Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Hard Out There for a Mom

I have never been an extremely empathetic person. It's not that I'm not caring, or capable of feeling for others, it just doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to others. I tend to be a pretty logical thinker, which often leads me to seeing things in black and white, whereas empathy requires a certain grey area that I don't always see right away.

So before, when I heard stories of the struggles of motherhood, I didn't fully understand. Sure, I figured being a mom was hard, but without the whole "walking a mile in their shoes" thing, I didn't fully get it. I remember seeing a bumper sticker on a car a few months ago that read "You don't work full time until you're a mom". I scoffed at it, thinking the driver was a self-righteous woman begging for attention and pity about how rough her life is. I mean, I worked full time, plus volunteered with Young Life and church, plus lead a small group etc and so on. Could having a couple of kids running around really make it so much harder?

Yes. Oh my lands, yes.

I'm only two weeks in to my new life as a mom, and let me just tell you. It is hard.

Getting up three times every night. Is hard.
When she cries emphatic, inconsolable tears, being the only one that can fix it. Is hard.
Feeling like you're going back on the internal promise to not turn into one of those lame mommy bloggers. Is hard.
Having all your muscles hurt, not being able to sit, or stand, or lay comfortably. Is hard.
Trying to dress to accommodate a between-sizes body, and maintain constant access to the boobs. Is hard.
Being needed, so badly needed, every two hours. Is hard.
Having to strategize time to shower, or eat, or poop (yeah, I went there, we're in the trust tree now). Is hard.
Managing crazy emotions, including random crying jags. Is hard.
Learning to rely on others, and feeling like you're burdening people with your weakness and neediness. Is hard.
Being alone all day (not counting a tiny nonverbal, poop machine). Is hard.
Feeling woefully underprepared and unqualified for the job of raising a human. Is hard.
Feeling like you can't possibly rise to this challenge, and feeling guilty for feeling that way. Is hard.

When they say "having a baby changes everything." They mean every. thing. In an abstract way I knew our lives would be different, but I thought maybe it'd be different in an "us + 1" kind of way. In reality, that +1 has completely changed who "us" is. I'm not just me with a baby. I'm a mom. And as much as I didn't want it to change me. It has. In ways that I don't even know or understand yet. Yes, tons of it is positive. I have a capacity to love like I never have, I've gained a new sense of family, I've found a nurturing and care-taking side of myself that I didn't always exercise. But so much is changing so fast, it's hard for me to even find myself in the midst of it. Navigating new situations, while barely knowing who you are, and how you fit in this new foreign life- is hard.

When I think of moms I know, my own mom, or even crazy licensee plate mom, I just want to apologize. I had no idea. No idea how hard it was. How brave you are. How lonely you might have been. Or how much you may have needed support and understanding. I have walked about a block and a half in "mom-shoes" and I have a glimpse of how difficult the journey can be at times. Thankfully I have an adorable baby, and a fantastic husband to come along side me in the trek. And a God that is teaching me patience, endurance, humility, love, and empathy.
The hard way.


  1. oh Courtney, that is beautiful and yes, it is difficult. SO excited for you to go through all of this, even the hard stuff, b/c it does change you and hopefully, for the better. Not that you were bad to begin with, but, you know what I mean.
    There is no {real} love without suffering.

  2. Sniffle, sniffle.

    Your post partum blog posts are my favorite Bowdenisms so far. You've eloquently captured feelings we've all had in those first, raw weeks of motherhood. Welcome to the journey. It is hard sometimes, but oh so rewarding.

    You'll be so happy to have these posts to look back on. Because one day you'll look back on even the hard parts with a sort of (sick and twisted and usually hormonal) sense of nostalgia.

    Keep up the good work being such a great mom.

  3. Just came across your site, as I sit around wasting time as my little one takes her nap. Congrats on your little one, you are so right. This is hard. No joke.
    Have fun.