mother

>> 2.21.2012

Every day I look at my son, and I discover new angles and planes to his face that I've never seen before.
He changes bit-by-bit, right before my eyes, so that there is always something new to see if I just give him enough time.

Being a mother is hard.

Lately I keep wondering if I was really cut out for this job, or if I only thought I was (and wanted to be).

Is that possible, though?
Are you meant to be a mother as soon as your child arrives in your arms? Or is it possible to have a child, and yet not possible to be a mother?

(I know I'm treading on shaky ground here. I don't mean that I don't want to be a mother, but rather am I meant to be one. There is a difference.)

I feel sad, and guilty, and very ashamed admitting that motherhood makes me feel completely inadequate. Especially because I really felt like I had a handle on this whole thing--yes, the first five months were tough in the sleep-deprivation, discovering-a-new-person, figuring-out-breastfeeding, etc. sort of ways. But I felt like I was doing it well. I had the routine down, I had the hippie "communicate with your baby" principles, and everyone was pretty happy.

But now? Now I feel like I'm stumbling and tripping through motherhood. It feels awkward, and all I can see are the holes where my inadequacies are staring me in the face. I look around, and it looks like all the other moms with babies my age have finally hit their stride, and I'm sad, because I feel like I've passed mine.
Already?

I just don't feel like I have enough--not enough patience, not enough kindness, not enough knowledge, not enough energy, not enough ______.

Most days, I hit the couch around three p.m. and I look at Jameson and think, "What am I supposed to do with you now?" And there is guilt, for letting my child down, for not being what he needs.

(I hope you know the risk I'm taking here, by telling you this.)

Most days (but not all. Not enough.) I get so much joy out of being a mother.
I love watching him grow and change.
I like going for walks to cafes, and drinking coffee while he learns to eat.
I love making him smile, and hearing him laugh and knowing that it's me he finds so funny.
I love that he's learning how to hug, and he wraps his arms so tight around my neck and burrows his face in the hollow of my throat.
I love that he makes so many noises now, and just stares while I talk, soaking it all in.
I love the swelling in my heart that I get when I look at him, and the awe that he is mine washes over me once more.

But then a bad day comes, and the house of cards comes crashing down, and I've got to build it all up once again. I just think about how I just have to get through that day, get to eight p.m., when I can nurse my son and lay him in his crib, and just sit still for a moment. Then there are a blessed few hours until I have to get up the next morning and do it all over again.

I don't know how to do this, motherhood.

I only know how to love him with an overflowing, ever-present love, and I just hope that it's enough.

4 thoughts:

GemmaLH February 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM  

I love you for your honesty and for admitting all the things I have felt and still sometimes feel. You don't have to be perfect,just good enough,and you are plenty good enough for Jameson, I promise.

Des Slocum,  February 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM  

Sounds like you're being very hard yourslef. You became a mother the moment your son was conceived and you've been taking care of him ever since. If you weren't adept at mothering then he wouldn't be doing so well. Look how healthy and happy he is. That is evidence of how well his parents are caring for him.

Also, don't think you should know..or will know everything about child-rearing right off the bat. You learn through experience how best to mother your individual child. All children are unique. My daughter is almost 4 years old and I'm just now feeling like, "Ahhh, I get it. I understand how to approach this now." lol

The only things you should know and can know immediately are the basics and most important things like keeping him fed, warm, dry, clean, and safe. Those are the easy things and you've already got those down. You already love him, which is the most important thing of all. As for the rest of it just enjoy him and enjoy being yourself and let go of self-pressure. God chose YOU to be Jameson's mom. You.

Kim Haring February 21, 2012 at 1:47 PM  

I am identifying with your feelings deep in my heart.

I've felt the same burden and pressure of wanting to be the best for my babies. Still do sometimes, even though my babies are grown up!

I love what your friend said, "God chose YOU to be Jameson's mom." He knows what He is doing and He will make you adequate for each day, and for each task. He is about the business of equipping you.

You will never be enough though. None of us is ever enough for any other person, even though we yearn to be. But God. God is very gentle and tender with mothers and their little ones. He stands in the gap. His angels keep watch over us.

I'm not sure I have a right to comment here. But your note was so moving, I wanted you to know you are feeling the enormity of what all mothers feel. You're not alone. But you have expressed yourself so sweetly. Glad I ran across this. You took me back to a special moment in time with your loveliness.. :)

<3 <3

Julie February 21, 2012 at 6:05 PM  

Your post is so transparent, and honest--it has true value. I can relate with everything you're saying. There's so many things that make being a new mom the most wonderful thing in the world, and then sometimes I think, "how did I get here?". It's hard when your identity in who you were completely changes and you are left floundering for you you really are. I used to be a teacher. Now I stay at home. That's a big enough change. Add to that an extremely dependent and emotional baby and I'm lost. Finding my identity in Christ, not as W's mom is so hard. I'm really thankful that my husband is so involved--most days when he comes home, I just hand her over, "here, I need a break/i need help/i need to do something else". Even if I sort of know what I'm doing now, i can't go five minutes without feeling selfish. Even right now, W is looking at me and demanding attention...but I'm online now! I want to do this, now! I justify, I rationalize,I make excuses--but the bottom line is that I've never felt more selfish on a daily basis now that I'm a mom. I'm also daily convicted of pride. Either pride in my child, or pride in myself. Pride in not wanting to fail or to be seen as anything but an adequate mom. Pride in comparing myself or family to others; or even just defaulting to pride because that's better than humiliation. Those are my recent thoughts/feelings/convictions. Thanks for sharing yours, it makes me feel not so alone. :)

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