I’m not sure why I do that to myself!

I have never been a woman who has just wanted to be a mommy and that’s it.* I put off motherhood for the first almost-10 years of my marriage. Not because I didn’t want to be a mom, but because I wanted to make sure I was ready. For the record, I don’t think you can ever be totally ready! Being a parent is such an all-consuming, 24 hour-a-day, relentless job, and there is absolutely no way to prepare for it. It would make my life a lot easier, I think, if all I ever wanted to do was be a mommy. Being a mommy AND other things (writer, blogger, producer, crafter) is incongruous in a lot of ways, especially when your kids are small. I seriously fantasize about having a desk job so I can get stuff done!

Those of you on the other side of toddler town can probably tell me to hang in there. Don’t worry, I will. It’s just hard out there for a mom!

*It’s probably really unfair for me to assume that any woman out there only wants to be a mom. People aren’t that simple.