the gritty reality of mothering

A new mom friend of mine sent me this photo and gave me permission to share it. I am so glad. Because it is so real and can be such an accurate representation of the intensity of mothering. It is beautiful and frustrating and overwhelming and full of love and often confusion.

We all choose to parent differently and there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY! So this isn't a comment on parenting styles but on the all-encompassing nature of parenting that we all respond to differently. But that for each of us is challenging. Mothering isn't easy for anyone- no matter how it looks from the outside.

Because children (especially babies) need care ALL THE TIME but we- as adults- also have needs! And parenting often is a very tricky high-wire act of trying to address as many needs as we can as often as possible. Our culture seems to promote (both implicitly and explicitly) that becoming a mother is easy and seamless and we should just know how to do it. And it turns out that is NOT TRUE. Because even if we have come into contact with the reality of family life we haven't been the one to have our wounds constantly poked at by our offspring.

It is hard to come into contact with the reality of mothering until you have already crossed that threshold and find yourself nursing your baby while you take a shit or carrying screaming toddlers out of the grocery store or wiping your child's dripping nose with your sleeve and calling it good and on and on.

The reality of mothering is gritty and intense. It starts with blood and screams and pain and also joy and just keeps going in the same vein.

I wish for you moments even in the chaos and confusion and nursing-your-baby-while-on-the-toilet intensity of parenting that you can breathe deeply and give yourself compassion for how hard this role is. Because this is hard and you are good enough just the way you are.