Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Don't tell me that motherhood isn't that hard

"Motherhood isn't that hard," says the woman passing by. We have just boarded an airplane headed home from London and Ben is attempting to sit next to me even though the seat is assigned to someone else, but try explaining that to a 3-year-old. I keep urging him to return to his seat next to Sabrina.

I look at her. "Oh, are you a mother?" I ask.

She nods to two girls trailing behind her. "These two," she says. "It'll be OK, just calm down." She walks on.

I was already frazzled—getting through airports and loading everyone onto the plane has that effect on me. And now, I am perturbed. Don't tell me motherhood isn't that hard, lady, because sometimes it is. Not rocket-scientist hard, but it sure does challenge you in other ways: your patience, your endurance, your willpower, your sanity.

I may have a child with disabilities who needs an extra hand but on any given day, every single one of my three children has special needs. And I am one of the lucky moms, because my partner and I have jobs and health insurance and a place to call home. Motherhood is extra-hard for moms who lack the income or resources to care for their children.

Over the years, my fellow working moms and I have often joked about how going to an office is far easier than parenting. At work, you have defined rules that people tend to follow. Others listen to you politely, without whining (to your face, anyway). You get to grab lunch, hit Starbucks or take bathroom breaks at your very own will.

At work, you don't have to beg anyone to take one more bite of lunch or to stop sending tidal waves of water over the side of the bathtub or ask anyone to clean their room for the bazillionth time or handle a child having a meltdown in public as everyone stares or attempt to help one child with homework as two others demand your attention or face the hormonal wrath of a teen or struggle to explain math you're not totally clear on or I could go on and on but I could really use a nap.

Motherhood is being a juggler, diplomat, coach, chef, organizer, janitor, teacher, secretary, personal assistant/shopper, housekeeper and motivational speaker EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is putting yourself last, if that, even when you're sick or burned out or exhausted. It is tumbling into bed and being too wiped out to read a page, let alone a chapter, in the book that's been lying on your nightstand for way too long even though it's a really good book.

Motherhood is never taking the day off, because there's just no turning off the endless loop of worry in your head about the kids. And whether they can go for just one more day in their old, no-longer-fitting shoes.

At times, motherhood breaks your heart, whether you are grappling with a child's disability or health issue or come upon a baby photo and wonder how that little guy has grown up so fast. The two weeks that Max spent in the NICU were the absolute hardest ones in my life.

And of course all the blood, sweat and tears are worth it. And my children are the miracles in my life. And they're all sorts of fun. And maybe parts of motherhood comes easier to some than to others.

But that's no reason to judge mothers for those times when they're having a moment.

Image: Instagram/BaseBodyBabes


  1. I agree with the lady on your plane. Sure, mothering takes a lot of energy, but I would not call it hard. Looking back (my kids are now 18 and 20), I think the one word that better captures my experience raising my children is "fun". It has been so much fun, despite the one week nicu, the scares, the sleepless nights. And it's still so much fun when we are all together, travelling as a family, chatting on whatsapp when they are not at home, and seeing them blossoming. My kids have been easy going, no major teen attitude, no school disaster. Not hard at all.

    1. I don't find motherhood all that hard, but that's probably because I have just one child and she doesn't have any disabilities or serious illnesses or behaviour problems. Also, my husband's a stay-at-home dad. I can see how motherhood could be hard for some women. Not that work's a piece of cake by any means. A demanding boss and all of those deadlines and evaluations.

  2. Being a mother is the most meaningful things I have done with my life. Being hit by a 16-year-old, non-verbal child who is in extreme pain but can't tell you is hard -- first it physically hurts and I hurt because we (I and doctors) can't figure out the issue. It is hard sitting through 4 and 5 hours surgeries. It is hard sitting through the 1 hour surgery that turns out to be 3. It is hard seeing my child's neuro-typical peers going through various typical things that he will never do. It is hard having a cluttered house because I choose 8 hours of sleep over cleaning. It is hard not having a vacation of any sorts because all time off has been used for doctor appointments, surgeries, snow days (can't stay home alone), IEP meetings, so-on and so-forth. I could go on with things that aren't appropriate for public.

    But -- with that being said I love all of my kids to pieces. My older daughters are turning into wonderful young women (18 and 20!). And my son is a delightful young man. And I do forget the hard stuff that in the moment is hard.

    I would NEVER tell anyone that being a mother is easy. But I would tell them it is the BEST job I have every had.

  3. When you have a child with a chronic, heartbreaking condition, it’s hard. That’s my opinion.❤️

  4. I have two children, both autistic.
    On top of this I also have MS.
    I work part-time and study full-time. My son does football, my daughter does Scouts and netball.

    I love my children but parenting them is certainly not easy. My son is highly intelligent but when he doesn't get something straight away academic wise he falls Apart emotionally.

    My daughter has a whole bunch of behaviours relating to her anxiety. Most of the time I am sitting at home fingers crossed hoping that I won't have a phone call from the school to say she's absconded for the umpteenth time.

    Partner works long hours with a long commute so he is gone for over 12 hours a day.
    I am responsible for all the house work and yard work and running around. I also have my own therapies on top of all of this.

    Parenting can be a shitshow. Doesn't mean we don't love our kids but those who say it's always easy must have a blessed life

  5. Isn't that hard? That is certainly not the first - or even the fifth - thought that comes to mind for me when describing Motherhood. Motherhood is a different experience for everyone, but a lot depends on the support system each Mom has, such as financial freedom, flexibility at work, any special needs of the child, whether they have a supportive partner/spouse, family, friends and neighbors, etc. I would never tell anyone Motherhood isn't that hard, especially in passing.


Thanks for sharing!

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