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March 28, 2006

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Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored wrote a post recently that I can't seem to get out of my head. She discusses how completely prepared she was to give birth to a baby, as contrasted with the complete lack of information [Read More]

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That's the kind of image that i really thing is super image like. If more images very real like this were out there we'd be super full of graet images in the world.

A friend of mine and I talk about this all the time - we had no idea how hard it would be. It is, by far, the most physically and emotionally difficult job. I still don't know how my mommy friends who look cute daily do it.

I laughed at my girlfriend who does not have kids because she told me "hey, don't get so frustrated... why don't you just plop her down in front of the T.V. with some crackers while you go do what you have to do?"
during a breakdown that I was having while my daughter was whining over getting ready to go to the doctor. hahaha!!! like my kid is going to SIT anywhere?!?!

If I would have known that being a mother would take away my rights to Pee or Crap BY MYSELF....I would have second guessed this whole parenthood thing. I love my Kids with all my heart but, MAN, somedays can be really hard. I also found it amusing, that my husband had to RUSH to get his hair cut at lunch.....WTF?!!? At least he GETS to have a break to get his hair cut. Im ready to shave my head to cut down on time to get ready.


btw, that girlfriend I laughed at just found out she is pregnant! ahaahahahaaaa. (i am really happy for her, really, i am!)

When Grace was sick last week, I (half jokingly) asked her doctor if he could give ME anything to make me feel better through the toddler-stomach-flu. He laughed when I said "How come you never told me about all this stuff (vomit, diaherra, the exhaustion, etc etc etc) when I announced my pregnancy!?" He said "Cause it would be no fun for the rest of us!". Motherhood is the hardest job I have ever had but its all worth it. SO cliche to say but cliches start somewhere---there is truth in there!!! I agree with Cahntal that parenting classes/book/etc deal with what physically happens/is needed/etc. When does the mental part come? Where is that group of Mommy friends that all the books promised me?

I hear you sister. I hear you. Motherhood is why I drink more booze in my 30's than I did when I was in my 20's. Somedays you need to "take the edge off."

No one tells you that.

It's amazing how prepared we are for pregnancy and not motherhood.

Parenthood: Not for the faint of heart, sole, or energy.

I don't think, that no matter how much someone insists and explains on how hard motherhood is, that there is any way you can understand until you join the club.

I agree wholeheartedly. No one ever told me the truth ... I mean the REAL truth. Not even my own mother. It's been almost three years since I gave birth and I am STILL struggling to figure it out. Oh and makeup ~ what's that??

The Blogging community is the only place I've seen that women are real about motherhood. Everyone else is still trying to keep up the facade.

I go back and forth. On one hand, I'm glad that I had people in my life who were honest about the tribulations of motherhood. On the other hand, when you're hormonal and pregnant and emotional, it's not necessarily the best time to hear "you know how hard it's going to be, right?"

I guess there's a balance we need to find, I'll call it supportive cynicism. Think omments like, "it's hard as hell but I'm here for you whenever you need it." That would be best of all.

What do you mean?

Nothing can prepare you. I was lucky enough to have honest friends who gave a pretty go snapshot of what it was really like. I have found that the mothers who try the hardest to look perfect are often the ones who are the most f#*ked up. Neat post!

Yeah, I was all
"let's have a family bed" while I was pregnant.
"Her bed is so far away and she'll be lonely", I would murmur to my husband.

HAH! I still sleep with a 7 year old, long legged, kicking, sharp ass toenail digging girl. And dream of when she will just GO to her OWN bed!!!

It's the Cult, Kristen, the Cult. If they let word get out, how would they control us??

Oh man. Where were you when I joined the World's Bitchiest Play Group last year???

Thanks again for your guest post. I got lots of compliments on your behalf! :)

Kristen ~ Hilarious. Ray of sunshine. Ha.

Kelly ~ I know, you'd think that at least ONE person would say something.

Honestly, my best person since I only have ONE mom friend, was my best friend (who doesn't have kids) - she used to say - I'm thinking that if you're crying and stressing because she won't sleep in the crib, maybe just let her sleep where she'll sleep.

Duh?~

I couldn't agree with you more on this one. Just where in the hell were all the mothers that needed to tell me just how hard this all was going to be? Why did they all just want to put up the front like it was all fun and flowers? WHY? Why could they not just be real?

I remember when my first son was born - the screaming, my god the screaming. And the baby was really hard to deal with too. (haha!) The whole time I kept saying to everyone, "how come nobody told me these things just CRY AND SCREAM BLOODY MURDER FOR HOURS for no apparent reason? I would have appreciated a fucking warning." Nobody ever answered me when I asked that.

But I always tell new moms, "you're going to be clueless and stressed and guilty - and there's really nothing you can do about it!"

I'm a ray of sunshine.

I hear you on the marriage part, Binky. That's a whole other post right there!!!

I feel this post in a big way. Why didn't anyone tell me it would be like this? Probably because my pregnant ass wouldn't listen even if they did. Probably because actually RAISING a child is totally and ironically irrelevant to a woman in the throes of gestating one. I, too, was too busy reading pregnancy books to crack the spine of a parenting guide. I guess it comes right down to motherhood being something you have to experience to even begin to comprehend,or want to comprehend. The thing that has struck me the most in my 8 months of having a three person family is the way it's affected my marriage. I had no idea what motherhood would do to wifehood. Thanks to the Internet, I know I'm not alone in this, but that's a small consolation sometimes. Ugh. Thanks for the post!

I know what you're saying- completely. I didn't know how I was going to handle being a mom, though I kinda always knew I wanted to be one- I didn't ever fully understand the gravity of that title! You never really know until you're using the nose sucker you mentioned or cleaning up green goo like you said- then it hits you. Oh, and I wear my jeans quite a few times too, lol.

Haven't gotten through all the comments yet, so sorry if I duplicate.
For me, this wasn't really true. I was expecting sleepless nights and colicky babies and being exhausted all the time. Doesn't mean I was prepared for it, or prepared for the mind-numbing repitition of it all. (feed baby, diaper baby, soothe baby. repeat. repeat. repeat)
I think maybe I didn't get the whole motherhood is fabulous thing because I was the first of our friends to have kids. I didn't have a lot of real life experience with mothers, so I didn't have anyone to tell me how great it was going to be. And I knew that the baby was going to change my life, and I was terrified, so that made me sort of expect the worst, and hope for the best.
I always say that being a mom is one thousand times worse than I thought it would be, and also one thousand times better.
(By the way, my socks rarely match and I am secretly afraid that my filthy jeans ARE going to get up and walk on their own one day, just like my mother warned me)

The scary thing is...and I completely relate to everything you have written..I had another mom come up to ME?!?! and ask me how I did it and said she was watching me so she could figure it out! I was like WHOA lady I have no clue what the heck I am doing!!

Re: Jeans...

Huggies wipes are good spot cleaners for those jeans that have to last through the week. Which is ALL they are good for, because they are HELL on babies bottoms. Never again. I'm using the remaining wipes to scour my bathroom sink in addition to spot cleaning my clothes and upholstery.

Who knew? Not me.
Thanks for the great reading.

Same ol' pair of jeans, tops that I can rub / disguise a whole lot of stuff in, flat boots most days, anger that simmers close to the surface (what is that about?) and a sense of achievement if I get to do one thing outdoors in a day.

We all seem to share the same feelings, regardless of what we call ourselves (Mom, mum, mama, mommy, yada yada...)

But would we roll back to our "before kids" state if we could? I know I couldn't.

I think now Moms are becoming more honest as the reality of the situation hits those that are more vocal than previous generations.

Before, you were afraid to look 'incompetent' to June Cleaver, or even Carol Brady.

Only now is the mask starting to come off, because finally people are admitting it is OK to not be 'perfect' to some imaginary standard.

My husband and I make it a point to really tell it how it is when are childless friends ask. One of the reasons is the because they deserve to know the truth, the wonders and the horrors. The other reason is because we had another set of friends who kept pushing their "our child is going to work to our schedule" thing on anyone who asked (whether that method worked or not). And basically we saw mutual friends buying into a not-very-realistic vision of parenting. A vision that could really set them up to feel bad if their children didn't work to this preconceived schedule. So we're both very frank when people ask things like, "Yeah, but you can still go to dinner and have time to yourselves, right? Your life doesn't change that much, right?" Yes, yes it does.

This is one of the reasons I started the Things They Don't Tell You in Lamaze list (http://weirdgirl.typepad.com/home/2006/01/the_things_they.html), because if you can't laugh the only alternative is to cry/go insane!

Oh, and a book I HIGHLY recommend, "Operating Instructions" by Anne Lamott.

LOL, I gotta hand it to you...you tell it like it is, sista. NO BABY BOOKS on God's green earth could have prepared us for motherhood. My kids are grown now and I can still remember how exhausting it was. And those mothers in the park or the doctor's office that looked perfectly calm, coifed, and oh-so-perfect? I wanna slap'em. ;o)

PS ~ How rude of me:

Congrats Urban Mommy!

great post. Money back guarantee-I like that idea!

