10 Things I Hate About Motherhood (And One That I Love)

April 20, 2010

A writer at Newsweek wrote last week about how her son – and the general state of being that is motherhood – is torturing her. Then a writer at Jezebel responded to the story with something very close to exasperation: “I was left, as I often am by pieces on parenting, at sea. Nowadays, there is such a dichotomy at work: the hazy romanticizing of baby culture wars with the it’s-a-nightmare/I-don’t-love-my-child/I-wanted-another-sex” backlash and while one is surely designed to remedy the other, those of us who haven’t had a baby are left, ironically, with no very clear idea of the reality.” A consequence of this, apparently, is that childless women – unconvinced by the hazy romanticism of some stories and horrified by the ‘it’s-a-nightmare’ confessions of others – become terrified by the Unknowable But Very Probably Sort Of Horrible condition of motherhood and are put off having children. Population control!

The reality is, none of us can paint an entirely clear picture of the reality of motherhood, because the reality of motherhood defies tidy characterization. Which is why, arguably, we see so much cultural discourse about motherhood that skews strongly in one direction or the other: we are constantly trying to get our bearings, and sometimes it’s just easier to do so by telling ourselves that motherhood is just so undeniably all-around awesome or that holy hell this shit is HARD and sticking to those stories. And yes, those stories that skew dark are frightening, but then, so much of motherhood is frightening, notwithstanding the moments – and there are many – of awesome, so.

My stories skew in the latter direction, obviously, although I like to think that my love for my children and my love of being their mother comes through despite – or even because – those stories skew dark. In any case, I wouldn’t know how to tell those stories differently, because, although I have moments of hazy romanticism about motherhood, for the most I find mothering to be an extraordinarily tough gig, one that leaves me, at times, feeling – yes – tortured. But that’s mothering – the work of motherhood – and it’s something of a different beast than is the condition of motherhood, or the experience of being mother to one’s own children. The former can be tortuous. The latter can be sublime.

My own experience, broken down:

1.) Lack of sleep. The work of motherhood requires being on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and some – nay, if you are me, many – of the hours in which you can expect to be called will be between the hours of 12am and 6am. I have not slept a full night through in over four years. FOUR YEARS. I am exhausted. Yes, I have sleep-trained. I have even worked with a sleep doula. There is nothing, nothing, that keeps my children from waking in the night, and as I draw the line at drugging them or gagging them and taping them to their beds, I fully expect to die of sleep deprivation sometime in the next few years.

2.) Pregnancy. I loved my first pregnancy, for about three months in the second trimester. The rest of it, and the entirety of my second pregnancy, was a hell of vomiting and anxiety and back pain and heartburn and amniocentesis terror and belly itching and sleeplessness and vomiting and anxiety ETC. And then, of course, childbirth.

3.) Recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. Torn nethers. Breastfeeding-ravaged boobies. Bigger feet. Bigger ass. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can probably never put your body back together exactly the way that it was before you had children, especially if you have your kids in your thirties and do not employ a personal trainer and plastic surgeon.

4.) Postpartum depression. It’s depression. It sucks. A lot.

5.) Childrens’ television. This was referenced in the Newsweek article, and rightly so. With a few notable exceptions (Sesame Street; much of what airs on PBS Kids), much of what passes for childrens’ television programming seems designed for the express purpose of driving you to grab fistfuls of well-sharpened pencils and jab yourself relentlessly in the ears. The Wonderpets are the reason that I hide sharp objects when the television comes on.

6.) Child maintenance. Children need to be fed and clothed. It is easier to feed and clothe wild animals than it is to feed and clothe some children – my children, specifically, who live on a diet of carbohydrates, mangos, bananas, pickles and candy and who have more particular and eccentric clothing tastes than Lady Gaga, to the extent that one refuses to wear anything other than three layers of Disney t-shirts under a tutu. To wit:

budge style

7.) Diapers. Also, potty training. The work of motherhood involves a lot of shit work, I’ll just say that. And, if you have a boy, expect to get peed on. A lot. Also: tub shits. TUB SHITS.

8.) Laundry/housekeeping. (This one, like ‘diapers,’ above, could probably be rolled into ‘child maintenance,’ but I loathe it so much that it deserves a category of its own.) Children make messes. Big messes. And they generate mounds of laundry and you spend hours and hours washing and drying and sorting and folding and putting-into-drawers but they will still refuse to wear anything other than that one Cars t-shirt, that other Cars t-shirt and the black sparkled tutu. (See above re: Lady Gaga, tub shits.)

