The Paradoxes of Motherhood

By Mary Beth Fogarty, MSW

You are a mom.  You’re happy.  You’re sad.  You’re up.  You’re down.  You feel alone and sad, but are totally in love with your little ones.    They bring you joy and happiness, but at times you feel depressed.  You move and go and do and clean and play, but are utterly exhausted underneath.  Your exhaustion fuels your frustration and stress.  Feelings of being overwhelmed consume you to the point that maybe you shut down.  Here you are in the pinnacle of your life with a family of your own, yet you are reminded of issues from the past; some positive leading to a sense of resentment of what is no longer and some negative leading to feelings of regret.

Then the compound guilt and shame sets in for having any negative feelings at all when you are so grateful for so much.

I am here to tell you I hear you, I see you, I get it, and you are NOT alone.

Being a mom is a beautiful feeling and carries an incredible purpose in life.  But often, we lose sight of that purpose in the day-to-day.  Sometimes our purpose in motherhood also tends to camouflage who we are as individuals.  Forgetting who we are can cause feelings of inferiority and feelings of isolation.

Isolation is detrimental.  Though it’s common to want to be alone in those moments.  Connection brings healing.  Connection occurs with vulnerability.  Being vulnerable is scary.  But it’s often a key way out of our destructive minds.  We need each other.

Motherhood is HARD!  It is wonderful and special and precious!  But it is also so hard!

Your attention is split constantly.  Holding a full, complete thought is often impossible.  A whole day can go by and though a few things were done here and there, it feels like you did nothing all day.  Though the truth is you were the MOST PRODUCTIVE you have ever been by caring for your family and home!  Caring for things such as cleaning your toddler’s butt, underwear, and potty after he semi-went in the pot and some not.  Then again, because he realized after putting on the new underwear that he had to go again (a little too late). Round two ensues, while you have groceries strewn about the kitchen with seconds to spare before you can get your crock-pot meal together in time for it to actually be ready by 6pm because you can NOT eat out again!  Later, your toddler comes to you with poop on his hands because you forgot to clean some of it from the bottom of the potty and more cleaning takes place.  This is Motherhood.  It’s oh so wonderful… and oh so hard!

Added to this truth is the fact that Motherhood today is not the same as it used to be.  In addition to the stress of your home, you are confronted with the stress of the outside world on a moment by moment basis!  Social media has been a great outlet, especially for stay-at-home moms to have a connection with the world when they are house-ridden most of the time, day in day out. BUT that same connection has just added to the stress.  From comparing yourself to the “happy” posts you see of others on Facebook (not really knowing there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that we don’t see), to the second-by-second tweets of opinions, “thoughts”, and news.  Then there’s the constant pressure to do more, to be more.  Start a business, a blog, a ministry, a book, etc.  You are not expected to just be a mom anymore.  Let me expose the fallacy of that last statement.   You are NOT “just” a mom!  YOU ARE A MOM!  The most important job in the world!

“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” 

~William Ross Wallace

Every step you take and move you make impacts the life of these littles for their future. Thankfully, they are also very resilient and bounce back quickly even through the many mistakes we make as parents. So don’t worry too much.

But my point is YOU MATTER.  BIG TIME!  What you do day in, day out, however mundane it may feel to you, MATTERS!

You are NOT a failure.

You are NOT weak.

You are NOT hopeless.

This is a season.  Motherhood is a season.  A long season of love that lasts beyond when our children become adults.  But this time of go, go, go, OR slow, slow, slow-depending on the ages of your children- is all but a season.

There is so much purpose in who you are and what you do.  Take heart and remember, too, that this time is only preparing for you the next life phase, whenever that shall unfold.  Let’s not rush it.    That purpose will come in its timing.  But for now bask in the purpose of motherhood.  The world needs you!

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