Many women hear the call of motherhood early in life. They play babies, house, dress up like brides. And when their day comes to become a mother, they fall into it like they are falling into the warmest, fluffiest bed. They have a pregnancy "glow". They LOVE being pregnant. And when the babies come, it's like they were born to be mothers. Their patience is endless. They make smiley face pancakes every morning and watch their babies sleep at night. It is amazing to watch.
I was never that woman.
If you were looking for me as a kid, I was probably feeding the cows across the street or climbing a tree. I played house once with a little boy down the block, but when he didn't do what I wanted him to do, I cracked him in the face with a cup and made him bleed. I played with Barbies, but I always felt like dolls were kind of creepy. I preferred to fish with my Dad, rather than wait for the cookies to finish baking. I just wasn't that girl.
So when I found out we were expecting twins (and GIRLS to boot), I was shocked and terrified. How was I going to care for TWO children? Where was I going to put them? How the hell was I going to do this? I hated being pregnant. When picking out bedding and furniture for my children-to-be, I chose woods that matched the rest of the house, and bedding that was neutral, so that it would blend in. I thought, "They are going to live in MY world."
When they were born, it was Hershey who changed the first diapers. I did not enjoy breastfeeding. I did not enjoy changing diapers. I couldn't WAIT until they could hold their own bottles. I never used baby chatter. I spoke to them like little extensions of me from out of the womb.
But I threw myself into being a mother. I bought the right STUFF. I shopped Etsy for the cutest outfits. I made all of their baby foods and blogged about it. Overnight, I became Jane and Emma's Mother.
As I fell deeper and deeper into motherhood, I became resentful and angry. I directed that anger at my husband, my kids, my own family. I read books about parenting. I read books about making baby food. I blogged about it. I shopped for it. I spent so much time being a mother that I forgot to spend time being a wife...or being myself.
It wasn't until Jane and Emma were 3 years old that I understood what was happening to me. My whole life I had been independent. I had had a STRONG sense of who I was and what I wanted from life. I had PURPOSE that was MY OWN. Sure, my purposes changed here and there, but they were always mine.
Now, this is NOT to say that I don't LOVE my children. I love them WILDLY. I love them so much it hurts. I'm terrified ALL OF THE TIME that they are going to get hurt, or be mean to someone, or that someone is going to be mean to them. But you won't find me playing on the floor with them most days. I'll watch my favorite shows or movies with them (now that they're 4). I'll put together a puzzle with them. I'll dance with them in the kitchen. I'll read them books until we are blue in the face. I'll garden with them. I'll let them help me water the plants. I'll invite them to workout with me. I'll take them for hikes. I'll take them to the park, the zoo, wherever they want to go.
But when their feet hit the floor, I expect them to be independent and find their OWN purposes and their OWN independence. But, how could I expect that of them when I had lost myself so completely?
Last year I started looking at myself in the mirror again. I started to speak up and tell my husband that I NEEDED time to myself. I shifted my focus from being all about my kids to being a little bit more about what I wanted. I started eating healthier and working out. I surrounded myself with women who felt the same. I picked up a hobby helping other women find time to workout and take back some precious time for themselves.
It has been a wild ride.
I'm here to say that it's ok to NOT love being a mother. It's ok to absolutely hate motherhood some days. There are moments when I want to run away screaming.
There is so much out there that says that you should be devoting yourself to your children. That every waking moment should be spent taking care of them, and that you come second. I'm here to tell you that if you don't make yourself a priority, it will be really hard to love them the way that they deserve to be loved.
You've heard it all before:
Put on your mask first if the plane is going down.
You can't pour from an empty cup.
We need to model for them what we want to see them become.
How can you tell them to chase their dreams if you've stopped chasing yours?
You CAN do it all. You don't have to be Wonder Woman.
All you need to do is reach out your hand. I've got you.