Ah, motherhood. There's much to love about this journey, including the giggles, the hugs, and the bedtime cuddles. I never imagined I could love two humans the way I love my kids. While they aren't everything, they're my primary "things." I've learned a lot since my first pregnancy in my early 20s, but even now, I can't avoid the unexpected lessons or the times when motherhood will definitely make me cry like a baby, because it's all part of the process, right?
Before my first pregnancy way back in 2006, I wasn't sure when (or if) I'd get to experience motherhood. However, I knew it was something I wanted at some point. I had just ended a marriage that happened straight out of high school and my new boyfriend and I weren't ready to be parents just yet. Things changed a couple years later and we were thrilled (after the initial shock). When I had my daughter, though, the whole motherhood feeling didn't settle in right away. I worried she and I wouldn't bond, that I'd be a terrible parent, and that maybe the baby gods made a mistake when giving me the chance to love her. It turned out those feelings, although normal to an extent, were part of my postpartum depression (PPD) diagnosis. With treatment and time, I did bond with my daughter and we continue to have a solid relationship to this day.
After subsequent pregnancies — two that ended in miscarriage and one successful — it became official: I was the mother of two kids and motherhood had become me. Not all of it has been easy (not much, actually), and there have been many tears shed, in raising my two sweethearts. Still, not a day goes by that I think of a life without them. Here are some of the times motherhood can, and will, make you cry like a damn baby. If we're not crying, did it ever really happen?
When The Kids Don't Sleep
You know that feeling at the end of a long day, where all you want to do is go the hell to sleep but you can't because your kids "aren't tired?" Or when you have a baby and toddler and one hasn't learned how to sleep through the night while the other hits a sleep regression? This was my life and hell yes I cried my way through it.
When No One Eats The Food You Make
I like to cook in general, but I definitely like to cook for people who will actually eat my food. My kids, bless them, will taste everything on their plates (because I ask them to), but if I've spent three hours on a dish only to have my youngest say "I don't like it" I'm going to need a minute to re-group.
When You've Just Cleaned Up Only To Find A New Mess
I swear, I spend most of my adult life picking up after my partner and kids. Most of the time I don't mind, but if I'm stressed or really tired of cleaning, it might be the last straw. Motherhood is just one cleaning event after the next.
When Your Kid Is Sick Or Hurt
There's little worse than having a sick kid, except having one who's hurt. I don't want my kids to be in any kind of pain and the times I can't make it all better with a kiss or Band-Aid, I could just cry. When my daughter was 3, she fell off the bed and cracked open the front of her forehead. It happened during a snowstorm so her usual doctor was closed and we had to drive pretty far to an emergency room. I think I cried more than she did because of the guilt from letting something bad happen to her.
When Your Kid Becomes Independent
I didn't notice so much when my oldest claimed her independence because she seems to have been born strong-willed. But right now, my youngest is just now doing things all by himself and honestly, guys, I'm dying inside. I need him to need me!
When Someone Makes Your Kid Cry
If you dare make one of my kids cry or feel bad about themselves, believe I'm going to have words. After those words, however, I'll probably cry on the bathroom floor because even the thought of their feelings being crushed is painful to me.
When You've Spent The Day Saying "No"
I'm the primary caregiver since my partner works outside the home, so that also means I'm the main disciplinarian. I hate saying no as much as I do, only because my kids start to think I'm never any fun. Some days, it really gets to me.
When Your Kids Want Their Other Parent More Than You
The times their father is home, my kids often want him to do all the things I normally would. While a relief at first thought, it can also be hurtful. They need time with him, too, but I like being the chosen one, especially when it comes to our 5 year old. He's always been a momma's boy, but when dad is here, he likes "bro time," which can be excluding to both my daughter and me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't sneak away to cry over it.
When They Hold Out A Hand
When either of my kids holds a hand out to cross the street, or when we're just sitting on the couch and I feel the warmth of a sweaty palm, I really feel the joyous pain of motherhood.
When They Say I Love You
Along the same lines, my kids are growing up so fast, every "I love you" is another reminder of how important this time is. Some day, and probably way too soon, they'll be saying goodbye and this hands-on part of the job will be over. They've given me the gift of motherhood, however difficult, isolating, challenging, or rewarding. So regardless of the tears, every second has been worth it.
Every. Single. Second.