Myths about Motherhood

aka Myth Busting, Part 3

This post is inspired by Jill Smokler’s book Motherhood Comes Naturally (and other vicious lies). You can check out her website at http://www.scarymommy.com

butterfly

1. Motherhood comes naturally, easily, with an inborn intuition.

Motherhood is often difficult, sometimes easy, sometimes effort-full, sometimes intuitive, and sometimes counter-intuitive, just like every other job (and life). Motherhood takes practice, support, endurance, surrender and fierceness.

2. You will get back to your old self (and that is the goal).

Your old self is gone. Motherhood is a whole new identity. You will be creating and growing this right along with your baby, child, children. You may miss the freedom, the absence of stretch marks, the sleep, and that is normal. Grieving your old self is part of the process.  Integrating and becoming your new self is the rest of the journey. You aren’t a caterpillar any more. You are a butterfly. (OK, maybe a grizzly Bear). Trying to get your old self back is like trying to crawl back into an already burst cocoon.

3. You’ll get more sleep as they get older.

Apparently this can true for some. Bless them for not flaunting it.

4. Having more than one child is easier because they will play together.

I have often heard this stated. I have rarely seen it in practice. However, it does happen. This is a factor in the decision to have more than one, but that decision is complex and multifaceted.

5. No-one is judging you/your parenting.

Let’s be honest. Even the most open-hearted of us are judging. Even if it is to be helpful. Recently, I saw a father trying to get his toddler out of the car, speaking in an exasperated, harsh, abrupt tone. I heard the child yell and then start crying. I wanted to go comfort the child and tell the Dad “Don’t speak to your child that way! Don’t you realize how deeply that is hurting him?” Instead I asked the Dad if he needed support. He said “No, but thanks.” I saw him relax a bit. The Dad said “He wanted to bring his piggy bank to the playground and I know I’ll end up having to carry it, so I said no.” “Ahh.” I said. I saw the Dad take a breath and regain his capacity to be with his toddler with a bit more presence and a bit less exasperation. Who among us has not been there? Let’s support each other as parents in staying present. It’s hard work, but the children in all of us will be more safe. 

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