In the interest of mutual learning, I think it’s time we moms tell it like it really is. I haven’t been as happy as I thought I would since having the baby. There, I said it.
What with yesterday being Mother’s Day and all, I thought we should jump right in to the big stuff.
It’s sort of a universal assumption that women will feel complete when they have children and that stay-at-home moms, in particular, should be happy to be home all day with their little ones.
I have been home with my baby since he was born over a year ago. My husband and I had planned and saved money so I could do so. I was really looking forward to it.
I envisioned floating around feeding and changing a baby, cleaning my house, puttering around, cooking real dinners, writing books, playing peek-a-boo and smiling all the time.
Are you laughing? You must be a mom.
So as you might imagine, it’s pretty much been nothing like this. I was sorely ill-prepared for the near constant attention babies require, making all that housework, cooking, and puttering really difficult.
There hasn’t been a day since he was born that I haven’t felt tired. Not a little tired like “oh, if I just sit for a minute, I’ll be fine.” I mean dog tired. The kind of tired where I’ve done jumping jacks just to keep my eyes from closing.
Don’t even think about asking me what I do all day. It makes me punchy. I’m not sure I could tell you, anyway. Though I know I am constantly busy, the hours blur together into even blurrier days until I realize a whole week has gone by and I didn’t wash my husband’s and stepson’s baseball uniforms. Even I want to say, “Really? In a whole week, you couldn’t find the time...?”
Seriously, where is the time going and why am I always so tired?
Of course, I love the baby, so let’s not get crazy thinking I’m a horrible mom (and really, isn’t that what we’re all afraid of being?).
I love that I am around when he learns something new. I love seeing his little brain at work. Those are some of my favorite moments.
I’m also glad I don’t have to try to balance full-time work and home because that sounds like way too much for me at the moment.
Here I am trying to figure out how other moms look somewhat refreshed, how they managed to get a haircut, and how they magically know when it’s time to switch to sippy cups or teach a new trick. (Your kid says “mama” and “dada” and “car?” Wow. Mine says “uh-oh.” But he is darn good at it!)
So, happiness? Honestly, not so much these days. Certainly not as much as I had anticipated.
Last year I had a goal of happiness. It was my word of the year. I tried to force happiness on myself like forcing size 3 shoes on a size 4.5 foot. (This mom thing is a continual learning process.) I mean, the pursuit of happiness is our constitutional right, for goodness sake!
I realized, though, that forcing happiness wasn’t working. It actually made me feel worse because it felt like I was being fake. People would ask how I was doing... “Great!” “Isn’t it the best?” they’d say. “Amazing!” I’d say.
Sure, I’m happy sometimes. Occasionally, I’m even ecstatic. A lot of the time I’m just freakin’ tired and foggy. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m unhappy, it just means I’m tired and foggy.
You know what, though? Even when I’m tired and foggy, I’ve found I can still be wonderstruck. And wonderstruck moments contribute to my overall happiness. Who knew?
As you know, that’s my current project. I’ve ditched pursuing happiness in favor of pursuing wonderstruckness. Maybe happiness will settle into place when I’m not chasing it so hard.
What do you think? Does pursuing happiness work for you? If you're a mom, do you feel as put together as you appear?