Why It's Hard | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why It's Hard

My mom sent me an interesting article about blogging a while ago.  It highlighted "mommy blogging" (which I suppose is what I do, since I'm a mom and I blog and I do blog about being a mom sometimes) and the cliques, judgments, and "all-out slugfests" that happen within the mommy blogosphere.

I was particularly surprised to read about a woman who began a blog primarily to criticize other blogging mothers.

Okay.  Maybe that's not so surprising, we do see a lot of criticism:  Our choices in childbirth (epidural or natural?), milk (formula or breast?) and education (public school or homeschool?) are particularly hot button issues among the mommy crowd.

But that's not what she's criticizing.

She is criticizing the mothers who write about the fact that sometimes motherhood is (dare I say it?) hard. 

I've done a lot of hard things in my life.

I spent 18 months on an LDS mission in a foreign country, far away from my family.  I was spit on, yelled at and mocked.  I went through some of the most heart-wrenching trials I have ever endured in that time.  I walked for hours a day.  I had blisters on my feet all the time.  It was hard.

But it ended.  I eventually came home.

I went to college.  That was hard, too.  I remember one semester of trying to balance a full-time job with some crazy amount of credits that I had to have approved by the provost because it was more than I was allowed to take,  opera rehearsals, a boyfriend, and being on a medication that was pretty mood-altering.  Yes.  Very hard.

But it ended.  That semester finished.  I eventually graduated from college.

Then my husband went to college.  And then he went to college again and again.  And that was hard.  We were poorer than church mice.  We had kids we could barely support.  We lived in awful student housing and we depended upon government loans and family for our survival.  That was pretty hard.

But it ended.  He graduated.

Pregnancy is probably one of the most difficult things I have ever been through in my life. Three times I went through hyperemesis.  I spent time in the hospital, with PICC lines and Zofran pumps.  And I still threw up ten or fifteen times a day, every day.  I lost weight.  I could barely get out of bed.  I couldn't take care of my kids.  That was really hard.

But guess what?  Even pregnancy eventually ends.

And then I was a mother.

And it is hard, too.  I don't know if it is harder than my mission, or school, or health issues.  In fact, I don't think it actually is.  I think I can think of a lot of things that are way more difficult than motherhood.  But that doesn't mean it's not hard.  Because it is.  It still remains one of the hardest things I have ever done.

But I think the hardest thing about it, is that it won't end.  I can't say to myself, "Self, this is hard stuff.  But don't worry...only ___ more months and it will all be over."  Nope, motherhood doesn't work that way.  Sure, I can divide it up into bite-sized pieces because there are parts of motherhood that do end.  

Potty training will end.
The threatening threes and the terrible twos will end.
Adolescence will end.
Fourth-grade math will end.

But there will always be something else.  Even when your children are grown and moved away, your motherhood will never end.  And it will probably still be hard.  It is for my mom.  There are always going to be things your children are doing and experiencing that provide difficulty for you as a mother.  Because you love them.  

Motherhood doesn't end.

And that's why it's hard.

But it's also why it is the most rewarding and wonderful thing we can do.

36 comments :

  1. Love this post! Thank You! I needed to read this today as I had a hard 'mothering' day yesterday. I was glad to see today and leave yesterday behind.

    I didn't read the article that you referenced, yet, because I wanted to first write you a comment and say thanks.

    I've done a lot of hard things in life, too, that always had an end in sight. Mothering is something I will always have with me, but something I'm extremely glad to have.

    Also, you have a beautiful singing voice. Thanks for sharing the performance yesterday. That was neat to see and listen to.

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  2. I think that people who build things just to take down others are very, very unhappy with their lives and themselves.

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  3. Yes, I completely agree with your take. Motherhood is hard and it never ends, but the rewards are beyond belief. It was brought home to me this weekend how hard it is to be a mom and that it really doesn't end.

    I spent Mothers Day weekend worrying about my 22 year old, wishing life would grant him just a little bit of easiness and take away some of the hardness of his life. After a very heated talk, where he listened and I talked, it came to me, just let him live his life and make the choices that he wants and be there if he needs you. It doesn't take the worry out of each and everyone of my days for him, but it will make him happier in the long run if mom just butts out. He forgave me, for butting in, and still loves me and I guess that's what makes it worth it.

    Our children love us no matter what, they don't see our failures, they just see the one person in the world who will love them no matter what.

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  4. I think that admitting that something is hard doesn't belittle it. It makes it real. It shares who we are, because we are truthful about our feelings and experiences.

    Great post.

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  5. typing one handed, while nursing... so will only say I loved this.

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  6. Great post. I agree.
    Not only does motherhood never end (which is a good thing, because God keeps us engaged by throwing us new and increasing challenges) our day never ends. It's not like we can clock out at 5 pm -- or even 10, 11, 12. I think the long days make it hard. But in those hours when we're stretched we often find those sweet moments we wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

    p.s. I didn't know you served a mission. I did too.

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  7. I agree with Kristina! That person must be so unhappy in order to spend their time critizing others. I don't get it. My feeling is that anything worth doing in life is hard. Bottom line. What's to critize in that? We take the good with the bad. It is worth it. It is joyful. It is rewarding. AND it is hard.

    Great post!

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  8. I hope whoever is out there critisizing reads your post. I think it was wonderfully written.

    My mama has always said that children are the most wonderful inconvenience you'll ever have.

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  9. Who makes a blog to criticize other people?
    I want to read this blog.
    What a freak.

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  10. I "thumbs up" this post.


