I never truly knew myself until I had kids. The sheer amount of patience, responsibility, exhaustion, sadness, anger, stress, happiness, love, and pretty much any and every emotion possible, goes through me on a daily basis. My first born is just over three, and I also have a six-month-old. At times, life is just plain tough. I have a very type A personality (basically OCD) and therefore I like things to be very structured. I joke that I function better with organized chaos instead of just chaos. You will never see piles of laundry in my home, or dishes in my sink (unless I’m asleep and my husband is in the kitchen). But that’s just who I am. It really can be both a blessing and a curse, as I have a hard time relaxing and just letting things “go with the flow”.
Having one child was hard at times, but also easy in the overall grand scheme of things. Since having our second baby though, things have been so much more challenging for me. I always felt like I would want a big family with lots of kids (as in three or more), but truthfully, nowadays it’s more like me begging my husband to go get a vasectomy. I truly admire the moms I see in the grocery store who have 3+ kids. I honestly cannot even imagine how overwhelming that must be at times. I applaud those moms and wish that they would share whatever wisdom they have with moms like me.
You never know what battles another mom is fighting
This brings me to my point. We never know what another mother is struggling with. For instance, when you see a mom who looks so happy, has four kids, or maybe two, the truth is that you don’t know what internal struggles she is having. She may look happy, but she may also be battling postpartum depression, or just feeling very blue. Lately, when out and about, I try to look at every woman with kids and wonder what her challenges are as a mom.
Being a mother is very rewarding, and I love my baby girls so much it actually hurts, but of course there are moments when things suck, I’m having a hard day, and opening a beer at noon doesn’t sound too bad. I know I’m not the only mom who feels this way. Whether you have one child or four, whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, like myself, or you’re a mom who works full time. You still face challenges because that’s a big part of being a parent.
You wake up thinking…maybe my toddler won’t have a tantrum because I won’t let her eat chocolate for breakfast, and while that thought is great for about ten minutes, the reality soon sets in and low and behold, your toddler does just that. If you are reading this and don’t feel like you have any challenges yet, then just wait until you have a three-year-old.
The pressures of society
I feel like society, family, and even strangers, tend to push people to have more children and quite honestly, it’s just not right. You may see a beautiful family with one child, but not know that they had to go through four rounds of IVF just to have that baby. You don’t know the underlying emotions that go along with that. Or imagine a scenario in which a mom begins to deal with postpartum depression after the birth of her second child. Imagine that it is so bad that she doesn’t even want to hold her baby, her marriage is suffering, and all she wants to do is lay in bed and cry. Yet one day while out, someone asks when she is going to have a third baby. This question, although not asked with bad intentions, can bring up a whole range of emotions in her.
If a woman is pushed into having more children by her husband, family, or anyone really, it takes away any sense of feeling like she has a choice in this huge decision. I don’t think men (and some women) will ever truly understand what it takes mentally to be a MOM. The number of times we have to fight off bursting into tears, or having to calm ourselves because our patience is worn so thin that we feel like we are about to burst. So yes, I’m done asking other moms if they want more kids, and I truly hope no one ever feels the need to tell me to have more.
Being able to write about this helps me immensely; it truly is therapy when you can vocalize your feelings and know that you’re not alone.