See, no one tells you these things. Whenever parents (mostly women) speak about their infants, they talk about how "wonderful" it is and how they "can't remember life before". When speaking quite openly and honestly with some of my great girlfriends, we've determined that's a load of crap. No new parent will flat out say "this sucks and surely isn't what I expected", okay...maybe a man. Anyhow, we're trained by society not to speak honestly about the trials and tribulations of becoming a new parent because "you should be grateful god damnit!" Whoa...pump the brakes! Struggling through anything in life and being vocal about it, doesn't mean that we're ungrateful, just that we are struggling. If a young woman who is battling anorexia/bulimia comes to you for support or advice, you're not going to say --"Get real. You should be grateful you even have food. There's starving people all over this world."
Do you see how ridiculous this is? Why, as a woman, was I made to feel that my feelings of inadequacy after child birth were invalid and even more so, uncommon? These aren't uncommon feelings or thoughts, just uncommonly spoken.
I know that as time progresses, we often forget how it was to be a new mother and in that seemingly never-ending stage. We are reminded of this through our parents who are now grandparents. After they get a few solid hours with their grand kids, you can see the delight on their face when you return and they get to hand them off. I very much appreciate their exhaustion as well as their admittance of it with comments like "Boy, she's got some energy. I don't know how you do it." That definitely helps me feel like I'm superwoman -- and it's MUCH needed.
I'll never forget some of the best, and most honest advice, that came from my sister just after my daughter arrived. I remember her telling me to enjoy the first few months while the baby slept and I remember thinking -- "What?!?! Are you saying this is the easy part?!?" and being terrified of what's to come. She then explained it to me this way... Each stage you will love, hate and then miss terribly once it's gone. Those who tell you that it gets better, are lying. It doesn't get better, it just gets different. With each new stage comes a new obstacle, a new lesson and another way for you to feel inadequate about what you've done thus far. Take every miraculous moment, no matter how rare they may be, and cherish it, because it goes by fast.
She was 100% right.
So, it's days like today where I've spent most of the day frustrated and trying to find ways to kill time that I try to reflect and remember that although these days, and many more to come, will definitely be hard, to take that miraculous moment and cherish it.
At this stage, I've personally found a balance that works for me on most days. I have my good days, and my bad, but always try to appreciate the gift I've been given in unconditional love from this mini-me that runs around screaming "Mommy," all day long. I have accepted that no matter what I am forever changed and will no longer be defined as the young, go-getting professional, and I'm okay with that. I'm okay with knowing that I do the absolute best I can every day at what I do do, even though majority of that is simply being mom. Because through all the ups and downs of parenting, the societal judgments, feelings of inadequacy, millions of tears and pressure to be the perfect parent -- hearing "Mommy, I love you" is the best gift this woman could ever ask for.
To all the new mommies out there, stay strong -- we know it sucks. I promise, the rewards for your relentless, unrecognized and under-appreciated work are around the corner. YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB!