I don’t always enjoy being a mother. I realize that in the age of “The Supermom” this is an incredibly heretical statement, but it’s true. It’s not that I don’t enjoy motherhood, or that I don’t love my son. On the contrary, I do both. I view my son as a beautiful blessing from God, but all blessings can be a bit of a pain at times, can’t they? I mean, the Israelites were blessed with the land of Canaan, but then there was the issue of those pesky Canaanites to resolve. In my son’s case, our pesky issue is sleep. It’s not that he can’t sleep through the night; he can, and does, just not consistently. So, it’s mornings like these, after I’ve been up with him a few times in the night and am tired and cranky that I think one baby-free night of sleep would be nice.
The problem with thoughts such as this, is that they elicit an immediate backlash of guilt and remorse from within. Our society has created this image of “The Supermom” in which such thoughts are unacceptable. As a mother, “The Supermom” says, you give yourself over completely to your child, and you love every minute of it. Not only does this logic seem dangerous to me, it doesn’t seem humanly possible. Maybe it’s just the people I hang around with, but I don’t know any other moms who love every minute of motherhood. I also don’t know many moms who don’t want to get away from their children every now and then. We just don’t talk about it. It’s become one of the new taboos in our society. There’s a lot of pressure out there to be “The Supermom”. I remember an incident shortly after our son was born when my husband took our son to work with him for the afternoon so I could get some rest. I spent much of that time crying because of the guilt I felt being really happy to be free from our son for a bit. I still feel a little bad just thinking about that. But, that’s the reality of motherhood. It’s hard, and challenging, and consuming, and energy-draining. It’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done and something I truly delight in every day. However, when you throw a marriage and full-time job on top of it, there’s not a lot of room for yourself.
I’ve learned over the past eight months, that despite what “The Supermom” says, you can’t do it all. When I’m fully devoted to my job, things slip at home, and when I’m fully devoted to home, things slip at work. There’s no perfect balance. So, as my wise mother told me, you just have to figure out what sort of balance works best for you and then be comfortable with it. Forget “The Supermom”. She’s to motherhood what the Stepford Wife was to homemaker. The majority of us out there don’t live in that world. (Check out Po Johnson’s article for Time Magazine on this subject at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1541260,00.html) Most of us moms out there love our children, we love being moms, but sometimes, we just need a break. Or, in my case, a nice long nap.
Blessings and Peace,