Motherhood is Hard, But it Doesn’t Have to Be THAT Hard

Image

I ran across an article online yesterday that struck a chord in me.  It was from the Huffington Post, titled “24 Clear Signs You’re A Mom”.  Basically, it’s a running list of 24 ‘You know you’re a Mom if…” statements.  Some of them I found humorous.  Others really hurt to read.

I think it’s because motherhood is portrayed (as it often is in our culture) as a totally out-of-control time of life.  Becoming a mother basically means you lose all rights to privacy, boundaries, and sanity.  Your kids are going to rule the house and run the show and, let’s face it… sometimes those little people are plain maniacs.

Reading through the list made me realize.  No wonder people are scared of having kids nowadays.  No wonder choosing not to have children is so in vogue.  I mean, can you really blame them?  When it’s presented to them like this…?

Once the kids arrive, you won’t sleep, rest, feel ‘caught-up’, get to go out anymore, shower alone, eat on time, have a clean house, have any sort of love life, or decide what to watch ever again…’  Oh, but it’s so worth it.

Oh, really?  Why?  And how?  Especially when it’s advertised so… convincingly?

The good news is, though it often is that way…  It doesn’t have to be.  I’m a firm believer that you can teach your children to be considerate, pleasurable company.  It just takes enforced boundaries, patience in training them, and a whole lot of love and joy.  This rubs off marvelously.

Life with littles also doesn’t have to be a life of chaos.  Learn to organize yourself and teach your little ones to help you.  Make them pick up those toys.  Teach them to complete their own mini to-do-lists.  It teaches diligence, enforces a good work ethic, and is a life skill that will serve them well no matter where they end up in life.

So below, I’ve included my response to all 24 ‘Signs’.  I call it the Organized (Christian) Mom’s Response.

1. Instead of running from projectile vomit, you run towards it.

This is totally true and made me smile.  I remember admiring my Mom’s super-human powers of not puking herself as she cleaned our childhood messes.  I remember doubting that I’d ever be able to do that for my children.  But you know what?  When the time comes and it’s your children, you step up to the plate and… it’s not that bad.  Thankfully, flu season is not the norm for motherhood, so it’s hardly representative.

2. You do more in seven minutes than most people do all day.

Isn’t that thinking a bit too highly of yourself?  Taking care of my kids is my job.  There’s a lot to be juggled, undeniably.  However, I know my husband also juggles a lot.  He works very hard to provide for us every day, so it’s not like either of us is vacationing.

3. Happy hour has become the 60 minutes between your kids going to bed and you going to bed.

I won’t deny that the time between my kids going to bed and when I do is a special time usually spent with my husband.  If you’re good with enforcing bedtimes, it’s a great, low-stress time to catch up with each other, enjoy some popcorn and a Netflix, or just drink some hot chocolate together while you read separately on the couch.  Of course, if I didn’t have children, it’s not like I’d be doing that all day anyway.  Our evenings would probably still look pretty similar after a long day’s work, whatever that work might be.

4. A night of drinking requires more recovery time than minor surgery.

Okay… easy fix.  Don’t get drunk.  There are plenty of healthier and more rejuvenating recreational activities you can enjoy without turning into the proverbial (as in Proverbs’) fool.

5. A glass of wine counts as a serving of fruit.

Um… why?  I mean, I like a glass of wine with dinner on occasion, but wine is for making the heart glad (Psalm 104:15) after a good day’s work.  My life is not so desperate that I need it to survive.  If so, something needs to change.  And why not just eat fruit for your serving of fruit?  It’s not that hard.  Put it in the menu plan, buy healthy snacks, have them available, and then eat those.

6. You have mini-therapy sessions all day long with anyone who will listen.

Okay, something’s wrong here.  Just what is so hard about your life that you need all-day-long therapy (complaining) sessions?  C’mon, girls.  Let’s change our attitudes about our responsibilities and start rejoicing in the many, many blessings we have been given.  These years with littles in our home won’t last forever.  Treasure them.  Rejoice in them.  Take nothing for granted.

7. Going to the grocery store by yourself is a vacation.

Granted, it is much easier to focus on shopping without the littles along, so the occasional shopping trip alone may seem like quite the treat.  Of course, bringing them along can also be a fun experience (if they are fed, well-rested, and well-trained).  You can teach them about the world as you go and you get to show off what adorable children you have to the rest of society.  😉

8. You can experience heaven and hell at the same time.

One word: Childbirth.  Been there, done that… twice.

9. You think of physical pain on three levels: pain, excruciating pain and stepping on a Lego.

Okay, I know that lego thing is popular now, but you don’t have to live in a home overrun by a thousand lego pieces just because you have children.  Here’s a thought…  Have them pick them all up!  If they’re too young to pick up their legos after them, they’re probably too young to be playing with them.  (Read more about how I keep toy chaos under control)

10. You have the ability to hear a sneeze through closed doors in the middle of the night, two bedrooms away, while your SO snores next to you.

(SO means Significant Other, for those who didn’t get that).  This is true.  I wake up when my children cough and my husband never does.  On the flip side, if something suspicious goes ‘bump’ in the night, it’s my husband who will jump up to defend us all, whereas I’m much more likely to continue sleeping.

