Friday, February 7, 2014

Mothers--You're Doing It Right: A Non-Bookish Post

Today, I came across a blog post on my Facebook newsfeed posted by one of my friends about motherhood. It's not a long post, but it has something to say to women who feel like their failing as a mother because they can't seem to get anything done, and with all the media these days portraying women as being the perfect mother who can do absolutely everything, have a spotless house; all the laundry washed, folded and put away; shower taken; hair fixed; make up on; crafts made; an elaborate and healthy dinner ready; snacks made for when the kids come home from school; yadda yadda yadda. It's exhausting just writing it all down.

I'm a mother of two. Both of my kids aren't terribly difficult but I have had some difficulties. It wouldn't be motherhood without them. My oldest as an infant was clingy. He didn't want to be alone ANYWHERE. Including in a swing or a bassinet in the same room with me. Even if he could see me. He didn't want to SEE me. He wanted to TOUCH me. He wanted to be where I was, in my arms, at all times. It didn't last forever. Mainly until he got old enough to play and pacify himself with toys and look at books or watch tv. But during that time that he was attached to my hip, I couldn't get anything done. He didn't sleep long enough for me to be able to shower so I always had to rely on someone being home with me while I took one so they could watch him for me. And I always hated asking for the help too. I felt like I was failing as a mother because I couldn't do anything. I couldn't put my make up on. I barely had time to dry my hair. I always felt like I had to rush to get myself together so I could get him again so the person watching him could do their own thing. I felt like I was taking up their precious time because I wasn't  being a good enough mother.

I still feel like that now honestly. My youngest has similar traits to his older brother. He likes to be held. He likes to be talked to and played with. He HATES being in one place for too long. He wants to be on the move, going from one place to another and since he's too small to do it himself, I have to do it for him. I have to walk around the house with him. Put him places that are new to him. Show him new things. If he stays in one place too long, he gets fussy and starts crying. I rarely have time to wash the dishes or fold laundry. I can usually find the time to throw a load in, but it usually ends up staying there for a while. Things get done slowly in my house. And even now, though I understand that it's a normal thing, I still feel bad about it. Because society tells me I'm doing something wrong. Being home all day I should have all the time in the world to do everything I want to get done. But that view is COMPLETELY wrong. I DON'T have all the time in the world. I have little bits of time between changing diapers, nursing, playing, bathing, talking and singing to him, changing his outfits several times a day because he spits up all over them (something that my oldest didn't do), getting him to sleep. And even when he's napping they're very short naps. And during that time I'm usually using it to take a bathroom break or fix a VERY QUICK meal because the second he wakes up he'll want me to get him again and depending on the food it's difficult to eat holding a baby. I'm a messy eater and I'm always afraid of dropping food on top of him head or something haha. Even while writing this post I'll probably end up taking multiple breaks, just like with all my other posts. They generally take a few hours to get ready simply because I'm having to take care of something else in the middle of writing them.

Motherhood is a JOB and whoever says otherwise is WRONG and/or sadly misinformed or never had to spend the whole day doing what stay at home mom's do. It's hard. It's exhausting. Sometimes you forget to do things, like help put your kids shoes on before trying to usher them out the door for school (yes, I did this yesterday *facepalm*). And sometimes, you feel like you're doing it all wrong and you're failing and if you could just get a minute of peace you might be able to get something done or have a clear head or catch a little shut eye so your body can rejuvenate and then you might actually function properly again. The article I read reminded me that I'm not doing anything wrong. What I'm dealing with and going through and how I'm handling it is perfectly normal. I'm not alone.
"Mamas, I want to tell you the truth. And here it is: You will not get anything done when you are home with a baby. And anyone who told you otherwise is not being very forthcoming (or perhaps they just have a lousy memory). You might get yourself fed. You might get yourself dressed (then again, you might not). You might take a walk (it makes baby happy). You might have a short phone conversation or start a load of laundry, neither of which you will finish. This is your new mom normal." --New Mamas Get Nothing Done (And Other Untruths)
I felt so much better after reading it. I've been feeling so down and exhausted this week. I've napped every morning with my little one because we're only gotten a couple hours of sleep each night thanks to the cradle cap that has covered his head and been bothering him. Thank goodness it's almost gone now and he's starting to sleep more during the night. I've needed some encouraging words this week. Just a little something to make me feel like I'm not doing everything wrong. And I came across this article that made my heart swell with joy. Other women go through this too! It's not just me! I'm NOT alone in this.

And then I read these comments first thing underneath it (because for some reason I like to torture myself by reading comments after an article and every single time someone has something negative to say):
I am a work-at-home Mum of an 11 month old and I get plenty done! I find this article a bit demeaning actually, implying all mothers are capable of is 'mothering'. I am raising my third child, and even when the others were born, I still worked every morning and ran my house. I have a fantastic loving bond with my kids yet they are not clingy. They do not sleep in my bed and they are happy independant small people."
I WORK at home. I am a self-employed beauty therapist, hardly slouching around in sweat pants! If you read my comment properly, I worked mornings when mine were first born! I worked in a garage at the time, running the office, in the mornings and worked in a factory in the evenings and STILL ran my house cos my lazy-ass husband couldn't manage! My outlook on it all? GET UP, GET DRESSED AND GET ON WITH IT!
And I'm like "Wow.. Way to take a great uplifting article for mothers who feel like they're failing and judge them for what they don't get done and make them feel like they're failing!" Instantly I'm thinking "how could someone be so rude and judgmental? How could a mother make other mothers feel like their not as good as a mother has you? How could a WOMAN say something so demeaning to other women who would find this article to be uplifting?" I continued to read the comments that were directed at this woman's comments and they all say the same thing: "shame one you". 

I find it rather depressing a somewhat disturbing that people will say anything and everything over the internet (even to people's faces) without thinking of the consequences of what they're saying. Why can't everyone just get along? *insert Why Can't We Be Friends? song here* Why can't we comfort those women who are trying their best and doing things the only way they can and know how who feel like their failing as a mother and let them know that they're doing it right? They're doing nothing wrong. It's society that's doing something wrong by making motherhood seem so easy and that if you're not perfect, you're a failure. NO ONE is perfect. NO ONE. All we can do is do our best, no matter what that is and help to encourage others. Be kind to one another and help each other out when we can. 

I try (though I sometimes fail, I'll admit) to follow this simple rule: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I feel like everyone on the internet could use this advice these days.

Just remember, if you're trying your best and feel like you're failing: YOU'RE NOT. You're doing a fantastic job. Don't pay attention to the media. And if there are people in your life who are making you feel worthless over not getting everything done in the day, don't listen to them. THEY'RE WRONG. You're not worthless. You're amazing and you're doing the best you can. You're getting SO MUCH accomplished throughout the day, whether you realize it or not. And that little baby of yours is very happy that you're spending your days and time with him/her. Don't let anyone take that time away from you because some day you WILL regret not spending that time with them. We should all be encouraging other mothers and building them up and applauding them for the many things they do during the day that go unseen, not putting them down for the things they haven't gotten done. 

I also feel like I should post a link to this post from a husband on stay-at-home-moms. SAHMs you should read it. The article starts out like this:
Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC's, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined.
Everyone in the world should have the outlook on SAHMs, and mothers in general, as this man has.

 Anyways, I think I'm done ranting now. I haven't posted something this long that wasn't a review is a REALLY long time. It was kind of nice to write my thoughts down.



*Note: Any and all mean comments WILL be removed. Please be kind to one another. Peace and love ya'll. <3

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Happy Reading

-Kelly