Thursday, March 12, 2009

Current Mood: Contemplative

I read a post today that linked to another post that inspired me to talk about something that is really hard for me, something I always feel like I am hiding from my peers, peers that are made up primarily of young mothers. Amazing mothers, who cherish their role as nurturer and caretaker and value each and every moment spent with their precious creations. I read blog after blog of these supermoms who are just incredible. The fun activities they do with their kids, the time they spend playing with them, the ease they have in putting their own wants and priorities aside in an effort to first and foremost make their kids happy. I read these blogs and think, "What is wrong with me?"

I am not one of those mothers. Where they are the athletes who were born with natural talent, I am the one still trying to get used to the fact that somehow I got picked for the team and wondering if maybe the coach made a mistake. This doesn't come naturally for me. No part of this is easy for me. Each and every day of the eight years that I have done this has been a challenge of some kind.

I know it's common to hear mothers say how hard parenting is. I know that every mother struggles, that every mother at some point has to remind herself why she signed up for this job. I am in no way trying to diminish what other mothers go through. I am just constantly amazed when I hear moms go on about the wonderful, fun parts of being a mom, because, although I definitely have those moments, they seem to be much fewer and farther between than the norm.

Please don't get me wrong. My kids, along with my husband, are by far the most important thing in the world to me. I love them more than I ever thought it was possible to love something. They are my world. But I will never be that mom who says, "Let's go do something fun this Saturday morning," when there is a bed to be curled up in. I will never be that mom to chaperon an overnight trip because the terror I felt on those things as a kid has never gone away.

I am not writing this in any way to say "woe is me" or "I have it worse than you do." Not at all. It's just that I feel so inadequate as a mother in every way and pray every night that I am not destroying my children because of my shortcomings and selfish tendencies. It is such a relief whenever I hear people like my cousin and cjane express the same kind of frustrations that I feel plagued with every second of every day.

I write this to make myself feel better. Revealing "dark secrets" is always incredibly therapeutic for me. At least now people know what I truly am and I can stop trying to hide the fact that I think I am a less-than-stellar mother. But I also write this for anyone else who may feel like I do, who sometimes wonders what people would think if they knew just how much they struggled with this job that is supposed to come so naturally to us. Just know that you are not alone. SO not alone.


Mike Brinkerhoff said...

I completely relate...

There are many times - probably every couple days on average - when I feel like I'm looking at myself and my life from above, thinking "I'm still just a kid - how can I be doing all this stuff??" and then I snap out of it and realize that I'm 40 and like it or not, I need to get back on the wagon and push on.

But man... what I wouldn't give some days to just hide from the responsibilities of adult life...

Brenda said...

We are so much alike! I always see other mothers and think what is my problem, I am just different - or else, they are all faking it:)? I adore my family, but I am just me - like it or not - I am not supermom! After lots of prayer I am beginning to realize that I have different talents to benefit my mothering style. For example: sleeping in on Saturday is perfect cuddle time...right? Just take advantage of your talents with you kids and be you!

Stacia said...

I often worry that through all the money and years we have been striving to have our children I will not be the Supermom I want to be.

I have heard you say these things before about you being a mom and I feel bad that you struggle. I just know that with every type of struggle we all have, I am grateful we can wake up to a new day and a fresh chance to improve. Baby steps....

Noelle said...

Oh my cousin, how we struggle the same. Every day i wake up and give myself a pep talk that i can be NICE. just nice is enough...right? and tell my kids i love them and give them kisses and teach them right and wrong. but will they be able to tell i struggle to really LOVE what i'm doing? but then i think about life not doing what i'm doing right now and it is so empty, there is nothingi would rather be doing. nothing. and i think that every day. no matter how hard the day is. there is nothing i would rather be.
thanks for your post. i often think we only post about our best days on blogs which is understandable but it makes us look better than we are.
mommy on, mommy. mommy on. we can do it. our kids will love us 'cause we love them. not becuase we are perfect.

Amy J. said...

We wouldn't be good mothers if we didn't question ourselves and the job we are doing. It is truly the biggest most important job on earth and I don't know how anyone could ever feel that they have reached perfection in motherhood.

