When you become a parent, life gets much more challenging. Opinions you’ve had your whole life start to change, your worldview gets turned upside down, and your mind starts to question every thought you’ve ever had. Being a mother is one of the most stressful, frustrating, and absolutely wonderful things you can ever do for yourself. It’s the most rewarding challenge you’ll ever face. That being said, there are a lot of things that happen when you give life to another human being.
Criticism becomes constant
First, you have to deal with criticism from other mothers. In today’s world, no matter what parenting approach you take, you’re wrong in somebody’s eyes. Whether you co-sleep or crib sleep, whether you breastfeed or formula feed, whether you go to work or stay home… you will always be wrong.
There will always be a statistic of some sort telling you that you are a bad mother, and there will always be one stating that you’re doing everything right. Every baby requires different treatment, so who is anyone to say they know what’s best for a baby…more so than it’s own mother?! So if a mom is doing everything in her power to keep her baby happy and healthy, she’s doing right by her child, and that’s all that should matter.
Your schedule changes
You also have to adapt to a new schedule, one that includes less sleep, and more solitude. Eventually, you learn to function on a few hours of sleep each night. You might have bags under your eyes, and knots in your hair, but you’re awake and giving your sweet baby all the love that they deserve. Even though you wouldn’t trade your time with your baby for the world, it does get lonely without any adult interaction, especially for stay at home moms. You go a little stir crazy when you don’t get enough conversation in your day. This can make it harder on your spouse, because you’re so dependent on that short time you get with them when they are home.
Relationships will need a lot more work
Which leads me to my next point, you will have to work harder at ALL of your relationships if you want to maintain them. There will be a strain on your marriage, not only because of the lack of intimacy and sleep, but also because of the increase of stress and irritability. Both of you will feel as if you never get a break. Also, you will have to work harder in your relationships with your friends as well. For the friends that don’t have children, it’s going to be hard to spend time with them. A lot of the activities they enjoy will most likely not be kid-friendly.
For the friends who do have children, you will see them sometimes. But it’s hard to find a time to meet up with people. You have to plan it around nap time, feeding schedules, appointments, etc. So to maintain these relationships you’re going to have to remember to prioritize them. Hopefully your friends and family are understanding as to how hard it is to go out and do certain things.
Anxiety. So much anxiety.
Another thing that comes along with becoming a mother is anxiety. I’m not talking about the kind of anxiety where you suffer from a panic attack, and you can’t breathe. Although that does happen to some mothers. I’m talking about the kind that you endure every second of every day, hoping that nothing bad will come to your baby. It can be mild, and it can be severe. The mild is more along the lines of getting really nervous leaving your baby with a sitter. Or when your baby is crying and there’s nothing you can do to soothe them.
The severe anxiety kicks in when your baby is hurt and you need to take them to the hospital…Or when your doctor tells you something is wrong and your baby will need surgery. You will have this anxiety until the day you die. Becoming a mother means constantly worrying about someone else’s well being more than your own, no matter their age.
The hardest part?
The struggle I find most challenging about being a mother is the roller coaster of emotions that comes along with it. You’re stressed beyond belief, worried about everything, more irritable than ever before, and way overly emotional. But despite all of this… you’re the happiest you’ve ever been. All it takes is a split second of looking into your sweet baby’s eyes, for all of your stress to just slip away. Every new skill your baby learns almost brings a tear to your eye because you’re happy that they’re learning so much, and you’re sad that it’s happening so fast. When they laugh, your heart melts. And when they see you after you’ve been out of their site for five minutes, and they run up to you with a huge smile on their face, drool down their shirt, yelling “MOMMY!” like they haven’t seen you in years, you become so overwhelmed with joy.
You will then realize that all of the hardest parts of becoming a mother, aren’t even a factor anymore. You would do it all over a million times, every day, for the rest of your life… just for one slobbery, open mouth kiss. That is the absolute reality of becoming a mother.
If you or someone you know struggles with postpartum depression/anxiety, click here!
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