 11. You’d rather have a 103 degree fever than watch one of your kids suffer with it.

Probably true.  Movie and couch day for us all!

12. You’d rather go to sleep than have sex.

Although I must confess to this being true on occasion (life is exhausting sometimes!), I also feel that it’s a responsibility of ours to see to our marriage as well as our children.  My friend Valerie has a great series on this topic (Becoming the Sexy Wife)

13. A 15-minute shower with the door locked feels like a day at the spa.

Personally, I have always taken my showers alone just by waking up before my kids do.  Teaching your kids to wait to get out of bed until you come and get them (post on that topic yet to come) is hugely helpful in establishing a predictable wake time in the morning (and not worrying whether they’re up and roaming the house while you shower).

14. Peeing with an audience is part of the daily routine.

If your kid is young enough to need to be under your supervision while you use the bathroom, what’s the big deal?  Your baby’s not going to care.  On the other hand, teaching your older ones to wait patiently outside until you’re done is a great step toward teaching them some common courtesy.  Unless you have three kids under three (and I suppose that’s not impossible), there’s no need to have a complete audience.  The kids can wait outside until you’re done.

15. You use baby wipes to clean up random spills and the dash of your car.

Yes!  Motherhood definitely keeps us prepared for anything.

16. You lock yourself in the bathroom and pretend to have diarrhea just to get a break.

Or…  you could say to your children (who are old enough to be locked out of the bathroom) “Leave me alone for a few moments because Mommy need a break.  If you cannot obey, then you will need to play alone in your room for a while.”  Put a movie on if you’re desperate enough.

17. You love Moms’ Night Out and Date Night with the Hubs.

I love Date Night.  Of course, I loved Date Night even before we had kids.  Why is this a Mom thing?

18. You have a secret chocolate stash because frankly, you’re sick of sharing.

Guilty.

19. You’ve been washing the same load of laundry for three days because you forgot to dry it.

This is a side effect of disorganization (or a unique life crisis) not of motherhood.  After all, I’m more caught up with laundry with two kids than I ever was before I had children.  Read my Conquering the Laundry post.

20. You realize you’ve been watching Nick Jr. alone, even though your kids have been in bed for over 30 minutes.

This has never been my problem.  After the kids go down, it’s Husband/Wifey time!  Those minutes must not be wasted.

21. You can cook dinner, breastfeed, talk on the phone and yell at the kids, all without breaking stride or missing any of the TV show you are watching.

Or… you could turn off the TV and focus on baby while you breastfeed.  Then set him down in the kitchen with some toys and make dinner while not yelling at your children.  If the phone rings, answer it and get back to what you were doing.  Is that TV show so important that it’s worth sacrificing the peace of your home?

22. You get more excited about the Mini Boden Catalogue than J Crew’s.

Being the frugalista that I am, I don’t look at either.  If Goodwill had a catalogue, I’d look at that.

23. You decide to stick with your car for the next decade because a) you can’t afford to switch and b) you haven’t found a car wash that knows how to get all the milk stains and glitter removed.

Or you could enforce a Water-Only rule in the car and not allow hazardous things (like glitter) to be carried by unreliable caretakers.  And not being able to afford another car is a Budgeting problem, not a Motherhood one.

24. By the end of the day, brushing your teeth feels like a huge accomplishment.

This is often true, but is just a sign of a productive and hard-working day.  Motherhood is hard work, and you should be proud of all you’ve accomplished today… teeth brushing included.

And that, my friends, is how a girl can have two kids, not be overwhelmed, and still desire more.  Let’s overcome chaos one bit at a time and learn to rejoice in our children while we have them.  Motherhood is a gift, not a curse.  Let’s think of it as such.

28 thoughts on “Motherhood is Hard, But it Doesn’t Have to Be THAT Hard

  1. amy says:

    Awww, no one has commented yet? I want to know what others think. Surely no one can argue with your comments! I thought this article was great and spot on! Society seriously needs to get with the program and know that children are a blessing NOT a hindrance. Come on, people!

  2. Jillian says:

    Everything you said is exactly how I feel! I have 2 children and I manage to shower everyday and sleep 8 hours a night. I love being a mother and yes it is trying sometimes but with organization and a rountine it doesn’t have to be. I love your blog and look forward to your emails. Thanks for letting me know there are other people who feel the same way I do.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with you on all comments! And yes it is nice to hear others in the same boat – it just takes a little organization, goal setting, and staying in the “most always magical” present moment :).

  4. Tricia Regar says:

    I just posted a list of my favorite mommy bloggers, and guess what? You made the cut. 😉 http://littlehouseinthehills.blogspot.com/2013/11/five-on-friday.html

  5. Amanda says:

    While there are pleanty of those “you’re a mom if…” lists out there that are humorously true, in general I am just so saddened by the view on motherhood! No one said it is easy, but that doesn’t mean that it is hell on earth, and that seems to be what most of my peers think childrearing to be 🙁 God is a God of order, and I believe He calls us to run our homes in an orderly way. Maybe there just aren’t enough good examples for young women to be following now a days, so they have no idea how to do it. By the way, it would never even occur to my kids to get out of bed without being gotten. It can be done (and it was not hard!). And thanks for number 6!!

