Of all the names I’ve ever been called, I’m most honored to be called Mom.
And yet, as all the mamas are well aware, Mommin’ ain’t easy.
My first baby was only five weeks old on my first Mother’s Day.
Like many mothers, I had Mother’s Day fantasies. You know the ones:
- Sleeping in
- Breakfast in bed
- A leisurely, hot shower
- Heartfelt card and flowers
- A hot meal at a restaurant
Go ahead, you can laugh. I’m laughing over here, too. We can be so naive the first time around, can’t we? Let’s just say that my first Mother’s Day was a stark contrast to the fantasies I coveted.
First of all, when you have a 5-week-old, you aren’t sleeping. Therefore, sleeping in is impossible.
Breakfast in bed also didn’t happen… unless you’re talking about the nonstop nursing that was going on.
The leisurely hot shower, heartfelt card, and flowers, and hot meal out on the town didn’t happen either.
What did happen was this thing called colic.
Colic had rolled into town when my son was just shy of three weeks old, but that first Mother’s Day was our very first experience with full-throttle colic. When I tell you that our son cried from sun-up until well past sun-down, with the sole exception of a twenty-minute catnap or two, I am not exaggerating. (If you have parented a child with colic, you are hearing that God-awful cry in your mind right now. Is your blood pressure rising as you read?)
I spent the morning of my very first Mother’s Day bouncing and shushing and pacing and singing and trying to grin and bear it. This is motherhood, people! I signed up for this!
By noon (How is it only lunch time?!), I was crying with him.
My husband tried to help. He offered to hold the baby, but as all moms of colicky kiddos know, the colic is ever so slightly better when mom is holding the child. And although I desperately wanted a break, I couldn’t bear to hear the crying get any worse.
My husband, helpless, asked, “What can I do?”
With tears in my eyes, I growled, “There’s nothing to do,” and continued bouncing and shushing and pacing and crying.
This was not the Mother’s Day I had imagined. It was not what I had hoped for. I was beyond tired, hormonal, and beginning to feel very angry.
My husband, not knowing what to do, retreated to the basement where he built a shelf for our laundry room.
An hour or so later, he emerged from the basement during one of our son’s brief catnaps. I was sprawled on the couch, unshowered, too on-edge to nap or shower or do anything.
I felt empty, a shell of myself.
When my husband told me he had built a laundry shelf, I started bawling. I felt terribly for doing so, because I could see the hurt in his eyes, but laundry was the last thing I wanted to think about.
Especially on Mother’s Day.
I was mourning my Mother’s Day and yet I lacked the words, and the energy, to explain this to him. And so I put my head in my hands and cried as my husband sat silently beside me. We were shell-shocked new parents, adjusting to our new normal.
I don’t remember dinner. I don’t remember a shower. I don’t remember much of anything up until the moment when we realized our son was finally asleep for the night. Now, “for the night” meant that we were almost guaranteed a two-hour chunk before heading back into battle. We sat beside each other, exhausted, and laughed about what a craptastic day it had been.
My sweet husband offered to go out and get us some ice cream, an attempt to salvage the day.
But I was too tired.
And so I ended that first Mother’s Day as I had started it: unshowered and exhausted, but with a deep understanding that Mommin’ ain’t easy.
I can’t remember if we had the stomach virus my second or third Mother’s Day, but that one wasn’t easy either. One year my husband was working and the kids were coming off of some other illness. You know when they are feeling well enough to complain about how poorly they are feeling? That. All day long.
I’m eight years into this motherhood gig. Some of my Mother’s Days have been pretty awful while others have been perfectly lovely. I’m no longer harboring any Mother’s Day fantasies.
I know that Mommin’ ain’t easy.
The other day, when my husband brought up Mother’s Day, I told him I’d be over-the-moon if I could wake up, grab a cup of coffee, and head back to bed with a book for a few hours. Bonus points if we could grab take-out at the end of the day. No sleeping in, no long showers, no flowers, no night on the town.
Just a moment to myself in a quiet space to reflect.
And it is also messy and loud and, at times, it is downright ugly.
Motherhood is fun, and funny, and often chaotic.
It is utterly and completely mind-numbingly exhausting.
It is a sacred, miraculous job.
And it is a short season. These days will be gone in a blink.
So, on Sunday, when I am sporting my Mommin’ Ain’t Easy t-shirt while holed up in my room with the book I’m currently obsessed with, I will take a moment and toast all the moms with my super-strong coffee.
Mommin’ ain’t easy, ladies, but I’m so thankful for the journey.
Tell me: What are your Mother’s Day plans? Share here!