Friday, December 26, 2014

Is Motherhood Hard?

 I've noticed a trend among new moms lately. It seems that more and more lately, in social media, many new moms are declaring their joy and astonishment at how much they like (gasp!) motherhood. I am among them. It's why I started this blog, I wanted to share the joys of motherhood along with the many other joys I get to experience through life as a woman.

As awesome as it is that we've been pleasantly surprised by motherhood, I've noticed a few new moms (with babies younger than JaiseAnn) recently writing blog posts stating how easy motherhood is. That it's so much easier than working outside of the home. It's not as hard as everyone makes it out to be. And this has really caused me to pause and reflect. Motherhood is one of the most grossly misrepresented responsibilities--from just about every angle. 

I am just starting this journey through motherhood. I'm just barely getting my feet wet. I have learned so much and I have so much more to still learn. I do not feel as though I'll ever define motherhood with a word like easy. It just doesn't fit. For so many reasons. But I also agree that there are too many complaints about motherhood as well. So much so that many of us have been pleasantly surprised because all we hear is the "bad."

Easy is not synonymous with fun, enjoyable, or rewarding--in fact, the things that require the most effort usually result in the most valuable rewards. 

I heard (and dwelled on) the warnings about how difficult motherhood was before JaiseAnn.  I heard how it would drain you of everything and leave you with only parts of who you once were. It's true. Motherhood does rip you apart in the most amazing and sometimes painful ways. Only to piece you back together a better woman. Motherhood is the ultimate refiner's fire.

 I've met my fair share of women who genuinely seemed to dislike their own children. They loved them, yes, of course. But they didn't seem to like them. They wanted to send them to daycare even when they had days off of work, church camp was considered a vacation, and overall they just seemed unhappy with motherhood.

So when people would warn me it was hard. I thought it would be the "I hate this" kind of hard. The weeding my garden, or doing 100 squats (who are we kidding, ten squats--I loathe squats), or dealing with mean co workers kind of hard. The kind of hard that you have to do but don't want to do. 

For me motherhood does not qualify as that kind of hard. Motherhood has moments of difficulty that I can't compare to anything else...there should be another word for what motherhood is and what it takes.

 It takes work and dedication.

It takes time.

It requires patience.

It can be exhausting.

Yes, it takes your heart. 

It is so much more than whether or not you have an "easy" baby or you're going through an easy stage. Motherhood itself simply cannot be defined as easy. There is nothing easy about loving someone the way you love your child. It takes your breath away. 

I'm a very sensitive and fairly anxious person as it is. Meeting my daughter introduced me to a whole new world of worry. The kind of worry that kept me from getting much needed rest at first. I have often asked Zach, 'How do our moms not call us every day to make sure we are home safe?" I don't even know how they function with us just out in the world living lives, driving cars, selling things on Craigslist. This world is big and scary. There are dangers and heartbreak in abundance.  As a mom, you are too aware of all of it. I pray constantly for my daughter's health,  safety, and lifelong happiness. But I also know that it guarantees me nothing. That is terrifying. There is nothing easy about that.

There is nothing easy about knowing that I am the main teacher. I am responsible for teaching her to love herself and care for herself. I'm responsible for teaching her to love and care for others. I have to teach her to be herself and to others. I have to teach her who she is, why she's here and where she is going. That is a heavy responsibility. Even though she's small, I still feel that weight. It is not easy. 

No, it is not  easy, but saying it's worth it doesn't even do it justice. 

But I don't know if hard does it justice either. It's just so much more

I don't wake up each day wanting to do hard things like weed the garden or do squats. I don't look forward to them. Sure I look forward to the sense of accomplishment, but I don't look forward to the act of doing those kinds of hard things. I do, however,  look forward to each day with JaiseAnn. I look forward to the whole day. I cannot wait to kiss her face,  to hold her when she's upset, to make her laugh, to see her smile, to share a meal together, to try to teach her something new...all of it. If motherhood is "hard," it's the only hard thing I've ever looked forward to, day in and day out. I'm crazy in love with my daughter. I'm crazy in love with motherhood.  Even when the day is hard and I look for repreive at the end  (even if it's just a thirty minute bath), I'm ready (and excited) to do it all again.
Motherhood has required a lot of me. It has even flat out taken some things for me. But what it has given me cannot be captured with words. Motherhood has given me the world. To say it is "easy" honestly doesn't do justice to the immense responsibility and gift that it is. 

What do you think about motherhood? Is calling it "easy" any worse than calling it "hard"? What is your outlook on motherhood? For yourself and given by those around you?

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