Motherhood is Hard Because You’re Doing It Right
I will never forget the first time I ventured out to Target (home away from home) with my newborn daughter all by myself. I pulled in the parking lot and parked, excited and nervous, but as soon as I turned the car off, I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing. I simply could not figure out the logistics of shopping with a new baby. Should I leave her in the car while I grab a cart from the parking lot? Do I lug the heavy seat inside and then get a cart? Where do I even put her so I still have room for the things I needed to buy? Or should I just forget the carseat altogether?!
So many questions.
I looked around and managed to follow cues from the veteran moms who I saw confidently strolling in and out of Target with babies in tow. How did they figure this out this first time? How do they seem so calm about it? I assumed that since I was uncertain, I must be doing something wrong.
It’s comical now but at the time I just remember feeling lost and scolding myself for not paying more attention to moms before. Everything was more difficult now with a baby on my hip, and rightfully so.
Now four years in to parenting I know the truth about the other moms: they feel lost at times, too. Maybe they’ve conquered Target trips, but their next uncharted territory is Kindergarten or college looming ahead. They are unsure and insecure and facing challenges too.
We don’t get to hear each other’s internal monologue, because it’s just that: internal. I can’t know your thoughts and worries, but I can know this — motherhood is hard because you’re doing it right. It’s hard because you care. It’s hard not because of anything you’re doing wrong, but because of everything you’re doing right.
That’s something I wish I had known from the very beginning.
My motherhood challenges have since grown from panic at Target to figuring out how to foster sibling bond between my children to which preschool is the right fit for our family. And when my son was born I faced an entirely new set of challenges because he is a completely unique kid and very different from my first born.
I don’t believe that motherhood gets easier. I think you get easier on yourself and you recognize your own strength to walk through every new hurdle that pops up in your path. The challenging scenarios begin to snowball with each year – the stakes get higher and the answers get heavier, more complicated. But you handle it because you’ve been “momming” for years now. You’ve been flexing those muscles and they are stronger now than ever before. You really can do this.
I just want to remind you today that if you’re worried about how you’re doing, that’s a sure sign you’re doing a good job. Motherhood is synonymous with hard but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. I’m not just saying that – I really believe it. It’s arduous for all of us – every single one – so today, give yourself some grace and tell a mom you admire that she’s doing good in this hard, beautiful work of mothering.