I remember when Jonathan first started having separation anxiety. It was right around his first birthday. He started to lose his dang mind anytime he couldn't see me, even when he was with his daddy or grammy, two people he adores.
This anxiety was actually a good sign that he had bonded well, especially since he'd only been with us for about five months. We had expected some difficulties when he first came home and was transitioning from his foster mother's home to ours, but miraculously there were no problems or tantrums and he bonded with us almost instantly.
It completely wore me out.
While I was happy he was developing well and that he knew I was his mama, I was still exhausted from his constant need of me. I couldn't go to the bathroom alone, I couldn't cook dinner, I couldn't be across the room from him, I couldn't even just be next to but not touching him. He screamed bloody murder if I left his sight, and he made this... sound, if I wasn't in constant physical contact with him. It was somewhere between a whine and a car alarm and could be used as a torture device. I'm a person who needs alone time every day, even away from my husband and child. It's not from lack of loving them, it's just the way I'm wired, so this was seriously frying my brain. I had fought for years to be a mom - countless medical appointments, hours of prayer, buckets of tears - and now that I had this amazing little person living here, I was in tears once again, begging him to stop making that horrible sound when all I was trying to do was prepare his lunch.
I felt like a total failure.
When I tried to talk to someone about it, they sniffed that I should be grateful for his crying and clinginess and actually should enjoy it. "Soon enough he won't want to be with you at all. He'll be grown up and you'll miss those snuggles."
We've come a long way from thinking we need to have dinner prepared and the house clean and a scotch waiting for our husbands when they get home (while wearing heels and pearls, no less). But in some ways the standard has gotten higher, because we now aren't just being told what we should do and what we should look like, but also how we should feel. We should be grateful for the piles of laundry, and the dirty diapers, and the fingerprints on the wall. We should enjoy the tears, because that means we're needed. You should never ever want or need time for yourself, because you're a mom now, and this is your life, and you should feel fulfilled and blessed by every second of it. Children are amazing and miracle angel blessings from heaven and you should let them be little and everything they do is art.
Sometimes kids are gross. yep, i said it.
I'm going to be honest here: In addition to being amazing and wonderful, kids are also disgusting. Babies are disgusting. They make horrible sounds and poop and pee on you and wipe their snot on your leg. They will sometimes make art by smearing that poop on the wall. They do not understand the concept of personal space. They vomit on you in public and then laugh about it. When they are finished with a bite of food, they will spit it out and then hand it to you. They will attempt to play dog feces and then cry when you prevent them doing so. They whine, like, a lot, and sometimes that whining can reach a pitch that only dogs and exhausted mothers can hear.
And it's ok to admit that you aren't singing praises of joy and gratitude when they do.
I love my son beyond all measure. I would gladly die to protect him. That doesn't mean that I don't occasionally find the things he does to be annoying. Or disgusting. Or possibly make me want to dive headfirst into a bottle of Xanax. Please don't ever feel like a failure because you are a human being and therefore tired and grumpy after being up all night with a sick kid. It is entirely possible to be a good mom and to be thankful for the gift of your children, while not being thrilled that they just vomited on you. You can love your kids and not love picking up after them. It's okay to want to go to the bathroom by yourself without small humans clinging to you like possums.
We need each other more than ever.
The women that got me through that stage of megaclingy were the ones who didn't judge how I felt, but instead told me they'd been there and felt the same way. My goal in writing this whole blog thing is to encourage other women and moms that it's ok to do your very best and still not have it be perfect. I want you to find support and community here, but I'd also encourage you to share that with the others around you. Be open about your struggles and be receptive to hearing about theirs. Share the tough times and the joys. The more of us that are open about what #momlife really is, the more we can stop with all the guilt and shame that comes from never measuring up to an unspoken, and ultimately not even remotely attainable standard.
Jump on in. Tell us your war stories. Share your highlights. What does your momlife look like?