You think you know what motherhood is, but you have no idea until you are in the trenches and it is too late to turn back. It consumes you with love, frustration, tears, hugs and kisses, messes, hours of cooking and cleaning, and lots of bodily fluids. To put it bluntly, motherhood ain't pretty, but we are all doing our best to make it through each day.
The reality is that we all do things behind closed doors that we don't openly admit to because we fear being judged. We lose our tempers, stuff our faces with crap, wear clothes covered in yesterday's messes and let our kids skip baths because we are just too tired to deal with it. But really, moms don't need help with the judging -- because we do it to ourselves far too much. We set impossibly high standards and then lie in bed at night beating ourselves up over all the things we didn't get right. If that's not enough, we join online mommy communities in search of support and end up being bombarded with mommy wars and tons of negatives opinions about our parenting choices. Stay-at-home moms are lazy but working moms are neglectful; let your kid cry it out and you damage their brain, but hold them and you create unhealthy attachments; how dare you breastfeed in public but tsk, tsk if you feed your child poison-filled formula.
There is a constant debate about parenting choices, and everyone knows that breastfeeding -- especially where you breastfeed -- is one of the hot button issues. Who knew breastfeeding on the toilet, taking a picture of it and posting it to share with my measly 422 followers on Instagram and 992 Facebook friends would send the Internet into a frenzy?
And oh, the judgments about me as a mother... Ouch! Dealing with motherhood with acceptance and a sense of humor has often been my saving grace, and I thought this picture captured that perfectly. I didn't post it to make a huge statement about motherhood. I posted it to share my truth as a mom and help my mom friends feel comfortable with their truth.
Come on, people, really?!?! So I overshared a little -- I guess people don't like to taint that perfect image of motherhood. Well, I've got a few more truths to cop to...
1. I don't mind washing laundry, but folding... well, that's another story. I will leave clothes in the laundry basket or crib for weeks on end and just rummage through them to find what I need. Recently, it got to the point that my husband didn't have a single pair of white socks in his drawer and he had no clue why. Turns out they were buried... OK, OK, I buried them in a laundry basket behind a chair in our room and they had been there for months... No really, like two months.
2. I once went over to my neighbor's house at 9 p.m. and asked him for a bottle of wine. I can still see the shock on his face -- but I was willing to swallow my pride, because it was unquestionably necessary. No, I don't drink wine regularly, but some nights it is absolutely needed in order for all parties to survive 'til morning. I now keep emergency bottles in stock at all times.
3. I pop Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cups like they are freaking Xanax. People, it's bad. I hide in bathrooms and closets to eat them. My son can smell them on my breath and my husband confronts me with the little balled-up papers I leave all over the house. I buy boxes at a time and the mini bags to squirrel away in case I run out or someone raids my stash. Hi, my name is Elisha, and I am a chocoholic.
4. I love breastfeeding and I exclusively breastfeed, but the thing I love most about it... the convenience of it. *Insert audible gasp* Yes, I know it is the healthiest choice for my little ones and there's the whole bonding thing, but seriously... I hate doing dishes so the last thing I want is a ton of bottles to wash and sanitize day in and day out. And pumping... If you are a mother who pumps regularly, then huge kudos to you, because frankly it's a colossal pain in the butt. P.S. I am so terrible at dishes, my husband has all but banned me from doing them.
5. This one is the toughest to admit, because I am not proud of it, but I find myself judging other moms. Yes, I will openly admit this and it happens more often than I would like. However, pretty much every time I get on my high horse and look down my nose at another mom, motherhood kicks me right in the face. That's right, the minute I think my sh*t doesn't stink, my preschooler will throw an epic tantrum right in the middle of the grocery store over a stupid box of cookies, causing me to leave in a huff with no groceries. Then I have to wrestle the kid into the car seat while sweating bullets and the baby decides to chime in on the screaming. Then I feel like I suck at this motherhood thing, and, to top that all off, we will probably be having boxed mac & cheese for dinner because I never got the darn groceries!!! Go ahead... judge away.
6. The truth I am most proud of... I think I am a good mom. Of course I suffer from the usual self-doubt and I lie in bed at night reviewing the to-dos I didn't get to and all the things I think I screwed up. Nevertheless, through all the yelling, tears, frustration and deep breaths, most days, I can still pat myself on the back for a job well done. That's right, I said it -- and so should you.