    And I like the fact that the blogs I read talk about how hard it is and how rewarding it is. How fun it is and how NOT fun it is. And that none of them talk badly about other bloggers. That's just dumb.

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  11. Yes, there can be a LOT of snarkiness in blogland. I have to distance myself from those.

    And as I find as I go along that Motherhood never ends, but does get better!

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  12. This pregnancy has been nothing but close to aweful...I vomit at least 5-6 times a day and zophrane does nothing for me except bring on a major headache. I could not imagine being sicker than I already am! I give you high fives and bow at your feet! Motherhood is hard. I think they left that part out of my YW manual!

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  13. Holy smokes! Motherhood is hard enough that my four year old and I were in full blown sobbing tears by 8:30 this morning!!!

    It is hard and i think it's good to hear from other moms on the blog that it is hard. But it is great and wonderful too and it's good to hear about that!

    And you're right. It will never end. It will just metamorphasis or metamorphisize (you know what i'm trying to say right?) into something else. Maybe something easier or heaven forbid something harder!

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  14. Oh, I'd love a good heated debate with that blogger. She's probably more stressed out than any of us.

    Of course it's hard.
    The hardest and most rewarding thing on earth. And it doesn't end.

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  15. I so agree that motherhood is hard, and until you are in the ground 6 feet under it doesn't end. For me anyway. I am happy for that one thing, motherhood and that it will always be a part of me. I like to think I am pretty good at it. The one thing I can say I have accomplished and done so very well. I hope my children see it that way too!♠

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  16. That's why I read mommy blogs in the first place. Other mom's GET it. Other mom's help me feel sane. It doesn't end and it IS hard but it's no longer as lonely as it once was.

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  17. I honestly don't understand why some people feel such a need to hurt others and put others down so much. Especially here in the land of blog. I have made so many wonderful friends, and rarely have mean people visiting me, but I still do get the meanies. Never. under. stand.

    And I agree with you. Being a mother is tough because you can't say "I only have two more hours of work today." Even after they have gone to bed, you are still ding mom things. Cleaning up messes, getting laundry done, fixing lunches, etc. It just doesn't end! But as you said, I think that is a good thing as well. The hugs don't end, and the kisses, and the love, so all in all, despite the toughness of it, the good far outweighs the bad.

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  18. Well said! I didn't realize that there were wars in the mom blogosphere. I guess I haven't gotten that involved in it yet. Boy, I hope I never DO get involved.

    Anyway, I completely agree. Motherhood IS hard, but it is also the most rewarding things I've ever done.

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  19. You're absolutely right! I'm not a big fan of the criticizing or make fun of other people blogs (although I do enjoy the poke fun of themselves sort)

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  20. The never-ending-ness (should be a word) is surely what makes it hard. And the fact that every case has to be custom done. Rethinking, replanning, etc.

    I never have considered myself a mommy blogger. Maybe because by the time I started blogging 2 years ago I didn't have anyone young enough in my house to call me "mommy". :)

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  21. I.LOVED.reading.this.post! Beautifully written Lara.

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  22. Wonderful, wonderful post!

    Women who say being a mom isn't hard, or who try to hide the fact that they think it is hard, need to have a reality check! Of course it's hard! Any job that is 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year is going to be hard!

    And before I had kids, I didn't realize that being a mom never ends. These are things people need to tell us BEFORE we have kids! :)

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  23. For me, the never-ending-ness runs smack into the need-to-let-go-ness, and that is such a tough dance to do. My oldest is nearly 23, and I still 'mother' him, primarily according to his terms. And as my kids age (20, 17, 14) each of them begins to set their terms. And they're all different. So defining myself as a mother has never been more subjective - even within my own family, let alone compared with other mothers - and I find that I am less able to quantify what being a mother even is than I could 15 years ago.

    I'm not complaining; in many ways this is a wonderful place in my kids' lives. But I never would have anticipated the ever-swirling fluidity required to be a mother to young adults.

    And it remains hard, because it's a catalyst for growth. And growth is painful.

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  24. What I don't understand is the drive to minimize another person's challenge in any way. What is hard for one person may not be hard for another, but sometimes when something is hard for you, being able to talk about it and be heard and UNDERSTOOD makes all the difference in the world. Yes, motherhood is hard, but it's obviously not ONLY hard-- it's other things too. So I can understand the annoyance with someone who constantly complains (and only complains) about her life as a mother. But, what doesn't make sense to me is when people try to pretend like there's nothing hard at all, when they fail to acknowledge the challenges, and then mock or belittle the challenges of others. Motherhood is intensely personal and our struggles are sometimes unique, but often shared, and we NEED each other. What we don't need is critics; we handle that well enough on our own. Apparently I should write my own post about this.

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  25. I read this yesterday but didn't get a chance to comment. And then today I posted about how difficult it is to be a good parent!

    But yes, you are right - motherhood will never end, and I think we will always be concerned about our kids. And grandkids. And that is why it is so rewarding!

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  26. So very well put. Loved it. Every once in a while it hits me that I will be mother for the rest of my life. And for a few minutes I can't believe it.

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  27. oh i love this post.! {period exclamation point}. loved it.

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  28. Oh, I love this!

    <<>>

    So. True.

    Happy (late) mother's day!!

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  29. Love, love, love this! You hit the nail on the head.

    Going over to read that article.

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  30. There are so many days when I wish it would end but not really, it is just hard to be mom and worry and love your children so much but it is the best HARD thing that I have ever done that I would never ever regret.

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  31. Thank you for what you said...... it is so true and that is why it is hard.

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  32. I'm totally speechless because this really hit home with me, and I can't think of anything to say except...Wow. Well said. Very well said.

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