Over breakfast on Sunday, I admitted to Cody that I’m not entirely sure I was ever meant to be a parent. Sure, I have managed to keep two kids alive and fairly healthy over the last nine years, but it doesn’t seem enough to qualify me as a “good mom.” Parenting and motherhood have never come easily for me. In fact, there are times I want nothing more than to run away from all of it and start over. Part of me has always envied the women who seem to take to motherhood so naturally, and I’ve used their example to model my behavior — so I at least look the part. But there are things they do that I will never be able to do.
One of the biggest gut punches to my maternal confidence was when several women who were pregnant at the same time as me, or even after me, came up pregnant again. Here I was chugging along, congratulating myself for making it through another week with a toddler (who is still called the baby in this house) and people were adding even more humans to their already full schedule. If you were to hand me a baby right now (or even a positive pregnancy test) I would go running for the hills in hysteric sobs. Most days I’m barely hanging on, and I hang on for the two little girls I already have and their dad, who deals with all of us on a daily basis.
If I’ve learned one thing about parenting in the digital age, it’s that we have to be really careful about what we say regarding our jobs as parents. If you’re having a bad day, there will always be someone to tell you how lucky you are to even have kids. If you’re having a great day, there will always be someone accusing you of glossing over the ugly parts for traffic or personal gain. Even ignoring the immediate response we get from social media, the things we write and post about our kids now will be around forever. In some ways that could be comforting, I know when I talk to my mom now about wanting to eat my young she laughs and says “Oh! I never felt that way!” when I know that is a total lie. I think 30 years of selective memory has her only remembering the good bits. If I could just hear her say “There were some days it was absolute misery, and I wondered what I had done with my life.” I would feel a little better, because clearly she made it through just fine, and my sister and I came out unscathed by the days that were really hard for her.
Lately it feels as though I am constantly in mid-stumble, staying upright enough to catch myself once the little girls are in bed and I have my personal space back. I wouldn’t say every day is terrible, but most of them have been a struggle for me. Perhaps it’s been the terribly long, cold winter — being stuck inside for weeks on end doesn’t do anyone any good. But I know this, I want my girls to see me enjoying motherhood, and I do my best to be what they need — but some days are really hard for me and have been since I brought my first baby home over 9 years ago. Not because there’s anything wrong with my children, but because I’ve always felt like motherhood is something I have to work much harder at than some other people.
Maybe you understand, and I hope you do. As natural as motherhood seems, sometimes motherhood doesn’t come easily — and that’s okay. As long as we’re all doing the best we can and remembering to take care of ourselves, everyone will turn out just fine in the end. They have to.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.