I seem to tell myself often, "This is what I wanted more than anything, so calm down, it's not a big deal." The reason I love President Monson's quote "Find Joy in the Journey" so much is because I am a mother. We all need to be reminded of this, and if the prophet feels the need to say this to the world...we are definetly not alone in the way we feel!

tharker said...

You are definitely not alone in feeling this way, Alicia.

Every single night, I go over and over the day's events in my head and kick myself for saying this, or missing that opportunity to teach my kids, or to simply connect with them. I always try to remember that I am growing in this process just as my children are. We are in it together. Yes, it is up to me to lead them and teach them, but I also know just how much they can teach me too.

I love the talk that Elder Holland gave a few years ago, specifically to young mothers. Of course I can't remember the title right now...but it was a good one!

I'm just glad that we get a fresh start every morning.

Marilyn said...

Alicia, I understand what you are saying to an extent. I know that I am an inadequate mother...every day I seem to fail at least one of my children. Every day I wish I could take back something hurtful I said, or the nasty tone that I used with one or more of my children.

Every day I wake up and tell myself "Let's try to be really nice and happy today." But then, something unexpected happens, like one of the kids will fling their yogurt across the room and suddenly there is a huge mess to clean up and I blow it.

I understand. I think the trick is to realizing that we (meaning every one of us) is not perfect and we all need that fresh new day to start over and try to be a little better. Sometimes I feel like it is two steps forward, one step back and I am on such a slow progression. Frustrating.

Being a mom is so so so hard and yet so so so rewarding. I love the part where you said, "I love them more than I ever thought it was possible to love something."

That is so true.

P.S. I apologize for blogging in your comments.

Melissa Mae said...

I think the mothers that blog/talk about only their perfect days with their perfect children, are putting on a front that is not realistic. I've been known to sit Mae in front of the TV so I can take a nap on the floor. I have my days where I wish I could just have some time to myself to paint or go do some photography or just SLEEP. I am very selfish with my time.
But when it comes down to it, I wouldn't give up my days with Mae for the WORLD.
We all struggle with it. But I think about it and I feel empowered because this job was given to us. As much as I love Tom, and as talented as he is, he couldn't do what I do. He would go nuts. And I'm sure the same goes for Bill. So just know that what you're doing is heroic. It really is.

Amy said...

I'm right there with you. I go to bed every night hoping to do better the next day. And I get so frustrated when I don't! But I sure try, and I guess that's all we can do.

Amy said...

I just erased three paragraphs worth when I realized that what I was wanting to say wasn't coming out right. And considering the hour (its almost 2 am), I can't make another attempt.

I know you already know this but I'm going to say it anyways-
We all have our corners of inadequacy that we struggle with daily. And sometimes it's hard to see through the face of a blog. But under all the type and pretty pictures, its there. And whether its in the same area as anothers, all the weight and guilt and whatever other emotions accompany it, all feel the same. And now I have no idea how to wrap this comment up so, I'm going to be done, and maybe tomorrow, in between sleeping in while the kids watch cartoons, I'll think of something else to add. Like, the grass isn't ever greener, it's just a brighter shade of marker.

Does that even make sense?

Shayla said...

I'm right there with you, wondering why I was meant to be a mom, love my kids so incredibly, but still struggle SO MUCH, SO OFTEN with feelings of dread at the thought of facing another day with the kiddos. Especially when I read/hear about Mom's who seem to be such naturals. Like you said, some of us are born athletes and some aren't. When I can't stand myself and all the whining in my head, I have to think about how much I love this family of mine and remember that is what matters most, anyway.

hatch said...

I think is a great that you bring this up. I think so often moms do not want to share about the days where it is hard to be a mom, the days when we go to bed and question what we did that day. The bottom line is being a mom is wonderful and very rewarding, but like all of the best things it is also hard.

Oh by the way are you going to chaperon on the preschool field trip next week? :) I am, and honestly I am feeling the terror in it.

Kristi said...

Well, this was a very therapeutic post for probably everyone who read it. I appreciated reading your post and all the comments shared here. They made me feel more normal. I guess most people feel overwhelmed? I find myself comparing my mothering experience to what I observed of my mom when I was a kid, and trying to do better. I often feel like I could really improve if I weren't so darn tired.