  6. Maybe the article was targeted at women who also work outside of the home? Maybe the relative ease with which stay-at-home mothers organize their homes has to do with a lack of that split commitment that brings with it all sorts of additional complications. I’ve told my husband that I think one of the main reasons most modern women fear being at home with their children full-time is that there is no job-training. In their current positions in the world, they’ve studied, been instructed, and have been found qualified before they begin their occupations. In the past, young girls would go to live with other women to learn the art of homemaking. After that went out of fashion, churches still had women’s meetings whereat homemaking sessions were common. Now, there are mom’s groups where mothers get together and, as far as I can tell, whine and/or pontificate sanctimoniously to one another. Lol, I’m being unkind. Still, in all the places we’ve lived (six states since our first son), I’ve never found a well-structured, Christian women’s group established primarily for the purpose of educating and qualifying future homemakers. I think, duplicated, that would begin to fix the cultural cancer that is so poetically expressed by the Chinese in the acronym DINK (dual-income-no-kids). 😉

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      I think that’s definitely a huge part of it! I was blessed enough to grow up surrounded by good role models and great homemakers but still never had any formal training or much practice beforehand. My later teen years were so full of nursing school and homework, I hardly did any housework or cooking at all! When I did get married, I had the desire to be a good wife and mother, but had to learn most of the skills on my own. For example, I had no idea that vacuums had bags that needed emptying until mine just exploded on me one day. 😉 Of course, I learned a lot by purposely reading and researching the topic. I think part of the problem is that people think homemaking ‘just happens’ naturally instead of looking at it as a skill to be learned. Also, I think many people think chaos is the NORM and can’t be overcome until the kids leave the home so they quit trying, even though that has not become culturally ‘normal’ until very recently. Thanks for reading and commenting, Shay!

      • Jennifer says:

        Wow, I didn’t know you were a nurse! The more I read, the more I like you!!

        • I'm Kelsey! says:

          Haha! Well, thanks! I got my degree shortly after I got married. Then I found out I was pregnant and started teaching piano lessons where I actually got paid more per hour AND got to stay home with my baby. It’s nice to have now, but if I were to do it all over again I probably wouldn’t have spent all those years getting it. That’s okay. Live and learn. No regrets. 🙂

  7. Jennifer says:

    So, I can’t necessarily weigh in on this topic as we don’t have kids (yet….still praying…). But I think your reactions are right on par. I know mothers of both kinds – the ones with chaos all through their houses (and undisciplined children as a result) and the ones who seem to have it “all together.” I hope to someday be a mother with the same reason and grace that you seem to have.

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      As long as you’re always trying to learn more, have your priorities straight, and look to honor God in everything, you’ll do just fine! Thanks for reading, Jennifer! I’m glad to have you along.

  8. Christy says:

    Laughing and loving this post all at the same time!! Thank you for this!

  9. Women need to hear what you have to share in this article. So many believe the lies that the world has to say. It’s very sad. So many times I hear, “I could never do what you are doing.” One child at a time is what God gave me, and we grew as a family. Now sometimes we think we’re missing one because it’s peaceful (not necessarily quiet) and yet everyone is together.

  10. Shelley says:

    YES!!! Thank you for writing this. I saw this go viral on facebook and wondered if it was scaring childless people. I think it is concerning when women say they don’t have time for showers (this is a strange frequent complaint). While it is hard to have the time you had alone before kids, it is not impossible to budget that time in to the schedule in creative ways! Also, my husband says dad’s should be encouraged to help their wives find a way to shower before 11am. Moms are people, too, and smelling fresh/feeling fresh is important for everyone! My husband would go to work VERY early in the morning (before I cared to get up and take a shower) but he encouraged me to make it a priority during the week (so if the baby was sleeping, take a shower before checking email) because he knows I feel better afterward, and on the weekends he made sure I could have showers alone. It can be done!!!

  11. Sarah says:

    Loved this. :). I’ve never really thought of those lists as a bad light on motherhood but as I look at it now, it does look that way. For me motherhood was not fun when I had my first but the Lord was teaching me dying to self. When you start doing that and truly loving your kids it makes life with them pleasant. Not to mention the need to raise them right. Taking my oldest (4) to the store isfun. He always wants to browse the toy section but never begs for them we look and go oooo but he’s been trained we don’t get toys every time we go to the store ( we never buy him gifts when he’s with us) :). Our 3 year old is getting more pleasent. As my mom has told me. THe first 5 years can be the hardest but train them right and it only gets easier each year. I’m seeing it already with the oldest. And I LOVE having this family. 🙂

  12. happygirl43 says:

    LOL, I’m not a mom and even I enjoy your articles! 🙂

  13. I know this is an old post, but I just found your blog and this is my fav. post so far! I completely agree, motherhood like most of life is what you make it.

Ooh, a comment! I LOVE comments!