9.) Mommy brain. Sleep deprivation, over-exposure to the Wonderpets and the near-constant hum of why-why-why-why-Mommy-why fries your brain. It just does. That’s why there are mommy blogs – we need to constantly poke at our mushified brain matter with popsicle sticks and pablum spoons and deflated binkies to remind ourselves that some of our synapses are still firing. Maybe.

10.) Fear. Loving a child means spending countless hours, days, weeks, years fearing for that child. You fear that they will be hurt, that they will become sick, that they will die, you fear that you will die and they will be orphaned, you fear that they will ask you about death and you won’t have an answer; you fear that they will be the one kid in their kindergarten class that isn’t invited to that one girl’s birthday party; you fear that they will never love books as much as you do; you fear that they will worry about their looks; you fear that their heart will someday be broken. You lay awake at night worrying about the fact that their heart will someday be broken. You lay awake at night, worrying. Which is why, on those rare nights when the children sleep right through? You’re still not sleeping.

But, then – and at risk of sounding unbearably, banally romantic – there is this:

1.) My children. Who are amazing, inspiring creatures and who fill my life with such light and love as to nearly, at times, overwhelm me. Who make me laugh and who make me cry and who make me laugh until I cry, every single day. Who make me grateful for my soft belly and squishy boobs and for my messy hair and my undereye circles and my scars, because these are the markers of this work that I do – this tiring, often frustrating work – and of the miracles that I have produced and that I am, every day, producing, through this work; these miracles, my children, without whom I would not know love as completely as I do. My children, for whom I do this work, if not gladly, then without regret. My children, who make it possible for me to bitch tirelessly about motherhood while still feeling, deeply, to the very tips of my toes and possibly even further, that this motherhood thing is the most beautiful – the most hazily, gauzily, barefoot-in-a-field-of-daisies romantic – thing in the world.

And if I’m clutching a bottle of tequila and an Ativan prescription while spinning through that field of daisies… well, as I said: it’s complicated. Wonderfully, terribly, delightfully so.

Quick: what’s the number one thing that you hate about motherhood? And then, what do you love? (Your kids, no doubt, but feel free to say “I get to spend rainy afternoons watching cartoons and eating cookies” or “three-martini playdates.” I won’t judge.)

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    { 156 comments }

    Lisa aka pbajmom April 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    What I hate about Motherhood is how helpless you can feel when you send your children out into the world, and they experience: bullying, discrimination, pain, heartache, etc..

    What I love about Mother hood is being blessed to have and know these wonderful human beings I call “my kids.” It feels great to be the one person in the world they can run to to share their personal accomplishments, good times and laughter with.

    melissa April 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    i just wrote a post about this the other day. i love my kids, i really do. but sometimes i want to run away from home.
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..To All The Arrogant Assholes In The Kingdom =-.

    Danielle C April 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I love this piost! Especially number 9. mommy blogs are crucial for our mushy brains.
    Well written!

    Danielle C April 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Sorry for the typos.. I have been up since 3:30am.. It shows..
    .-= Danielle C´s last blog ..Mama Loves Twitter =-.

    Stefanie April 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I’m a WAHM with two kids under 4 (with no nanny OR housekeeper and no television).

    The thing that gets to me most, is the ceaseless talking. My oldest is CONSTANTLY making noise. If it’s not the repeated questions to me, she’s talking to her stuffies or singing songs with made up and mangled words. I’m a person who needs a little peace and quiet to function… the endless rambling for no apparent reason drives me BANANAS. I find it truly exhausting mentally to listen to her go on and on.

    felt good to write that down. There’s no way I’m alone on that one.
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..SALE Earth Day Enviro-Wrap =-.

    Stefanie April 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Oh RIGHT! I love playing with the kids… it’s so hard to do it at home, without worrying about messes or groceries or the million other things to do at home. But we sure do have a good time playing together. I make sure we get at least a few hours in every day.
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..SALE Earth Day Enviro-Wrap =-.

    a April 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Oh, Stefanie, you are not alone. There isn’t a day that goes by in our house where the words “Could you please stop talking for just 5 minutes???” are not uttered.
    .-= a´s last blog ..An open letter to Kodak =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    OH MY GOD THE TALKING.

    I have thought, more than once, that one could die from the talking. Why do we never talk about that?

    Angel Smith April 20, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    And why is it that when in an enclosed space, like, oh, say, the family vehicle, the chatter gets even more unbearable. I just want to crank my music without hearing complaints from the amateur DJs in the backseat!
    .-= Angel Smith´s last blog ..But sometimes it *is* all rainbows and butterflies. =-.

