Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Reality Sometimes Bites

I was thinking about the previous post I had written and wondered what drove me to those insecure and freaked out spiraling out of control thoughts.

It all came down to the frustration that I can't have it all.

It made me wonder if others had the same thoughts.

Of course they do.

The women of my generation and the generations that came next were raised to believe they could have it all. We were raised by women who became mothers in an age where women were finally having it all. Women had choices. They didn't have to be stay at home housewives. They could be mothers and get out there rule the world.

What these women didn't tell us was that you really can't have it all.

Something always has to give.

The working career mother sits in her office and misses what's happening at home.

The stay at home mother sits in her living room and wonders what she's missing at the office.

The two income family wonders what to do when their childcare provider is sick.

The one income family wonders if they will ever afford a vacation.

The 19 year old mother holds her baby and wonders what she's missing out on.

The 36 year first time mother knows and sometimes she misses it.

One mother looks at her only child and imagines a life with more kids. If only she could have them.

Another mother looks at her household filled with kids and wishes for a break.

One mother gets stretched too thin while the other wishes she had more challenges.

We all do it. We all sit and wonder. We all dream. We all worry. We all face challenges.

That is motherhood. And no one tells you that going into it. No one warns you that even if you desperately wanted that child, there will be times you wish you could get in your car and speed away from them. That even if you choose to stay home, you will often question that choice. Or if you go back to work, you will think about what you might be missing out on at home.

No one tells you that you cannot have it all. Something will always have to give.

Be it time with the kids, time alone, money, the career, sleep, sanity.

Not one mother has it all.

Having it all is completely impossible.

More mothers need to talk about this. More mothers need to speak up and say that yes, the job is demanding. It's demanding and wonderful and amazing and awful and horrible, all at the same time. Mothers will always wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. It's part of being a woman. We're the ones who always ask the questions. We are always inside our heads, thinking, wondering, questioning.

And it's ok.

It's ok that we do that and it's ok that we look at our lives from time to time and sigh and wish we had it differently. And it's ok to make plans and dream. And it's ok to put those plans into action and make them real. And it's also ok to look at what we've done and wonder if we made the right choice. Do we continue to make the right choices?

There are good days and there are nightmarish days. The same hormones that help us bond with our children can turn on us and make us bitchy and irritable and make us seriously dislike our family for an evening.

Motherhood. Some days are awful with this job. The good news is there are more good days than bad days.

Motherhood. You cannot have it all with motherhood.

And if more women knew that going in, it would make their experience so much easier to handle.


Anonymous said...

This is why you are such a wonderful writer. How concise and succinct and poignant. Heartfelt. I've forwarded it to all the moms I know. Glad you're not feeling so bad today.

Dee said...

This should be required reading for all moms about to bring home a child. I know you get frustrated with your show and the lack of viewers, Mae. I don't think you realize how truly talented you are. I have a feeling TV is in your future. I'm usually right about these things. Just keep doing what you're doing, Mae. I have a feeling it will pay off. I'm always right about these things, so trust me!

Steph said...

I needed this post today more than you will ever know!! Thank you!

They dont tell you all these things before you become a mom.

Ive been on several ends of the spectrum (married, young, SAHM / single, working mom/ married, working mom/ and now.. married, SAHM who cant go out of the house due to germs and stupid insurance companies) and have spent tons of time thinking the grass was greener..

We do need to talk about this more, to get it out and let other mothers know they are not alone!

Tiffany said...

I love it. I love this blog and I love reading your beautiful words. I needed this tonight sitting in an airport and wondering, sad about what I'm missing at home. Thank you.

Mutha said...

Thank you all for posting. I don't get many readers. So when someone stops to tell me something I said had an impact on them, it really means a lot to me. It makes me realize that keeping this blog is totally worth the effort. Thank you!

Dee said...

Wow--completely on the mark with this one (then again, you're usually always on the mark, period!).

It's definitely a tough ride, and there are many aspects I miss, but some I don't. It's a tough line to toe, and your post should be required reading for all first-time moms, before L&D.

Sorry yesterday was such a crap day, we moms all have 'em, don't we? Thankfully, the good days outnumber them.

(P.S. The comment from "dee" above is not me, in case you were wondering--the only thing I'm ever right about is how frustrated my children will get me.)

Nat said...

Loved the last post, loving this one even more! Thank you! I read you everyday, and these words are why I come here. You've helped a new mom in this part of the world today... :o)))

tubelessstl said...

thank you so much for posting this. As a new mother of a 6 weeks old daughter, I am sick to my stomach knowing that this coming Monday I must go back to work. After spending years on fertility treatments and now domestic adoption, I must work. I don't want to, sure I could quit and go bankrupt, but I will not do that to my newly formed family. Sure, we will be able to still go camping next year with my income on top of husbands, but I will miss those days when my daughter makes those first milestones in her life. I will so miss her when I leave her at the sitters. OUCH. Thank you for writing this. I accept it and move forward knowing I can't have it all.

Anonymous said...

You are so right about all this. You have taken on a huge amount of work with two babies and there is no way you can be all for everyone. And you shouldn't. That's what makes kids resilient. They have to learn how to handle life's dissapointments. This is the best gift you can give them. Learn to let them take on what they can. Let them be independant as soon as they are capable of it. As a mom of older children I know that most of us feel guilty if we are not doing everything for our children. We do much more for them that they could do for themselves. (I was still dressing my oldest son at 6 for school, making their lunches until high school!) It is not in their best interest to baby them and not let them (or strongly encourage them) to take care of things that they can do. Three year olds are starting to be capable of doing more for themselves. Start out starting the zipper first and letting her zip up the rest of the way. Then have her lay the jacket on a table and practice zipping without wearing the jacket. (the accidents are probably related to all the changes in her life over the past few months) The babies are going to be tough for the first couple years. It gets so much easier. I promise!! Once they can play more together they will be easier. Hang in there, staying home is so worth it. You will have great kids. They will all be in school before you know it. The time just flies.

Dianna said...

You know how to make a pregnant woman cry! I agree with everything you've written, beautifully written as well!

Before finding out this little boy is on his way, I was planning on studying next year because I just feel so redundant. I look at old highschool friends and see that I'm only one of the few who have had children. They're off exploring the world, working amazing jobs, doing new things. And I'm at home making sure an almost 4 year old doesn't crush the dog. I feel so embarrassed telling people I'm a SAHM. I know I shouldn't be but I am.

Now the study will be put off for another year and I don't know how I am with that just yet. I know that with a newborn I won't be in the right place to study but I want to. I so want to. I can't have it all and I need to realise that.

I am so sorry for the rambling comment. I'm a bit emotional today.

Mutha said...

Dianna you did not ramble. You and everyone else summed it up so beautifully. We all struggle with our insecurities and our problems. We often don't talk about them with others. So sometimes we look at other people's lives and wonder why are WE the only ones with these problems? Everyone has them. We just don't want to let our guard down, for fear of people thinking we are weak or not good mothers.

CallieA said...

A quote I've always liked is, "You can have it all, just not all at once." :)

Kitty said...

Everything you've said in this entry is absolutely true. Some days are tougher than others, and too many moms beat up on themselves and think they're doing a craptastic job or just muddling through. I wish there was less competition between parents (which I totally don't get) and more sharing of honest experience. Yeah, I'm a pollyanna.

Jenn NMD :o) said...

Dead on the mark! Thank you!

We do need to talk more about it and we must learn to be less critical of the choices of others. Not only do we spend time thinking the grass is greener, we constantly question if we made the right matter which decision we made.

Katrina said...

every mom needs to read this. thank you for this. i really really needed it.