BA ~ This is true. Once you get over one thing, another one, like finding condoms in their wallet, slaps you in the face. My work with teens was the best birth control I've ever had.

Thanks to the new folks (nice to meetcha!) for sharing your stories. If only I'd known about blogs - sigh - what the hell did I do? Oh that's right, cry to my best friend and warn her never to do this. EVER.

Great post.

I remember sitting in my livingroom at 3am holding a screaming newborn, and bawling my eyes out, telling my husband that I was a terrible mother. He asked me why I would think that, and I tearfully explained that Good Mothers don't get frustrated with their babies, Good Mothers could handle not sleeping, Good Mothers were full of the joy in being a mummy, and all I wanted to do was take the baby back to the hospital, hand her to a nurse, and run away.

Thankfully I got over that (with a little help from the friendly neighbourhood psychiatrist, PPD is a bitch)), but it is still incredibly hard, every day seems to bring a new challenge. I love my daughter, and I am happy being a Mummy, but it's the hardest job I've ever had.

I'm not preaching. Really I'm not. I remember feeling all those things, and thinking it was a grave mistake for anyone to think that I could singly handedly keep a human being alive.

But I wish someone had told me this...the baby stuff is the easy stuff because there is usually an answer, a fix, an antidote of somekind.

There is not a goddamned thing you can do when your kid gets his heart broken by some little fifth grade trollop, or some 11 year old neanderthal decides to use your kid as a punching bag. Do you tell him to turn the other cheek, or do you tell him to nail his ass to the wall? Or, do you let him make his own decision?

And sex...shit. The other day I explained "gay" to six 11 year old boys because one of them made a very unkind remark to a child who is obviously homosexual. That was fun.

So, ummm, did that make you feel better?

I really just wanted to say...cherish them little. It goes so fast, and it will never again be that easy. And if you're not breastfeeding, there's alchohol.

I can't take a sip without my son saying..."Drinking alchohol is drug abuse you know." Damned D.A.R.E. program.

The thing that I wished someone had told me about was the exhaustion. Absolute, total exhaustion. I mean, I knew about 2-am feedings and all that, but nobody told me just exactly how tiring it would be. That I'd feel like a zombie for a long, long time. That if I left the house wearing my pj's because I was so tired it wouldn't be a bad thing. I would have liked to have known that going in.

My PPD after #1 went undiagnosed. I was afraid to tell everyone what a horrible time i was having. Hell I thought breastfeeding was NATURAL - WTF was I thinking? It took weeks or eyedroppering my kid food and holding a Nuk nipple over my own before she could latch. Then I thought i was supossed to be painful until BLOOD started coming out. Then I realized we had a severe case of thrush... so in all reality it took 5 MONTHS to get a decent nursng relationship established with my daughter - natural my ass.

I just had my first baby two weeks ago and up until his delivery, I was desperately trying to get the real deal from all the mommy bloggers that I could find (that's right, blogging momMIES). Please continue to speak the truth - it is actually reassuring to soon-to-be mothers to hear this stuff - at least it was for me.
My 2 weeks of experience as a mommy has left me with two opinions. First, luck is a HUGE part of parenting in the early days. My little guy sleeps beautifully, doesn't cry and never spits up. And it has absolutely nothing to do with me. So, the fact that I can manage a shower, get some sleep and maintain clean clothes is equally not my doing and doesn't reflect any terrific skill on my part. Its all luck. And if these things turn around and I suddenly can't manage a shower, sleep or clean clothes, that, too, will not reflect my ability as a parent. It just doesn't seem to work that way. Which leads me to my second thought: Mommy appearance must be read backwards from the norm. Typically, appearance is one of the primary measures of success. If you LOOK together, you ARE together, and if you don't, your aren't. That is the prevailing attitude. But that does not translate to parenting. For example, in the parenting universe, bags under your eyes means that you are SUCCESSFULLY making sure baby gets what baby needs through the night, no matter what. Mismatched socks et al simply mean you have your priorities straight.
But its futile to try and explain this to non-parents. How do you explain to someone who does not have a child that you have gladly given up the standard measures of success for something SO much better and fulfilling. How could you ever convey the beauty of being a parent, its beyond all words.

Great post! I felt the same way after my son was born.