    Alexicographer April 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Oh, god. Thanks for writing (commenting) about this. The talking! I seriously and earnestly believe that there ought to be special support groups for introverts who are parents. Maybe there are and we call them blogs.

    Really, I had no idea how this small person’s refusal just to LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE ALREADY (AND SHUT UP) would wear on my psyche.

    (Then I snuggle him, and it’s all good.)

    (Also I do realize that in the blink of an eye I’m going to be complaining that he “sleeps ’til noon and won’t talk to me” or, in other words, has become a teenager)

    Major Bedhead April 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I often get that phrase from The Grinch stuck in my head: “The noise, oh the noise, oh the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!” My kids are noisy, energetic little boogers who exclaim LOUDLY over everything they see. The keep up a constant narrative of their day and it exhausts me. Even the 15 year old, who is supposed to be quiet and surly, yaks my ear off. Most of the time, I can tune it out a bit and sometimes it makes me scream with laughter because they are funny, funny little things. But good god, what I wouldn’t give for a little peace and quiet.
    .-= Major Bedhead´s last blog ..Yet More About Boo =-.

    Adelas May 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I distinctly remember one of our yearly week-long family road trips. My brother and I (perhaps 7 and 9, or thereabouts) had been harassing and sniping at each other for days. One day we woke up on the right sides of our respective beds, and were in the backseat enjoying each other’s company, and laughing. One or both of our parents stepped in, at that point, and snapped at us to be quiet. I remember being completely perplexed. We were being nice! We loved each other! We were LAUGHING for pete’s sake!

    And then I had my own beloved children. And I finally understood.

    Ann April 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I could almost cry with joy that I am not alone on this one. I love my little guys voice. I think it is so sweet I almost can’t stand it. But when he goes on and on and on and on especially when I have a thousand other things on my mind I feel like my head is going to burst and then to top it off I feel guilty for not wanting to listen to him.

    Thanks so much for the post.

    sandi May 1, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Sorry, I mind the noise but when it gets close to intolerable I think I have a special gene that enables me, literally, to tune them out. I just have a conversation with myself in my head about my work, my friends, things I want to discuss with my husband, things I want to research by Googling them. Try it.

    Jen May 10, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    @Stefanie, You are not alone, the talking, talking, talking can drive one mad. But then one day you’ll realize that they’re not talking much anymore…and you’ll miss it dreadfully. My 7 year old son used to talk my ear off. Now I can’t get him to tell me more than 3 words about his day at school. How I now miss those days when he told me every little thing…

    Carrie April 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I hate the sleep deprivation

    I love the laughter and the hugs and the joy of experiencing everything new again
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..The first bounce of the year =-.

    Saisquoi April 20, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Right now, what I hate most about motherhood is the inability to care for myself. I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out how to keep my toddler from killing herself or destroying the house whilst running to the bathroom every 2 minutes. Damned stomach bug.

    But the best part? Is my daughter herself. This morning she woke up wanting nothing more than to dole out hugs and drooly baby kisses. Which almost makes yesterday’s bathroom relay worth it.
    .-= Saisquoi´s last blog ..Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls — A Review =-.

    Adelas May 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    This is mine, too. Feeling compelled – to the fullest sense of that word – to put the children before myself. While I am compelled, I still resent it. Then I feel guilty for resenting it, and back again, ad nauseum. I hate that they have stolen from me my ability to take care of myself. And I get angry at my husband for still being able to put himself first, while being jealous of the ability.

    As for the best part, I think it’s a tie between (1) being able to delight another person, constantly, whether by my actions or with gifts or whatever and (2)that unexplainable pride in their accomplishments.
    .-= Adelas´s last blog ..Maybe you’d better check for that, too =-.

    Tabatha April 20, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    The thing I hate most? Discipline. I hate walking that fine line of making my kid a socially responsible human being and irreparably damaging him forever, depending on my reactions to situations. Hate hate hate. Also temper tantrums, because I’m not a patient person and my kid gets his bullheadedness from me. That’s hell in a handbasket, let me tell you.

    But I love that right now, at 13 months, he’s beginning to show affection. He just leans in to give me kisses, without warning, or will scoot across the house to pull up on my legs and hug me, smile brightly, and then go about his business. It breaks my heart (in that good way) every time.
    .-= Tabatha´s last blog ..Just Metal and Stone. =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Oh, I know – the fear of our own failure. I meant to include that, actually, and then forgot it in my stream-of-consciousness of other fears. But yes, yes – fear of not disciplining enough; fear of disciplining too much. SIGH.

