Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Matt went to a TEDx talk last week. One of the speakers he told me about was a woman who said, if she could go back and do it all again, she would never have children. I bet you could here a pin drop in the auditorium.
Mom's are NOT supposed to say those types of things!!!
Then, last week I was reading a post on facebook that I think Scary Mommy posted on their blog. The woman remained anonymous because she wouldn't want her kids to ever see that she had said the same thing as the speaker from TEDx said. If she were to go back and do things again, she would never have kids.
Well I am here to say, out loud, not anonymous, that I feel the same way as these two women. And, I am okay with that.
The reason I feel confident in saying it without shame, guilt, or the need to hide, is because it changes NOTHING about the way I feel, love, and treat my kids now.
I can say that and love them the same. I can be the best mom, just the same. I made the choice to have children. I don't think anyone really knows what they are getting themselves in to when they make the decision to have kids. None the less, people make that choice every day. Some mothers love it. It is their calling. They excel at it, and are amazing. Then there are others. Like me. Who would chose to do it differently if I could. I don't excel. I am disorganized. I often dismiss things, because, frankly, I don't have the energy or mental capacity to deal with it. I love my kids. They bring me so much joy. But, they also bring so much heartache and anxiety. I'm not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg. The heartache and anxiety, of unmet expectations of life, unhealed wounds, some I didn't even know I had, stress of life ect......Or, if having kids, brought those things on. I didn't struggle with mental health issues until my first marriage. Yup, you heard right, I was married before. (Brief rabbit hole: I was married at barely 21 yrs old. Moved to Texas. Away from everything and everyone. Was married less than a year and left. It was not a good situation.) I struggled with depression in my first marriage. Did I know it was depression? Maybe a little. But, since I had never had depression before, I was uneducated, young and naive about it. Looking back, with the knowledge of the disease now, I know I had severe depression. Fast forward two years from the time I got married, divorced, had an affair, and married Matt.... I gained two children and had one on the way. I also gained an ex-wife, who was a woman scorned. And you know that saying " Hell hath no furry, like a woman scorned" Ummm, yah...that is a true statement! I was just 23...had been through a fast dating relationship that resulted in a 10 month marriage, moved halfway across the country to Texas, divorced, had an affair, moved back to Michigan, moved to Tulsa, got pregnant out of wedlock(which from my upbringing, was the worst sin ever!) married again, and became a step mom. Holy shit! That's a lot! I don't give myself enough credit for being a strong woman. Because, that right there, is a lot of stuff to go through in a two year period! Okay, back to my original thought. See! I told you! SO MUCH going through my head! ;) So, why would I do it all over again? Why would I not have kids? I have a hard enough time controlling my own emotions. I have a hard enough time handling my own depression and anxiety. I have a hard enough time handling a marriage relationship properly. I have a hard enough time learning how to be a functioning adult. And now, NOW.....I'm supposed to raise little humans. What the hell?!?! If I can't even "adult", how am I supposed to teach children how to become functioning adults?!?!? Through counseling and self examination, I have discovered that I am the type of person who, when told a problem or concern by someone else, takes that problem and concern on as my own. I FEEL it. I FEEL it, big time. Even though I don't want to. I have enough "feels" of my own going on, thank you, very much! But, this, is what I do. Matt and I have actually had to work on this in our marriage. He feels uncertain bout bringing his cares and concerns to me because I take them on. I want to "fix" them. I know....a typical male thing to do. You should know, I am the male in this relationship. We are VERY role reversed. SO...when my kids come to me with problems, hurts, concerns, issues etc. I FEEL them y'all!!! I FEEL them SO deep! I hate it. I love my children...but honestly, I can't handle their stuff. Does anyone else feel me?!?!? As Matt and I talked about this lady's "confession" on stage I realized two things: First, there is the stay at home mom. She makes the choice to stay at home and care for all the children's needs and household needs. Like I said before, some of these moms are fantastic at it. No regrets, no what if's, no guilt. That is fantastic. Then there are some moms, like me, who think, 'What am I doing?', 'Who am I?', 'Is this all there is?'