I don’t mean on a big picture, culture or society level – I just mean on a very day-to-day, tactical level. When you are pregnant, you really have no idea what’s ahead of you.
When you come home from the hospital with a newborn, it all seems so daunting and overwhelming! Then little by little, you get good at basic newborn care at home, and it starts to feel easy and normal.
Then, once you have the basic newborn stuff handled, you have to add on the difficulties of packing baby and belongings up to take her out of the house. I remember how difficult this was at first, especially by myself!
You get fairly accomplished at nursing, and then it’s time to learn how to pump and leave milk for baby (and hopefully teach baby how to take a bottle!) so you can get out of the house without baby for a few hours, or go back to work.
You get the routine for errands with baby down to an art form, and then you realize your maternity leave is rapidly drawing to a close so you now have to figure out how to keep doing all this basic baby care, PLUS now add on the challenge of getting out the door in the morning with all of your stuff for work AND all of baby’s stuff for daycare. That’s a rough one for a while!
Then, you finally get used to the working mom thing, and get into a regular pumping routine at work that seems pretty manageable, only to be assigned your first business trip as a new mom. That means you have to figure out how to pack for a trip, pump on the road, ship or bring back milk on ice, and survive without baby for a night (or more) – all the while leaving good instructions for baby’s caregiver while you’re gone.
You get the hang of packing bottles for baby in the morning before work, and then she graduates to solid food and you have to pack an actual lunch as well, thinking through healthy options with a protein, grains, veggies and fruit.
You realize you’re doing a good job at this parenting thing, and then suddenly your baby is a toddler with an independent mind and will of her own, and you REALLY have to learn to parent strategically in a whole new way.
Phew, it’s exhausting to think about when you break it all down like that. It all just adds up and adds up, and before you know it you’re an accomplished mom, doing things you never would have dreamed possible.
Motherhood is like that! You just keep doing more and more, taking it all on, rising to the challenges as they come, and getting better and better at it all as more is piled on.
I can see why moms go on to have second (or even more) kids. After a while, you get a bit hooked on the continually escalating role and challenges of motherhood. You start feeling like a superhero and think “sure, I can handle another one! I can handle anything!”
It’s true. We do a lot, and we really can handle anything! We not only do all of this, we thrive on it. We cherish the opportunity to take it all on. We embrace it. We are willing to do anything, absolutely anything, for our kids.
Have you stopped to give yourself a hand lately? Moms really do rock.
What do you think is the most challenging part of being a mom? And also, how on earth did our own moms make it all look so EASY?!