“You will never be well rested again“. This is the first thing one of my co-workers said to me upon hearing the news that I was pregnant. And for the next several months, I heard many variations of the same point about motherhood. It’s exhausting. Oh, and also demanding. And if you can take a shower than you’re pretty much a mommy rockstar.
Though, I don’t think one could ever be prepared for what motherhood is like, I do feel like I was very well prepared for it to be… well… hard. Sure, they always throw in the token, “it’s totally worth it” but that’s not always so convincing when you’ve just been painted a terrifyingly exhausting picture of what your reality will soon be.
Yes, motherhood is tiring. And, yes, it can be overwhelming. But something I have learned in this first year of motherhood is that it’s really not as hard as I thought it would be.
Maybe it’s like the highly anticipated film that’s been built up so much that you leave the theater feeling let down, but in reverse. Perhaps motherhood was built up to be so exhausting and so overwhelming that I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I (usually) shower, always brush my teeth (apparently not everyone does) and though I sleep a lot less I do sleep (like a rock, even if only for a couple of hours at a time).
I am not in any way saying that motherhood is not challenging. And I’m certainly not saying that it’s not exhausting. In fact, many of the things people told me are true but I had no idea that my feelings of wholeness and joy would far out weigh my feelings of being overwhelmed and tired.
The laughs, smiles, hugs and kisses are just too wonderful for words.
When my son and I read or sing or dance, I rarely think about how tired I am. When he’s having the time of his life splashing in the tub, the diaper blowouts and constant wardrobe changes never seem to cross my mind. When he’s playing in the church nursery or squealing in the ball pit at play group, I always forget that we barely made it out the door that morning (sometimes with both of us in tears).
Yes, like many things in life, motherhood is hard. Some would argue it’s the hardest but I can’t think of a single “hard” thing that has made me this happy and fulfilled.
No other “demanding” person in my world has ever been so easy to love. No difficult situation has seemed quite as worth it. No long, grueling day has ever left me feeling so satisfied.
So, is motherhood really that hard?
Motherhood will always bring challenges and some heartache even (more so?) when the kids are long gone. Ultimately, though, I think it’s different for everyone. Each mom has her individual set of circumstances. Some women face hardships in motherhood that others do not.
But even if it is that hard, as a good friend of mine told me when I was pregnant, “it’s the hardest job you’ll ever love”.