    Tabatha April 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    It’s terrible! Especially at this age (toddler) when you can’t explain or reason with them. UGH. I just try to remind myself that it’ll all be okay in the end, he’ll be okay, I’ll be okay, and sure, I’ll probably make mistakes, but we’ll be okay.
    .-= Tabatha´s last blog ..Just Metal and Stone. =-.

    Jen April 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Oh Tabatha, you will never be able to reason with them. I have an 18 year old girl and a 9 year old boy. I can not reason with either of them. She knows it all and he is just a stubborn pita! (pain in the A$$). I hate the arguing and love the kisses. Oh and I hate the fact my 18 year old is a so called “adult” now!

    Bobbi Janay @When did I go from a kid to a grown up? April 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Wow, what a post and at the moment I hate everything. I am overwhelmed with what life is handing me.
    .-= Bobbi Janay @When did I go from a kid to a grown up?´s last blog ..When does the lasanga hit me in the face? =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Dude, I totally have days like that too. We all do.

    Carrie at NaturalMomsTalkRadio April 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I HATE being pregnant too! Ugh, nobody could pay me enough to be a surrogate mom. Now birth is pretty cool, I could do that for another woman, but pregnancy? UGH. 9 months of unrelenting nausea, fatigue, nothing tasting right, heartburn, sciatica all night, UGH.

    The bickering among sibs is what gets to me. It’s probably the only thing I hate about m-hood.
    .-= Carrie at NaturalMomsTalkRadio´s last blog ..You Know It’s Your Third Trimester When… =-.

    Tatiana April 20, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I hate that I feel so bitter and resentful when I can’t get her to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. I love her desperately and I don’t mind soothing/nursing her to sleep, it’s just when I put her down and she wakes up and cries… ugh. I get so angry :(
    .-= Tatiana´s last blog ..Practicing her theatre =-.

    Krystal Grant April 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I hate that there is no autopilot for children. They always need SOMETHING. I wish there was a remote control that I had to press “pause” and have them just stop. Or maybe I could twitch my nose like Bewitch and have them disappear for an hour or two.

    But then, as you said I just love them. Knowing that I have 3 beauties that were actually grown inside my own body is amazing. To know that above all else, I’m “mom” and I supercede all other things in their lives…for now.

    Carla April 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I hate how often motherhood leaves me feeling so terribly inadequate…
    Oh, and there’s only one thing I fear more than something happening to my daughter.
    Tub shits.
    I’m horrified. I can’t even imagine. I will immediately surrender the daughter to social services and myself to the psych unit.
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..One Tough Cookie =-.

    habanerogal April 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I love that I have prepared them well enough for life in the “learn how to look after yourself” department. However at times I feel like they are just tenants living in my house eating all of my food and that can be frustrating. I love their fierce independence
    .-= habanerogal´s last blog ..A Quickie Quitting Update =-.

    Zoeyjane April 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    What I hate most is the constant second-guessing of myself, my motives, my actions, and how they will affect my daughter’s psyche, practices and grown-up-self. That I spend some amount of time each day censoring the words ‘hate’ and ‘stupid’ from our vocabulary, because it’s ever so important to me that she sees things as multi-sided at all points, but that I worry that disallowing language is akin to telling her that she’s not allowed to make her own judgments, either. That in my intent to raise an open, hippy-girl, whose empathy never dies, I might be raising one who doesn’t have the ability to defend herself, or put up walls where they may in fact be needed.

    What I love most? That she IS the quintessential open, hippy-girl, filled with empathy and wonder, who thinks nothing of befriending anyone, because the idea of trust being earned isn’t a concept within her grasp. That she sees every single person she encounters as human, and therefore worthy of her attention.
    .-= Zoeyjane´s last blog ..On a different kind of plane =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Emilia is totally that kind of hippy girl, and I love it. I also love that she’s an unrepentant tomboy. LOVE.

    And the second-guessing, yes. I said something along those lines in a response to another comment – fear of my own failure as a parent. It’s gut-wrenching sometimes.

    Monabookgirl April 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    What I hate about being a mother is the thought that someday he will go off into the world and have to fend for himself. And I may not have taught him everything he will need and he will fail at some point ( because we all do) and he will feel alone (again, we always do at some point) and there is nothing I can really do to totally prepare him for it.