HBM ~
Thanks for sharing that - as women of academia, I think we can relate together in that we've done all this stuff (i.e. theses, I started an undergrad program in 1 month...) and then the babies come and we (accomplished women) feel totally helpless...

I kept saying - THIS IS SO HARD. WHY DID I DO THIS? THIS IS SO HARD... WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS?

I love my daughter with all I have, and yet, there is a part of me that feels like a failure - like I can do all this great stuff in life but I can't get her to stay still while I put her freaking diaper on.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHH!

Jezer did a great post on the shocking badness of the first weeks of motherhood some weeks ago - http://jezewhiz.blogspot.com/2006/03/my-version-of-truth.html - and your thoughts on this really help spread the truth...

I've thought about posting on this, but usually stop short because it's still so fresh for me as to make me frustrated and angry. Why did nobody tell me that it would be so brutal in the ways that it was brutal?

I think that the truth about how hard it is remains unspoken by mothers because we're all - usually - so afraid of sounding like bad mothers. My experience of the first few weeks was 'FUCK - did no-one tell me because no-one else had it this hard? Is it this hard for me because I'm bad a this?' Even once I realized that my experience wasn't unusual, I was afraid of telling the truth about it to other women without children and others generally because I worried that they wouldn't understand, that they would *think* that I was a bad mother (and racked by PPD, etc.) I got over it when I realized that a close expectant friend needed to hear the truth. And I believe it to be critically important that all mothers continue to speak truth to power on this (so, go Kristen!)

But I'm still vulnerable to the whole 'adevertised mother' dynamic. When other moms are out there all spit-and-polished, doesn't it mean that I might be lacking in some regard? Other moms seem to manage things I can't - does that mean I'm doing something wrong? It can be crippling. But the only way past it to continue to keep the truth out in the open.

I'm profoundly grateful to you, Kristen, and all you other blogging breeders, for doing that.

Oh Kristen you BETTER send me your phone number. What the hell am I going to do? Call you at 2 AM ... haha ... about a month from now I'll be going through all that good stuff. Anxious much? Uh huh.

I am impressed you even wear lipstick.

No, I too was tricked into thinking that anyone could be a Mommy. Well, I guess one person said it was hard. I didn't understand that no sleep meant NO SLEEP.

I remember when they brought my baby to my bed and then left. I was completely unprepared to nurse, to mother, to survive. I was like you, so focused on pregancy and delivery, that I forgot about parenting. Shit! So now, as a favor to my dear sister, I am showing her your posts about motherhood. Just so she knows what to expect. And because I derive pleasure in seeing her scared shitless.

Thanks!

I soooo appreciate this post! And may I just say...my sentiments exactly.

After having children, I started my dissertation on preventing PPD and read many books that express the same questions you have written here.

Some GREAT reads...that I ROUTINELY give to my pre-children girlfriends...
The Mommy Myth, Misconceptions, The Price of Motherhood, The Bitch in the House, The Mask of Motherhood and The Beauty Myth. I also love Mothering Without a Map for different reasons.

So, it is up to us...those of us who KNOW. Those of us who rarely shower, who can't get our children to fall asleep, who stay up all night holding back our daughter's hair while she vomits...to spread the word. RAISING KIDS IS F*CKING HARD!!

Thank you for helping spread the word! Thank you for being honest.

Speak it ladies. Loud and clear.

And Hills, I'm working on it.

I have yet to master

"Mommy who has a hubby who will gladly allow said wife to gallavant across Europe sans child"

:)

Precisely the reason I have chosen NOT to procreate, love.

Oh, and I am lazy. And selfish. And refuse to give up my shoe-buying habits.

Um...come to London, for fucks sake, would you?? You've got the hang of "mommy at home", so lets try "mommy abroad"!! Eh? Eh??

My best friend had a 4 hour labour that she described as "wonderful". Her daughter slept through the night by 8 weeks and she breezed through the first year. I was so on board with that. It sounded pretty darn good to me. Needless to say I was in a permanent state of shock for months when my little one was ... welll ... let's just say not an angel.

I actually made a list once of all the gross and exhausting things NO ONE told me before I had gave birth so I could share it with my childless friends. But it was when I had babybrain and I lost it - probably in a diaper genie somewhere.

Your post was so true. Thanks for saying it.

I knew motherhood would be tough but I didn't know I'd be pushed the brink of insanity. I am very realistic about things so when my friends sans children ask me about my experience, I give them the raw truth. It's worth it and it's wonderful but sometimes? It really sucks. On one cheesy note, I have to say that it has made a much stronger, more confident person.

