Am I a Bad Mom? : Navigating Modern Motherhood
Remember how I said I was an open book?
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I’m actually kind of private about a few things on social media. However, I was reading my horoscope and Chani Nicholas said today would be a good day to write down something that means a lot to you. I thought and thought about it and here we go
Sidebar- I got into astrology when my father passed. My father hated it as he was an actual atmospheric physicist who studied space weather. I mean I’m not too into it but I am like the default Taurus. I was remembering this today about him saying to my late grandmother that his sign was Cancer. My grandma then said “don’t even say the word!” as she hated cancer and had lost too many family members to it. Also, she was an elderly Sicilian-American woman and I loved her dearly but they can be pretty dramatic. I’ll be talking more about her in my upcoming blog on Northanger Abbey. Fun fact my Dad would be rolling his eyes if he heard me say anything about my horoscope but I like nice things and staying home. I’m a total Taurus.
Like my life is far from perfect and I don’t generally share pictures of my son on my public socials. I don’t go too into detail about the challenges of motherhood with too many people because I feel like that’s a private part of me and my family. All I feel people need to know on the outside is that my kid is great and he is loved so much. He is the best part of my life. I love him fiercely and primally. But that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with mom doubt. On Monday night he would not sleep and we made the mistake of letting him sleep in our bed if he couldn’t sleep. That went from occasionally to every night and so on. We both work and we need our sleep too. My husband is the one who gets up with my son because I sleep through him crying, we’ve gone through times where I physically can’t pick him up because of my back, and I get up earlier on some days. It’s selfish. I get it. I was talking about it with someone and he said: “it’s ok if you need more sleep than your partner.” I also take some medications which knock me out when I sleep. So it’s this double-edged sword, right? So I would go to pick up my son and he would fling himself back into his crib and not let me touch him. The only person he let touch him was my husband. My husband got up to go to the bathroom and my son cried until he got back. I just felt like such a failure as a mom. Then I did the mature thing of yelling at my husband and ran to the guest room and proceeded to cry for about half an hour before I went back to my bed. What kind of mother can’t comfort her son?
Warby Parker Eyeglasses - Newton in Aurelia Tortoise
from: Warby Parker
Welcome to the end of being alone inside your mind
I cried and cried about what a terrible mom I was. I kept on saying “I’m an animal mom. Animals like me. I’m too selfish to be a mom” When I’m crying my toddler gets freaked out and my animals don’t. My husband earnestly said, “you are not a bad mom.” In my heart of hearts, I know I’m a good mom. But at 1 AM on a Tuesday morning and you have less than five hours to sleep and go to work, you just need to cry it out. So I cried and cried, and since you can’t do anything without judgment once you have kids it just got overwhelming. My son was extra snuggly the next day and it was good. But seriously, it hurts not being the favorite parent and it makes you wonder what you are doing wrong.
I feel like I have this idea of what being a mom would be like. So I write this blog about what I know about. You know music, art, cooking, books, etc. But I feel like if I were to be truly honest about motherhood ie the crying, the fear of telling people how hard it is because people would feel you are selfish, or the fact you have a supportive husband, family nearby, and quality childcare makes you feel guilty. Because motherhood in this country is hard. It is. I was lucky to have insurance and 3 months of maternity leave. So when I’m crying about how hard it is….I feel guilty. Then I cry more.
I just feel like I’m running on fumes sometimes. I have so many opportunities and flexibility. It’s a good thing. I went from working full time to part time (I work about 28-30 hours a week). I get these fun afternoons with my son. My boss is also a working mother and she gets it. But when I don’t sleep, I get overwhelmed. I worry my son doesn’t love me and I’m not enough of a mother.
