My eldest is about to turn 11. 11! I know. I KNOW.
Where does that time go?
I have no idea. Just like I have no idea how I bought a bunch of bananas yesterday, and now they’re all gone. No one admits to eating them, so I’m currently checking under the couches to see if a monkey has taken up residence.
But when I think about the last 11 years, I have some sunny news to tell you.
Mom life is hard, as you’re no doubt finding out if you’re new to this game. And as they grow, it is still hard, just in different ways.
Oh, but when you look back like I am right now at my big girl, you see less of the strife, and you see all those precious moments. You feel it warm in your heart.
Yes, there is hope, my dear mamas. But before I get fully into that, I have to share with you why mom’s life is so dang hard.
What is the hardest part of being a mom?
Before I lay this all out, I want you to know that I sat with a pen and paper writing this list first. I messaged some other mom friends for input, and that’s how I came up with what you’re about to read.
Please know that there are many struggles ahead of you as a mom. And they do not end when your children turn 18, as my parents would like me to remind you that they constantly worry about me even at my age.
So, get ready for the challenges that lie ahead, but remember, not every day is going to be a struggle. Some days, you’re going to feel like you’re on top of the world. Other days, you’re going to wish it would swallow you up.
Lack of proper sleep
Now that my youngest daughter is nearly 8, I can finally sleep again. Actually, I noticed a couple of years ago that I was truly getting what would be considered a sound sleep by medical experts.
But when the girls were young? Ha! Sleep was like an elusive unicorn.
And I’d better enjoy it from what my friends with teens tell me. Because once they start driving and being more independent, I’m told I’ll be up all night waiting to make sure they’re home safe.
Feeling guilty all the time
Well, this one still happens regularly. I try to do something to help my kids, and I get shamed for it. Either by an outside source or by my own kids. “You let her buy a new shirt but not me!” Yes, because hers is ripped, that’s why! But no, it falls on deaf ears.
It’s hard, but stop feeling guilty. You can’t please everyone, and you’ll only make yourself nuts wondering if you could have or should have done something else.
If I didn’t have a calendar, I’d forget everything I was supposed to do. I mean it. Mom brain will make you crazy like that. Just this week, I swore it was Friday on Wednesday. Then I couldn’t remember if my eldest had a leadership meeting after school or not. I wound up emailing her teacher.
Give yourself a break when you’re trying to make schedules, and remember, you do not have to say yes to everything. And for important things, put them in your calendar. Use a calendar that works for you, whether it’s an organizer, something on your phone, or even a wall calendar.
All those sacrifices
It first starts with your hot body being turned into a carnival funhouse. It took me time to get mine back and a lot of hard work. But that’s just one sacrifice you make when you have kids.
You can’t just up and go somewhere when you’re a mom unless you arrange for someone to care for the kids or take them along with you. Not until they’re teens. And when they are, my friends with teens tell me you’re always worried they’re going to burn down the house or have questionable friends over.
It’s easy to look at the negatives here, and while it’s sometimes infuriating not to be able to pee without an audience, the joys of being a mom do outweigh these sacrifices. You just may not be able to see them clearly when you’re in the moment. And if that’s the case, you need a break (read my post about that here!).
Making all those meals
Most mamas I know are in charge of the family meals. My husband does help out on occasion, especially if he’s craving a dish from his homeland. However, most moms have this added chore to deal with. And the shopping that goes with it.
Once your kids are big enough, get ready for them to sigh heavily over all the things you’ve bought in hopes of feeding them. “Ugh…MOM! Chicken? Again? Ughhhh.”
There are days that you will just want to crawl into the oven yourself just to get away. But remember this…there is takeout, and while it’s getting more and more expensive, sometimes it’s for the greater good if you order out for one night.
Shouldering all the blame
Did you forget to pack a snack? Did you go to the store to stock up for the week only to get home and realize you forgot toilet paper? Did you not read everyone’s mind for what was missing from the cabinets? Ah, you must be a mom! Welcome!
I have to be in charge of everything, it seems, and I’m guessing you feel the same. Yeah, it’s always our fault when things go wrong. Remember to point out that when things go right, which does often happen too, you deserve the credit.
Having to do it all
If you work a job on top of being a mom, you may feel even more of this hardship. Whether you commute down the highway or to your home office, you are expected to earn money AND care for the kids AND care for the house. Some husbands may be helpful with chores, and household things, but not every wife is this lucky.
On top of that, if you have a big career, you may feel more guilt because you’re missing out on those milestones, school events, and other things. Please don’t beat yourself up. You’re one amazing person who does so much. Even if you stay at home with the kids as you’re only job, you have to do so much too. Think about the successes you’ve had rather than dwelling on the negatives.
You’re usually the bad cop
My kids wanted to stay up a little later on a Friday night. I was done for the week, and all I wanted was to sit down, put my feet up, and have some wine with my husband while we watched a movie we’d been waiting to see. Then he declares they can stay up for 30 more minutes when they whine about getting ready for bed.
Yep, I’m the bad cop. And you probably are too. After they finally went to bed, I told my husband not to do that anymore and why. Once he realized how that primes them not to listen to me, he stopped doing it.
“Why did you breastfeed your kids for so long?” “Why do you let your children have sugar?” “You should do this.” “You should do that.” Do these statements sound familiar?
We all get judged for what we do or don’t do as moms. Everyone has an opinion. But you know what else everyone has? A butt. So, yeah. The bottom line (pardon the pun) is that some things work for some people but don’t work for others. You do you!
And the worst part of being a mom
I have to say that the hardest one is still there through all the stages I’ve been through with my kids so far. And that’s when either of them hurts. Whether it is a physical pain or emotional, it rips my heart out. From what I’m told, it never goes away. We have to learn to cope with it and stay strong for our little ones.
Mom Life is Hard Quotes You’ll Love
I hate to say it, but we will no longer be here one day, and our kids will have to go on without us. We can cuddle and love them now, but if we stay strong to hold them up in times of pain, they will remember it and learn to get through the rough stuff too.
Being a mother is not easy quotes seem to really resonate with all of us, so here are some to help you through these challenges.
I have been tired down to my bones. I feel it there, yet something inside rises up when my kids need me. And I use that extra strength to help them through. It’s a superpower I think we all gain when we become mamas.
This goes with what I was saying above. Some people will tell you that you’re not doing this or that right. But there’s more than one way to be a good parent, always remember that!
It will always make me laugh because it’s true. I think about my college self and how I lamented an 8 am lecture. Hahahaha! As a new mom, my mornings began at 5 am. Yes, it gets better…my kids no longer bother me when I’m sleeping in on weekends (and sleeping in now is until 8 am!).
It’s the last one I will leave you with. Life is tough, so tough, especially right now. We’re all hurting and struggling, but I am tougher, and so are you. Never give up that hope you have!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.