My favourite is when a friend babysits for 2 hours, and then tells me "He was such an angel, I think I'm going to be a really good mother!"

Not that she won't- but 2 hours is NO representation of the entire experience.

I have thought all those thought so many times. Forgive me for rambling here, but I have to spout off to SOMEONE... My first daughter happened to be unrealisticly easy, and I think she was God's little joke(so I would continue to reproduce, because Lord knows if my 2nd daughter had been born first I would only have ONE child). I often told people if I could handle my 2nd daughter's colic(read:undiagnosed GERD) and other problems I could survive anything.

...but then came the twins. I never actually met another twin mom, but I read every book I could find. I read about natural home birth VBAC of triplets, putting the babies on schedule, breastmilk only-NO BOTTLES not even with expressed milk, and was told again and again how easy it would be.

Ha! HA HA!! HA HA HA!!!

If anyone wants to know what its *really* like to parent twins, ask me. Ask me what its like when they are preemies and you can't breastfeed(pumped milk goes in a tube down their nose). Ak me how easy it is to 'get them on a like schedule'....the books make it sound SO simple(it is SOOOOO not.) Ask me what it is like to litterally go 3 1/2 days without even a NAP because one of them has their days and nights confused and the other doesn't, and parenting books say "nap when baby naps" but ONE IS ALWAYS F**KING AWAKE....

I frequetly went 6 days or more with no shower. Every author of every 'having twins' book can kiss my flabby white ass. lol

(Sorry for using your blog comments as a venting stage, darling...lol...won't do it again...still love ya)

Chantal ~

Great book rec. It's one of my faves.

Kristen, I would be worried if you weren't saying what you're saying. I wondered the same thing you did and I was pissed that no one told me it would be that hard and so freaking consuming. I'm still dealing with feeling that way. You find your way through and most of it is muddled. It's a curse and a blessing to both of you that your first is the one you learn on. It makes for one tough kid and a more relaxed Mom. Finding friendship with Moms who thought and parented like I do was a big way for me to release some of my angst.

Have you read "Misconceptions" by Naomi Wolfe? The entire book is about this very topic and approached the same way you did (that she focused her entire pregnancy on birth and nothing else).

Let me add that I think there is this false notion that we have to make it look easy - like if we walk around with our hair in a knot and sweats on that we are doing a dis-service to all mothers out there because we make it look like it's hard.

And honestly, I wish more people had done that for me - I felt this great need to do it "right" -whatever the hell that was...

I thought, how can it be that struggles with this. Writing a book or my master's thesis was about 200 times easier... BUT, where are those moms.

Maybe they didn't want to scare us either. :)

I agree with what you are saying Chantal.

I do feel, however, that no one (and I'm sure there are others) told me about the sleepless nights - like fine - you don't get sleep (I knew that) - but how bad it could get - OR, how hard it was to get them to nap - or when to have them nap or how to have them nap.

I focused on my labor and delivery and on nothing else - and no one told me otherwise.

I'm so lucky I had 12 nieces and nephews by the time I had my guys. I definitely knew what I was getting into.

Totally. All the moms I knew told me that newborns were great because they slept all the time. I wish! My fussy, cranky baby cried all the time, and refused to be put down. No one warned me about that.

I will also scare the hell out of anyone who asks what it's like. The rewards are wonderful, but the job is the hardest you'll ever do. I consider my blog a public service to those wanting children.

The thing with the childbirth and parenting classes is that they deal with the tangeable. Every mother is going to go through all of the details of those steps in some capacity. Every mother will birth a baby. Every mother will change a diaper. Every mother will be up at 2am. (And when I say "every", I mean the average Mom, not celebrities or crackheads). These are the things we can guarantee and tell you about in advance.

Where it gets to be grey and dependent on the individual is how you will feel. It's not the same for every person. It's not even the same for every baby that person has! Some women will have a baby and find themselves bored because it's so easy for them. Other women will have a hard time getting out of bed. I've been both of those women. There are no guarantees when it comes to emotions, especially when hormones are involved.

Knowing that, I think it's all about validation. People, women especially, have a fundamental need to feel validated and appreciated whether they find it easy or not. I think that female blogs have added an element of validation like we've never seen. That's a big deal. I don't think we need to "band together" and agree with everything everyone says. That's not real life. I like that women have found a voice and a place to state their opinions. I like that we feel safe enough to counter that opinion and disagree. In every opinion you have, you might be giving someone else the validation they are seeking. Does that make sense?

Keep on keeping on Moms!

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