    What I love is hearing him laugh. When I hear him laugh at some stupid booger joke I know that, for now at least, everything is right with his world. And that makes everything right in my world.

    Martha April 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I hate the fear of not being able to protect and keep them safe always….especially knowing some things just have to be done and worked through!

    I love just watching them play and interacting with them, seeing how their minds get where they need to go. Seeing that light in their eyes when they get it…and all the hugs and kisses too!

    Roberta April 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    The hardest thing for me is the sleep deprivation. Society just doesn’t prepare us for that, or give us reasonable expectations for how babies and children actually sleep (or don’t sleep). Our working lives don’t give us ways or room to cope or catch up. That sleep debt for me is the thing that makes everything else harder – decisionmaking, patience, worry.

    What I love is what I find in myself (despite the sleep deprivation) when I see my daughter first thing in the morning. At 17 months, she smiles and chatters and runs and climbs and hugs. And even with my bleary eyes, spent body, I find in the mother part of myself some unknown well of happiness and patience and love as I smile back, chatter back, hug back, and chase her down the hall into the morning.
    .-= Roberta´s last blog ..Seventeen months =-.

    a April 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I hate the fear. It’s all-consuming.

    I love when she understands a concept and applies it to life. Watching her learn is so wonderful. Also, coloring is fun sometimes.
    .-= a´s last blog ..An open letter to Kodak =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I like coloring. I do. Not when I get yelled at for doing it wrong, but still. Oddly calming and satisfying.

    Terri April 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I love this! Well said!

    Jessica April 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I hate being needed all the time. It is, of course, the thing I love most – they need me all the time. Me. They need Me. They want Me.

    Linda April 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I hate hate hate the unending sacrifice. I do it. But I hate it.

    I love love love that belly laugh. The one they do when you surprise them or delight them or just overwhelm them with love. I love that sound more than anything else about motherhood. (Oh! And the excuse to bake cookies.)

    Grumble Girl April 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    What I hate about it all? The “stuckness” I often feel. It certainly IS a 24/7 365 job, and man does it ever blow sometimes. I know I won’t regret this time of being at home with them when I’m old though… and I never thought I would could laugh this hard – like, my cheeks hurts from smiling so much sometimes. That’s pretty terrific.

    I loved this post, Sugar. Thanks.
    .-= Grumble Girl´s last blog ..Making Tracks is Easy When You Ain’t Pushing a Stroller =-.

    Danica April 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    One thing I hate is my lack of control. And I try my hardest to not be a controlling parent. I want them to be their own people. But the older they get, the less and less control there is. Their attitude. The horrible habits they pick up from their peers. Who their friends are. Some days – their outfit. And other things too. Threats from the outside, like child predators and life threatening disease. Lack of control is the thing I hate the most.

    The thing I like the best is what I get to witness. Individual people are fascinating beings. I get to watch two of them form, right through every stage of life (until I die) right before my very eyes. Also, getting a child’s perspective on life really shakes me out of some of the boring adult routines I have accustomed myself to. Fun fun!

    Great post. I agree, and I laughed out loud at the mention of tub shits. Ahhhh tub shits.
    .-= Danica´s last blog ..Mission Accomplished =-.

    Ali April 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    The laundry. Oh God how I hate the laundry. He’s been really angry lately too, I don’t understand it but he’s so furious. He just started school full-time and 9-3.30 is a long time for a four year old. I just keep telling myself he’s tired.

    I love watching him while he sleeps. Probably because he isn’t making a mess or talking.

    I was in a room full of mums the other day and we were all bitching about motherhood and one women said ‘but if we went back, we’d all do it again wouldn’t we?’ I kept my mouth shut, but honestly? If I could go back six years and know what I know now, then no, I wouldn’t do it again.

    Mary (BarnMaven) April 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Number one best thing about motherhood – the love. My kids love their babysitter, adore her, but because of the marriage issues and money issues, they haven’t seen her in a while. My daughter asked me in the car the other day “Mommy, when are we going to see [favorite babysitter] again?” I said “well, I don’t have anything planned. Would you like me to go away for a night so you can have your babysitter?” Her response? “Oh NO, Mommy, I’d much rather spend time with YOU! I just miss [favorit babysitter] sometimes, that’s all.” MELT.

    Worst part? Feeling like I’m on call 24/7 to the most asshole boss in the universe. “MOMMY! YOU SAID I COULD HAVE AN OTTER POP! WHERE’S MY OTTER POP????” Ummm, in case you didn’t notice, I’m elbow deep in making YOUR DINNER.” Doesn’t matter how important you might think what you’re doing is, it takes second fiddle to your kids’ whims.