Black Short-Stack Cornucopia Bag
You're tethered to another and you're worried all the time
Motherhood isn’t rational. First of all, pregnancy, which I was not aware would physically change every cell in my body and have long-lasting repercussions. Oh, the joy of sneeze peeing. Secondly, the complete fear that turns you into Maude Flanders yelling “what about the children?” when you see the news. Thirdly, your idea of your self changes. Because our society doesn’t act like women can be mothers AND ____. We can’t be mothers and sexual. We can’t be mothers and excel at our jobs. We can’t be mothers and entrepreneurs. Again, bad mom time, I was saying how I loved my son but sometimes I still get shocked that “hey, I’m a mama.” We compartmentalize women so that children can be like an accessory or a write-off. Or that once you have a kid you give up everything. Fun? Nope, I have kids. I’m a mom now, I sacrifice fun. Cute clothes? Selfish. Why can’t you wear mom jeans all the time? Shudder. Intellectual curiosity? Nope. Only practical mom stuff from now on. I know what you’re thinking, it’s not the fifties. But really, ask people about how they feel about women once they have kids. Ask people with power, see what they say. My sense of self was being a fun, intellectual woman who loved fashion, and art. Once I became a mom that was all I was supposed to be and I don’t want to lose myself.
My son is the best thing that ever happened to me. I still feel guilty for wanting to go out more. I feel guilty when I work late. I feel guilty because my anxiety won’t let me take the highway after 4 going home and I spend too much time commuting. I feel guilty when I go to evening exercise classes during the week. I feel guilty when I don’t work because when I stay home with him I get completely overwhelmed. Stay at home moms are amazing. I feel guilty for needing a structure that gets me out of the house. I feel guilty about having depression and the gall to have a child. I feel guilty about the state of the world. It’s a whole skill set made harder because the harder you work, the more guilt you feel and less ahead you feel.
Fitzgerald Leather Sofa
Filled my life with color, canceled plans, and trashed my car/But none of that was ever who we are
However, when I was meditating about my happiest time. It was with my entire family at the lake. When I am with my son I feel happiness and a love that is like looking at the world with new eyes. For example, my son doesn’t like going to toy stores but we took him to Whole Foods today and it blew his mind. He got to smell fancy soap. He saw bananas hanging up. He carried a banana all over the store. When we were leaving his mind was completely blown by the pizza display. He saw five whole pizzas! My Mom and I realized that he was in a place where all of his favorite food was displayed. He was in awe. Or when we are home with our cats and if you say “do you love your kitty?” and he just makes an aww sound and snuggles our cat, Starbuck. The joy when he sees a plane. Singing Baby Shark in public and doing the hand motions. Here’s the Baby Shark song. If you don’t have a toddler, now you know.
He picked up a ukulele and just kind of rocked out with it looking like a baby Johnny Cash. I was talking with another blogger about how people are weird with their kids online and how I couldn’t stage how adorable my kid is. Also, he’s beautiful. Like my husband and I were in marriage counseling and our counselor suggested our son could be a child model. He’s that cute. He got these eyes that are crazy blue. When I read The Sunne in Splendour, Penman described Edward IV as having eyes that were so blue they were rare to see outside of Ireland. That’s my baby and while it seems like the world isn’t made for children, he makes my world so much better. So I have to ride these waves of mom guilt and sit back and enjoy it. Because in your thirties life seems so much more serious than when you were in your twenties. Like in your twenties you feel like you have all this time and then life hits- for me it was a series of devastating losses and chronic back pain- that makes you realize you have to make the choices you want to now. You don’t want to have regrets. Before I had my son, I was agonizing over whether or not it was a good time to have kids. I came home from my sister’s wedding and surprise I was pregnant. Don’t you plan everything? Answer: Yes. Is it supremely ironic you got pregnant on birth control and were putting off trying to get pregnant until after your sister’s wedding because you didn’t want to be pregnant at her wedding? Oh yes.
What I’m trying to say is, other moms if you cry yourself to sleep feeling like a failure sometimes. Please know I love you and your kids. If you are asking yourself if you are a bad mom, it means you are thinking about it and you are doing the best you can. Love to you. I hope you feel less alone.
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from: Mabel's Labels
What’s that sweet jam you’ve been using for your headers?
Get out the kleenex because it's the song “The Mother” by Brandi Carlile. A pretty real song about being a mom.
Clinton Ponte 5 Pocket Pants
from: Cents of Style