“Motherhood is totally underrated,” I stated bluntly to my friend on Saturday. She has two beautiful girls: Lisa, who recently turned two, and Emily, born last fall. She and I have worked on projects together and she is a genius. She’ll hate me for saying so. She is very committed to her field and she too has big goals.
She and I used to hang out properly. We were neighbours. Now we get to maneouver timezones and internet connections and handheld devices and four children when we spend time together. It’s completely nutty but it’s better than nothing.
On Saturday we had a moment for a heart-to-heart without the distraction of kids. She said what a lot of moms – successful, motivated, can-do women – think when they go on maternity leave. I once spoke the same words. Work is so much easier than being with two needy kids around the clock. Why is this so hard for me?
Here’s why: Chronic fatigue. Zero emotional energy. No alone time. Achey everything. Neglected nutrition. Interrupted sleep. Extra body mass. Ill-fitting clothing. Hair loss. Self-doubt. Surging hormones. Need I go on? I think you get the idea.
It’s challenging to thrive if you’re burdened with one or two things from the list above and it’s nearly impossible when you’re juggling all of them together indefinitely, trying to keep little people alive and thriving. Children’s character development and discipline are vital. Consistency cannot be put off until next week. It’s not like a meeting you can bump until you get your act together, until you’ve had a proper sleep.
So if an intrinsically motivated woman who is used to the satisfaction that comes from excelling suddenly collides with the concrete barrier that is motherhood with small children, it’s no wonder she feels in pieces. I’m referring to myself but I know I’m not alone.
It comes down to supply and demand. It is a lie that motherhood is a simple accessory to wear on top of a busy lifestyle. Children demand everything – time, energy, patience – and one person’s supply can realistically only stretch so far before it all falls apart.
So today I would just like to remind parents everywhere, particularly my friend and people like her, that the job of raising children is a very worthwhile endeavour. Well done. You are like a busy farmer, sowing seeds which will bear fruit one day. The hours are long and the work is humble and the fruit doesn’t thank the tree it falls from but it doesn’t mean the farmer’s time was wasted.