. That's fantastic too. And don't let anyone tell you it isn't fantastic. The latter of the two, the mom I am, is fantastic too because we have a longing for something more. We want it all. We are learners, leaders, growers, and cultivators. However, speaking from that moms point of view...I see that we may feel caught in the middle. Caught between the struggle of wanting to be a stay at home mom. Wanting to work. Wanting something more. Maybe, even if it is selfish and just for us. That is OKAY! Society, and ourselves make us feel guilty for feeling that way. Like, somehow by feeling a longing for something more than providing for your children, by being a stay at home mom, is wrong. It. is. NOT. Feel no guilt my fellow moms. Feel no guilt. Secondly, there is the working mom. The working mom...wow....you've got two full time jobs. With that being said, I think that is where their guilt comes from. They have the questions of 'How can I give both the attention they need', 'How can I have a career and a family, without sacrificing energy towards one or the other?', 'I'm failing my kids.', 'I'm failing my job.'. Working moms do not love their kids more or less than the stay at home moms. They have chosen their path. That is OKAY! Feel no guilt my fellow moms. Feel no guilt. The struggle I see with working moms...where I see their "mom guilt" coming from, is the struggle they experience between wanting two worlds. They want the career/social life. Yet, they have a family. They want the family life, without resenting the family for not getting to experience the career/social life. Moms, across the board, regardless of who you are, how good you are, or how stable you are, feel mom guilt. I wish it could be eliminated. Wiped off the face of the earth. But it can't. It is real. It is damning. It is harsh. It can destroy. I implore you! Do not fall prey to the mom guilt. Be confident in who you are! Be confident in your ability to love your children. Be confident in your parenting style. Regardless of what others are doing or saying. Be confident in the fact that YOU were chosen to have your children and raise them. Be confident in the fact that as a mother, regardless of what it may look like on the outside, or FaceBook, at a moms group, or on a playdate, you are NOT ALONE! Moms struggle. Moms don't always like their children. Mom's don't always want to be moms. It is hard, grueling, emotional, laborious work. It is okay, on some days to think, 'Why did I chose this?'. It does not in anyway change the love and dedication you have for your children! It does not change the fact that you, are an amazing mother!
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Wow! Parenting is so hard. I know you know what I am talking about. But, it's so hard to put into words. It's so hard to capture all the emotions that encompass the statement, "Parenting is hard". This school year has seemed especially hard. Maybe it's me? Maybe I am not as emotionally healthy as I should be and therefore it is has been more difficult for me to handle my kids emotions and problems? You know, as a parent when your kids hurt--you hurt. I never understood what my mom meant by that until I became a parent. For me, when my kids fight and there is tension in their lives with each other--I feel that tension too. When they get hurt by a friend--I feel that hurt too. When they feel stressed about grades and the changes of life they are going through and don't quite understand--I feel all that too. I don't want my kids to hurt. I want life to be easy for them. But I know this isn't real life. I know from my own experiences in life that sometimes our greatest growth and knowledge comes from the pain we experience in life.
It is just mind boggling to me at times that I am responsible for raising growing humans. It is MY responsibility to raise them to be kind, humble, selfless, contributing beings, to society. That is a HUGE undertaking. I feel so under qualified for this job. Also, I feel crazy myself most of the time...how am I supposed to then, raise children who know how to handle their emotions, feelings, and thoughts in a healthy manner, if I judge I can't even do the same. Oy vey! This week I had a mom, I had just met, say to me, " Wow! Five kids. That must be so much fun! Do you just love it?" About a million things ran through my head in a matter of seconds. How do I answer this question? Should I be honest? How do I be honest without sounding like a terrible person? Should I just give the answer she wants to hear? So I said "Well, to be honest, it is 5 times the joy and 5 times the heartache." That's really what it boils down to for me. I'm a pretty black and white, or "all" or "nothing" type person. I am the type of person who tends to fully live in the emotions of the moment or season. So when things are bad, it's all bad. Life is bad. We are terrible parents. Our kids are going to need a lifetime of therapy. Our kids will probably end up dead beats, living with us until they're 40. When things are good, its all good. Life is good. I'm a good parent. We have our crap together. Our kids are going to conquer the world.
This is not fun. This roller coaster of emotion, guilt, joy one minute, heartache the next, and negative thinking is not a fun one to be on. To be honest, knowing that I'm going to be on it for the rest of my life, is not really appealing to me. I understand relationships with my kids will change once they are adults and have families of their own. I understand that life with them will not always be so "emotionally involved". But, I also understand that they will never stop being my kids. I will never stop caring for them. I will never stop wanting the best for them. I will never stop being a cheerleader for them. I have so much more to say on the subject of parenting. There is no such thing as a super mom, don't fall into the trap of mom guilt, why is there mom guilt, do not compare yourself, and on and on and on. But this is all for now....
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