I am used to excelling at school and at work. I am used to being the one who figures it out early, who is ahead of the curve. But when it comes to motherhood it seems the only thing I’ve done exceptionally well is design my son’s nursery — which would mean something if he actually spent time in it (sigh).
All this to say, I have really struggled in this first year. My pride has taken a blow and self-doubt has become a somewhat familiar feeling. Things that I knew cerebrally: that parenting is not a competition and that life is a marathon and not a sprint — have become my ‘gut truths’ and my northern stars.
Here are 5 parenting duties that I’ve struggled with…
Cracked and bleeding nipples, low milk supply, and the 24/7 time commitment, breastfeeding tops my list of things that were waaay harder than I ever imagined they’d be. There were moments when I felt I was living a nightmare. Would I recommend it? Yes. But if you choose to breastfeed, go into it knowing the challenges, and setting up your support system. I highly recommend an extra set of hands around the house to help out while you get the hang of things.
2. Keeping my Child Entertained
Noah wants to play with me… all. the. time. I have given up the dream (fantasy?) of finding the ‘holy grail’ toy that will keep him occupied for an hour at a time. Honestly, I don’t think it exists. In his waking hours, he wants mommy to play with him, and to watch him play, and to talk to him while he’s playing, and to take him on outings and to throw him up in the air a million times while he squeals. Sound exhausting? Well it is.
3. Keeping my Child Clean
These Johnson and Johnson commercials are mad misleading yo. Maybe I’m putting myself on blast with this confession: But my son smells more like pee and house dust than fresh, soapy bubbles. Why? Because he is peeing all the time, and getting dusty all the time. Also general grooming — things like clipping his nails and brushing his teeth — those are a daily struggle. Noah should know by now that every day I will change his clothes, brush his teeth, moisturize his hair… but every day it is new to him and he resists it ferociously.
4. Keeping my Child’s Crib Clean
I wash Noah’s sheets almost every. damn. day. He’s sleeping through the night now and the sheets are almost always wet in the morning. If you know of a super-absorbent, overnight diaper that will keep the crib dry, please let me know (seriously! please do!) Because I am afraid his blankies are going to disintegrate from the constant washing!
5. Changing a Poopy Diaper
Have you ever tried to change a shit-filled diaper while your child kicked, rolled and squealed? Yes, it is as messy and gross as it sounds. And yes, the poop does get everywhere…
So there you have it. I am hopeful that things will get easier (is that even realistic?) as times goes by. In the meanwhile I am surviving on a wing and a prayer!
Ladies, what aspects of motherhood turned out to be more challenging than you expected? And I want to hear from mommies at all stages — the baby stage, the toddler stage, the child stage, the teenage stage! Give us a heads up for what’s to come!