    I still love them and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Well, anything cheap. Maybe vodka and chocolate. And I’m afraid I have to point out that’s meant to be tongue in cheek in case any humorless types are reading this. :D
    .-= Mary (BarnMaven)´s last blog ..Saddle Sore =-.

    sandi May 1, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Thanks for the laugh Mary. I LOVE that “on call 24/7 to the most asshole boss in the universe”!

    Adventures In Babywearing April 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Honestly I hate the responsibility, and the incessant talking. I wish there could be an on & off switch. Yeah, we learn to tune them out but still… It would be nice to just leave, or have quiet.

    But what I love? That being their mother gives me the sense of purpose my soul has searched for all my life. I know this is what I’m meant for, and that it will (and does) lead me to great things.

    Steph
    .-= Adventures In Babywearing´s last blog ..Vitamin D =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    “But what I love? That being their mother gives me the sense of purpose my soul has searched for all my life. I know this is what I’m meant for, and that it will (and does) lead me to great things.”

    Yes. Yes. Perfectly said.

    LD April 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    What I miss the most is the ability to disconnect. Even when I’m away from my kids I still always have my blackberry on and I’m constantly worrying/thinking/planning for my kids.
    I really and truly miss the odd Sunday afternoon where I could collapse alone on the couch, watch a movie on tv and veg with not a concern in the world.

    But what I love … more than anything it’s the cuddles. You know, the fresh out of bed, not quite awake snuggling up quietly cuddles. Worth it.
    (and the love, of course)
    .-= LD´s last blog ..Proud =-.

    Miranda April 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I hate feeling like I have to constantly supply entertainment and then feeling like a horrible mother when all we do is watch TV for a whole week straight! It’s hard to get outside, fingerpaint, teach colors, etc with a 22 month old, when you have a 9 month old getting pissed because he’s stuck in the stroller, trying to eat the paint, and grabbing the book of colors, etc…

    I LOVE seeing my two children play together and how they love each other and me. The spontaneous kisses, hugs, “Muah” “Love you” makes it all worth it!

    Iris April 20, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I hate the exhausting, tedious child maintenance that never ends. I hate not ever being thanked or admired or praised for the job of parenting. If I could get one measly performance review a year when someone would look me in the eye and say, “That was terrific. You should be proud of what you did. Keep up the good work. And you might think about doing less/more of that. I think you should work on X.” That would be awesome sauce.

    I love it when she laughs, when I can make her laugh, when I can jolly her out of bad mood, and when she cracks me up. I love her spontaneous hugs and kisses with her skinny little arms around my neck. I love it when I put my hand out when we get out of the car and she takes it without hesitation. I know one day I will reach for her hand and she won’t give it to me. I will hate that.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Oh, the laughter, I know. Is bliss in aural form.

    Amber McN April 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Hate: The fear explosion. You know, when you hear the word “mine!” for the first time and you imagine a life time of a spoiled bratty child that is yours and you somehow didn’t raise him right and and and… Like today when the detist said “underbite” and I imagined mocking and bullies and dentist bills and how can I keep even the tiniest issue from affecting him. In other words: “HOW AM I FUCKING HIM UP NOW” and constantly worrying about it.
    Love: Him. When he wants hugs and kisses and only mommy can make him better when he’s hurt. Then? I’m superwoman.

    Elizabeth April 21, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Fear explosion–great description. I feel exactly the same way. In my mind I go from my son hitting me as a three year old to his future life of crime. And honestly, he is a really good kid, but I just panic sometimes (or all the time) both when he messes up and when something bad happens.

    Lasha April 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I hate the sleep thing. Going on three years here. And you are so right about those nights that occasionally happen. I don’t sleep through, regardless. And I have abandoned most attempts at the upkeep of the house. I don’t know how anyone is good at that (although my sisters-in-law seem to manage fine).

    But I LOVE seeing her becoming more and more herself. Right now, at just 3, I love that she draws elaborate pictures and tells me elaborate stories about them. I love watching her thinking her own thoughts and formulating questions (well, not the “why” so much). I love how she throws herself into what she loves so completely. I’m just in awe that I get to be here to help her discover herself and her world, despite the sometimes drudgery of it all.

    Sara April 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I love these answers so much.

    I hate that he can no longer put himself to or back to sleep. No warning – no idea why. It makes me feel inadequate and useless.

