Fill in the blank. Moms give birth to children and try hard to raise them to become functioning members of society. They sooth cries, clean up messes, work through the tantrums, handle the back talking, and love unconditionally. Moms are moms, but that’s not all they are – moms are also people. People have flaws, people are authentic, and people are complex. Unfortunately, society expects a ton from mothers. They are expected to be perfect, to raise their children how other’s perceive “raising children” to look. We need to take expectations away from mothers and allow mothers to be human. Parenting is a journey that looks different for everyone, and as long as the children involved are safe and happy and well cared for, motherhood can be designed in any way they please. The blank is often filled in with reality, and everyone’s blank is different.
I am a mom and I hate being pregnant. This is a reality for so many mothers out there. Pregnancy is quite the amazing biological process, and for many women that process is extremely difficult. Weight gain, morning sickness, muscle aches, swelling, fatigue, indigestion, and mood swings are just a few of the symptoms experienced during pregnancy, and some women experience them on a higher scale than others. For some, complications make the experience almost unbearable. Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that some pregnant women experience that can make pregnancy even more uncomfortable than it might already feel.
Each story is different for everyone, and some women feel amazing during pregnancy – it’s just important to understand that being a mother doesn’t mean you have to love being pregnant. Having a difficult pregnancy doesn’t make you any less of a mother, and it’s damaging to expect every mother to love having life growing inside of them. For some, that life growing inside of them feels more like a nine month sickness than a nine month blessing, even if the end result is a beautiful one.
I am a mother and I am sick. Being sick can mean any number of things: cancer, chronic illness, or even mental illness. The point here is that you are a mother, and your health isn’t at 100% all of the time. Mothers are resilient in nature, but it’s unrealistic to assume that every mother can wake up early with their little one, breastfeed, handle pregnancy, stay calm in frustrating situations, or have energy to keep up with their kids every day. Those with chronic acid reflux may experience an extremely painful pregnancy despite the many options for treatment. Those with cancer may have issues conceiving once cancer free, or may have a hard time focusing all of their energy on parenting once they’ve been diagnosed. Those with a mental illness may struggle with postpartum depression or getting past fatigue.
The list is long for the possible illnesses mothers may experience while they are parenting and it’s important to note how many mothers struggle with their health while doing their best to parent. Whether it’s asthma, anxiety, or heart disease, struggling with your health while parenting is difficult and it’s important to note that we all have difficulties and for some women they are juggling medical visits with teaching their child how to walk.
I am a mother and I am a student. For many of us, the order of events in life are education, career, marriage, and children. However, this is not the order of operations for everyone. For some, furthering their education happens after they’ve had children, which is an awesome decision regardless of when it happens. Mommy judgement is a real thing, and it’s far too common to see parents judge other parents for the way that they live their life and parent their children. Non-traditional student mothers are only working to make their lives better for them and their families so it’s important to celebrate these advances instead of belittling them.
Now with so many online degree options, more moms are returning to college to complete their degrees. Traditional colleges are offering daycare facilities, a variety of class times, and online courses in order to cater to a parent’s schedule. This shows that more mothers are taking these opportunities to further their education and it’s not as uncommon as it was previously. If anything, mothers that are also students should be rewarded for somehow parenting while also passing classes.
I am a mother and I wear many hats. I am a mother and I am a wife, friend, daughter, artist, lawyer, reader, runner, cook, traveler, etc. Mothers are only part of who we are and it’s important to pay attention to the other aspects of who we are along with being mothers. Point blank, parenting is difficult and frustrating and the things that will keep us sane through the difficult aspects of parenthood are the other hats that we wear. Take a girls night to go dancing, spend an evening painting, sign up for a marathon, or take a trip somewhere in order to wear your other hats that keep you sane. You can be an amazing mother while still giving time to the other hats you wear.
I am a mother and I am not perfect. No one is a perfect human, and no one is a perfect mother. We have all seen the mom shaming that happens in parenting circles. Some mothers utilize the Ferber Method, some don’t. Some mothers allow their children to watch television, some do not. Some mothers breastfeed, some don’t. One thing that all mothers have in common is that they make mistakes. All mothers have given their child the toy they are begging for just to get them to stop crying in public. All mothers have yelled when they shouldn’t. All mothers have lied in order to neutralize a tantrum. Instead of shaming mothers for making mistakes, or parenting differently, support one another. Mothers aren’t perfect and it’s important not to give mothers unrealistic expectations or judge one another.
I am a mom and I hate being pregnant. I am a mom and I am sick. I am a mom and I am a student. I am a mom and I wear many hats. I am a mom and I am not perfect. Fill in the blank with anything that you feel makes your role as a parent different than others, more challenging than others, or something that others may judge you for. The point being that every mother has a blank and no one is perfect.