Motherhood

Motherhood question: Is it really this hard?

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I didn’t expect parenting to be easy, but it was far harder, yet far more rewarding, than I could have ever imagined.  When I was at the hospital, I had lots of support from helpful nurses and lactation consultants who came to check in on me and the baby constantly.  They showed me how to properly swaddle the baby, checked his urine output, gave me pain medication, and answered all of my first time mom questions. The reality of having a helpless newborn who was totally and utterly dependent on me emerged the first few days after we got home from the hospital.  At that moment, I truly understood the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.”

It was an emotional roller coaster of elation, uncertainty and sheer exhaustion all rolled into one.  When your newborn cries, eats, and poops every two hours, it’s hard to see the big picture when you are covered in spit-ups, cleaning diaper blow-outs, suffering from painful plugged ducts, and surviving on one hour of sleep every few hours.  When well meaning friends and family told me to “treasure and enjoy these fleeting moments,” I just smiled politely.  In my mind, I was thinking that they had no idea what they were talking about (or they were suffering from amnesia).  The truth is that when you are knee-deep in baby care, the hours are long but the days go by fast.  Just ask any mom whose child is turning one soon.

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I have a few good friends who recently had babies and even though they were well prepared, they were shocked at how hard motherhood was.  This was by far the most common comment/question I got from them: “My baby doesn’t sleep unless she is being nursed or rocked to sleep.  When she finally falls asleep, as soon as I put her down, she cries again.  Is this normal?  I feel like I have to hold her all day until my husband comes home to tag team with me.  I can’t get anything done or get any rest.”

I always respond by telling them that yes, it is normal.  They are not doing anything wrong and there is nothing wrong with their babies.  Parenting is hard, very hard.  Motherhood is tough and ironically most people don’t talk about how hard it is, not even to their closest friends and family.  Instead, we constantly see bright-eyed, bushy-tailed parents and their babies on Facebook and Instagram, going to concerts at the park, out for coffee, or doing camping trips while we are still in our nursing tanks, hair uncombed, and bags under our eyes.  Something isn’t adding up.  What am I doing wrong?  Why are other people’s babies so happy while my baby constantly cries?

While there are indeed some easy babies who like to eat and sleep, and mellow parents who make parenting look effortlessly easy and fun, these kinds of babies and parents are a rarity.  The truth is that we put the best versions of ourselves on display on social media.  The last 23 hours may be filled with tears and frustration, but we will post that one beautiful picture of our baby smiling on Facebook with the comment “that smile though.”

Moms, let’s strive to be kind and sweet to ourselves.  Know that you are doing the best that you can for yourself and your baby.  You will make mistakes and learn along the way and that is okay.  Experience is nothing more than making mistakes and learning from them.  Take in the moments, whether good or bad, as these experiences will become significant chapters in your motherhood story.

We live busy lives and I appreciate your time in reading this post.  If you have found this to be helpful or know someone who would enjoy this post, please share it with them.  Please click the “follow” button to receive email notification of future blog posts or follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

-Melissa
Happy chic mom, a blog for moms

This post was republished with permission on the ABC News.
The post Motherhood question: Is it really this hard appeared first on happychicmom.

Photo credit: Jordan Whitt

16 thoughts on “Motherhood question: Is it really this hard?

  1. Excellent articles as always. Thanks for sharing Melissa! I’m still trying to sort my emotions as a new mom and there have been many tears along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sherry, thank you for the nice comment. I remember going through an emotional rollercoaster as a new mom and I had many tears as well. Hang in there, it gets better.

      Like

  2. Your little one is soooo precious! Congrats honey! Motherhood….babies don’t come with a manual….trial and err and a lot of reading…sweet, sweet sweet….I can just imagine your happiness. Did you save the paper from your baby shower? If so, I have a great way to turn them into a memento. I did it for my daughter in law…..she loves it!

    Liked by 1 person

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