    I LOVE waking up next to him in the morning. Like love it like I’ve never loved anything else.

    double edged sword I guess…
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Contest: Win some Boob for telling about your boobs! =-.

    Jennifer Juniper April 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    What I hate about motherhood…

    the constant change. Once I feel like I’ve got it down, a whole other set if issues present themselves. I can never stay ahead and feel like I’m doing well at this job. I keep trying and plundering along, always second guessing myself, trying to do my best yet never really knowing if I am.

    What I love?

    I love kid kisses and hugs more than anything in this world.

    I love cuddling under a blanket together watching movies on Friday nights.

    I love to hear the giggles of two boys who are up late talking when they are supposed to be sleeping.

    I love a sleepy boy stumbling into my bed first thing in the morning.

    I love “I love you, mom.”

    I
    .-= Jennifer Juniper´s last blog ..Easy T-Shirt Necklace Tutorial =-.

    kittenpie April 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Well yes, it’s hard to write without leaning too far one way or the other not only because it IS both, and all at once, and mixed up and complicated, but also because it’s writing, which lends us to lay our point at one door or another for the moment that we are writing and also, as well, because every women is different and has different reactions and expectations and things she loves or hates or misses and on top of that, every hour of parenting is different, so OF COURSE there are mixed messages. Hell, I get mixed messages about my own experience from my own brain, so how would I express anything else? The trick I think is most often, to read widely and figure it lies somewhere in the middle, or wavers in between.

    As for me – I think it’s the sleep deprivation that I loathe the most, though those times of testing the limits would run a close second. I love most the hugging of my small children to me, running my haggard cheek over their velvety ones, burying my kisses in their silken hair, holding small warm hands in mine. The physical nearness of such small, sweet creatures is such a joy, though bittersweet, and because it’s not simple, the very bittersweetness of it is, I think, part of what makes it extra sweet, knowing that it is a temporary state to be able to cuddle and love on them in that way.

    Mac & Cheese April 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I hate the way the day starts each morning. I wake up grumpy, and too early, and spend the next hour doing everything for everyone but me.

    I love watching them at play, showing off things that I may have actually taught them!
    .-= Mac & Cheese´s last blog ..Alternative Therapy =-.

    heidi April 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I hate that I’m never quite sure how I’m doing.

    I love who they are turning into – so far.

    2 more…

    Hate the incessant talking.

    Love when they play together.
    .-= heidi´s last blog ..My mind, in bullets so you don’t get lost =-.

    Peggy Brister April 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    The one thing I hate about motherhood is that my 2 youngest are only a year apart and it was like raising twins. 2 in car seats, 2 in diapers, 2 high chairs,2 crying in the middle of the night.
    But the thing I love about motherhood is that eventually they grow up to feed themselves, wipe their own butt, and sometimes, for a brief nanosecond, entertain themselves in thier room. That part doesn’t usually last long. But it happens.
    I also love being able to homeschool my kids nad watch them learn. That’s a joy.
    .-= Peggy Brister´s last blog ..Spoiled kids? Raise your hand! =-.

    michelle April 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    hardest: how having children has upped the stakes for the environmental crisis. I worry so much about what kind of world my girls will grow up in, how many species will be extinct by the time they are adults, what will climate change do to their quality of life, etc. and at the same time feeling kind of powerless to make any kind of meaningful change.

    best: the sense of purpose and clarity I have now about what I am doing with my life. pre-kids I was unclear about what kind of career I wanted and agonized over whether anything I wanted to do was worth doing. Now all that anxiety is gone. Being a mother is worth doing and I am doing it. Also our whole-family cuddles are pretty awesome. :)

    Karen April 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    We call those cuddle puddles around here.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Rat Pics! =-.

    Loukia April 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I love this post so much. I might just have to do my own!
    .-= Loukia´s last blog ..Brothers =-.

    Trilby April 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I hate the worry and fear. I worry about/have a lot of fears concerning, a lot of things where my 2 boys (17 months and 3.5 years) are concerned. Are they well adjusted? Am I doing this right? Am I screwing them up?

    I love the… well, the LOVE. I love seeing my husband be a father. I love seeing the love and affection on my children’s faces. And those kisses and hugs aren’t too bad either!

    Jennie April 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I’m a SAHM of two little boys under 2. I love the sweet tenderness that occurs with little ones. How they trust me completely, and I’ve been trusted by the Gods to be their guide. . .

    I loathe the loneliness that occurs with being a SAHM and the mushy brain!! How I miss reading a good book. But, these times are short, so I try to relish them as much as possible.

