It’s 6:15 AM. I am fast asleep with a pillow over my head trying to block out the sound of rain when I hear my bedroom door slam twice and then crying, my wide eyed toddler running toward me.
I scoop her up into bed with me and as happy as I am to actually see her, the thought first enters my mind. I don’t want to mom today. Not right now, anyway.
She finds my phone and asks for a “whoa” (which is “show” in toddler speak). I whip out the PBS kids app as fast as I can and let her watch two episodes of Daniel Tiger to tide me over while I slowly wake up.
There are some days that I just don’t want to “mom.” I’ve beaten myself up about this phe-mom-enom for my entire motherhood career. I think things like, “I should feel so lucky to be a mom, and just enjoy it.” I bash myself for, what it comes down to, simply being human.
While being a mom is a lot more than just a job title, once I started to look at it as a job and an actual role I have and not my entire identity like I’ve sometimes come to do, it makes a lot more sense. Do all people with actual jobs to go to and fancy job titles love every second of their job? Or do they have days where they dread work too? Of course, it’s the latter.
I remember far too well my last job and how much I did not love it. It was a means to an end for me. I wasn’t working in the field I wanted to be in, I was underpaid, and really serving as two roles lumped together as one. There were a lot of expectations about my job that weren’t made clear in my first interview or even when I was trained. From an employment standpoint, I often felt I got the short end of the stick and felt very undervalued.
I was more than okay with letting myself hate that job sometimes. So why do I beat myself up so much for not being chipper to wake up at 6 AM with a toddler who has enough energy for the whole household?
On days I don’t want to “mom,” I remind myself that I’m first human and selfish. I am a sinner and struggle with the push and pull of wanting to put myself first in some areas but having to by default put myself last in a lot of situations. While it was sort of understood that this would happen upon becoming a mom, this is definitely an area that wasn’t addressed that well for me in the “job interview” for becoming a mom, which doesn’t exist. But in my head before becoming a mom, I thought I knew what to expect and I set myself up for failure by having any preconceived notions about what motherhood was truly like.
The job of motherhood has been shocking to my core. I don’t say this to scare anyone out of doing it, but to say that I was a know-it-all who thought I could handle and wear motherhood well. At times, I’m sure I do. But the moments where I am struggling in motherhood stand out the most and wear me down to my core. The struggles aren’t what’s so hard though. It’s the bitterness I feel toward myself for not loving every second of booger wiping, crumb sweeping, and listening to the Daniel Tiger theme song for the 100th time.
The last thing I want to be is bitter about the beautiful gift that is motherhood, 6 AM (and 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 AM) wake up calls and all. Motherhood is hard in that it is relentless and can feel so never-ending. But when I sit back and assess who I really am, “mom” is just one of the many roles I have, but not the only role.
On days I don’t want to mom and I wake up grumpy, just wishing I could have had a cup of coffee in peace before the day begins, I simply tell myself “It’s okay to not want this right now.” And I breathe. I’m better off acknowledging how I really feel than trying to shut it out, negative or not. I let myself feel my feelings, if you will. And then I move on, just like I would if I was at work. I have to go on with the day.
It’s easy to let the feelings of annoyance or despair take over, and that’s ultimately what the enemy wants. To distract me by unhappiness or something I think I can’t change. It’s much more powerful for me to say “Yes, I feel this way. That is okay (although it’s not necessarily good). I need to do this anyway and do it with more grace.”
I’m not perfect at keeping myself together as a mom at all times, but letting myself be okay with not loving every second of motherhood has helped me so much. For someone who deals with anxiety, perfectionism, & who also stays home for hours on end with my daughter all day, giving myself permission to not be a “perfect mom” all the time is more than refreshing.
If you struggle with enjoying motherhood and feel like the struggles of it all feel so much heavier than the joys – you are not alone. It’s okay to admit that you don’t love it all to another mom friend – and most importantly to yourself. The days are hard, but no one is better cut out to do this than you, mama.