    Great post!

    mimi April 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I hate the sleep deprivation. It. Is. Killing. Me.

    I love the kind of adoring look / hug / lick / eye-poke / toe-kiss you will only ever get from a kid that belongs to you. There is nothing like the passion of a toddler for her mother.
    .-= mimi´s last blog ..Tighter, Closer, Sweeter =-.

    Karen April 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    “There is nothing like the passion of a toddler for her mother.”

    That sums this all up. The good stuff anyways.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Rat Pics! =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Totally.

    Barbi April 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I love, love, love this post. We so need this kind of honestly out there.

    I hate the constant clean up, It never seems to be done. But I am working on that my girls are 7 1/2 and 5 so they are becoming part of the labour force around here. I also hate it when my husband asks me why I am so tired. I really could strangle him……if I wasn’t so tired! ; )

    I love my girls smiles, giggles, sister chatter. My oldest is very kind soul, my youngest is a comedian and fiery in both good and bad ways but both are so very awesome! : )

    MichelleRenee April 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I love when THEIR JOY brings ME JOY.

    I DISLIKE when my children act like JACKASSES and I respond like a JACKASS.
    .-= MichelleRenee´s last blog ..Day 19 =-.

    Sara April 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I hate the constant neediness – the never ending litany of someone needing something. It feels like they are just pulling little bits of me off all day every day without enough time to rejuvenate.

    I also love to be the one they needs. I love to be the one person who can console a bumped head or hurt feelings. I love that no matter how big they get, their heads still fit perfectly into the crook in my neck like a missing puzzle piece.

    Such is the dichotomy of motherhood…
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..It’s been a blah sort of week… =-.

    Melissa April 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    HATE: Never having any time to myself. I am a WOHM and I wake every morning, dress, run to train, work for 8 hours, rush to train, rush to daycare and then through the worst time of the day.

    The pre-dinner hour with the two-year-old is just awful. Whiny, clingy yet also needing food that requires both my hands to make. Then dinner which is picked at. Then demands for story reading and bedtime resistance, followed by a brief interval of time with the husband and then bed to try for somewhere around 7 hrs sleep.

    My therapist tells me I should spend more time on myself, including gym time. Oh yeah, when should I do that? After evenings when I’m so tired from office work and reading Dora for the 6th time in a row to avoid a meltdown all I want to do is sit in complete silence? Weekends when I’m trying to do and fold mountains of laundry, food shop, clean house, get to the drycleaners, and return library books?

    LOVE: The talking. It drives me a little nuts but to hear what is going on in there is amazing. I’m blown away by the funny, insane, nonsensical imaginative things she says. And how she invents these explanations for things happening around her. How she describes something as smelling perfect. Or how happy she is to recognize a letter in a store sign and then sing the ABCs.

    Forgotten April 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I hate the weaning…I’m doing it right now. She acts like she’s starving to death even though I’ve seen her drink a sippy cup full of milk before and she just refuses to do it for me because she knows I’ve got the goods. I just want some time to cook dinner, I swear. And OMG! The horror of not getting the before bed boob. Sheesh!

    But on the flip side I absolutely love the time I get to snuggle her up close and feed her because I feel like I’m doing the best thing for her, blah blah blah, etc. *insert mushy reference to angel’s faces and sweet baby sighs in the night* I know you get me on this one…
    .-= Forgotten´s last blog ..My First Birth Story, Part 4 (or how I ended up with twins…) =-.

    Jen April 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I hate the crying. Crying, CRYING, always with the CRYING. I have a 7 month old special needs baby who also happens to be colicky. It’s a special kind of torture.

    But if I had to give up or never have had my baby to stop the crying, then give me crying any day of the week and double time on Sunday.

    Because while the bad stuff sucks and drives a person mad and isn’t always worth going through to get to the good stuff; the good stuff is so unbelievably good that it makes life worth living.

    Erin April 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    HATE: How unrelenting it is – how little quiet space there is for me. I’m an introvert, and had *no idea* how hard the constant, unrelenting responsibility would be on me. #2 how lonely/isolating it is sometimes.

    LOVE: I’m blown away by the joy my little guy brings me, just by existing. He is so full of joy and spreads it everywhere. (And on a smaller scale I really really loved breastfeeding.)

    Emily April 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I hate: the constant multi-decibel noise level and the constant, CONSTANT mess.

    I love: spontaneous hugs and kisses and their ability to love unconditionally–and forgive me for being the lamest mother on earth. I am, promise.
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..Evonne’s baby shower, Part 2: The party =-.

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