Guess what moms, we can love our kids something fierce and still say that lots of days in this motherhood gig suck. Because they do. And we don't have to cherish them.
Humor Parenting

Dear Mama: No, You Don’t Have to Cherish Every Moment

Guess what moms, we can love our kids something fierce and still say that lots of days in this motherhood gig suck. Because they do. And we don't have to cherish them.

By Kate Cartia

Look. I love being a mom. Love it. I wouldn’t trade it for a single thing.

And yes, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Yes, we as mothers often forget (uh, because we’re busy, obviously) to pause for a second and soak it all in. Yes, our children aren’t little forever. Yes, gratitude for this chaos-filled, exquisite honor of motherhood is wonderful, and I personally believe, extremely necessary.

But you know what? Sometimes it fucking sucks. Even the stuff that’s ultimately good sometimes sucks.

We’re judged harshly for saying it. We’re taught that we’re selfish for it. We’ll beat ourselves up for even thinking it.

So let’s just get real for a second.

Sometimes breastfeeding sucks. I’m enormously thankful that my nursing experience was relatively easy. But even then, it wasn’t the cloud-filled, rainbow-hazed image I had in my head.

Know what? It’s not always amazing to be the only one able to feed the baby. Especially when you’re just getting the hang of it and aren’t pumping yet, you’re the only damn source of food. There’s no “Oh, honey, I got up with him last time. It’s your turn.” Why? Because “honey’s” nipples are useless.

That whole being-pregnant-can’t-wait-for-my-body-to-be-my-own-again thing is shot to hell. Watch your drinking. Watch your medication. Watch what you eat. Watch the clock.

Not to mention: leaky boobs, raw nipples, alternating between porn star and deflated cleavage, mastitis, teething babies, scheduling business meetings around pumping…it’s not exactly a party.

Sometimes bottle-feeding sucks. Oh, it’s “so much easier!” Guess again. Surprise! Babies eat like all the time. Formula is insanely expensive. And that’s only after you find the formula your infant will tolerate that isn’t made in the lush hills of Iceland by nuns and blessed next to a crystal ball filled with unicorn hair and shipped in a diamond-encrusted urn.

And you’re using the “right” bottles. Which need to be cleaned and sanitized after every use.

Oh, and don’t run out of it. Like ever.

Sometimes playing with your kids sucks. They make up arbitrary game rules that you can bet your 401k will change midway through. You’ll make the truck noise “wrong.” You’ll be left alone with the LEGO instructions, building a pirate ship solo because they’ll get bored and actually go do something else. Board games will get flipped over. You’ll accidentally win at a video game and ruin everything. So. Much. Fun.

Sometimes family movie night sucks. No, they don’t want to watch anything new; they want to watch “Moana” for the millionth consecutive time. Yes, they’ll talk through the entire thing regardless. Absolutely, you can have popcorn in your couch cushion.

Sometimes being touched constantly sucks. My kid is a hugger. And it’s precious. And sometimes I need to not be touched every seven minutes. Sometimes, I get overheated cuddling. And my arm is asleep. Sometimes, I don’t want bongos played on my ass while I’m making dinner.

Sometimes attending kids’ concerts/plays/sporting events/awards shows sucks. I need to be honest: I literally don’t care what’s happening onstage or on the field unless my kid is the one doing it. I don’t care about the other first graders’ rendition of “God Bless America.” I don’t care about Sydney’s Good Citizenship this year. Is that even my kid on the field right now? No? Then I don’t care.

Sometimes throwing birthday parties sucks. Have you always wanted to spend $500 for an hour and half of play at a germ-infested play-place while making smalltalk with other parents you barely know? Of course you haven’t.

Sometimes going on vacation with the whole family sucks. It’s expensive. Traveling with kids is miserable. You, personally, aren’t even on vacation because you’re still parenting, just in a different location. Oh, and you for sure forgot something at home. And on the plane. And in the hotel room.

I’m not out to spread negativity here. That’s not my point.

Because I loved nursing most of the time. I’m thankful formula exists. Watching my son’s face light up when I agree to checkers can’t be beat. I’m planning a family movie night tonight. My sweet child surprises me with hugs when I need them most. I have more video on my phone of school productions than anything else. I’ve heard “This is the best birthday party ever!” more than once. I was there the first time my son saw the beach.

My point is that we’re guilted into attempting to “enjoy every moment,” but you know what? Every moment isn’t enjoyable. And. That’s. Okay.

You can still love and adore your kids more than life itself. You can still enjoy this stuff more often than not. Your heart can still go out to others who are facing infertility or are empty-nesting. You aren’t selfish for it. You’re still a good mom.

Admitting when we’re struggling takes the edge off of the struggle, and it’s not our job to cater to anyone who says to enjoy it while it lasts (you have enough jobs). It’s okay that there are moments we don’t particularly want to last.

You’re doing it, mama. This parenting thing isn’t like anything else in the world.

Motherhood ultimately teaches us to feel. More than we ever have, more than we could’ve ever imagined.

You’re allowed to feel it all.


About the Author

Kate Cartia lives in Dallas, TX with her son and dog. She’s a Work-at-Home Mom, is always the first to sign up to bring paper plates to school functions, and openly has no real idea how to do this parenting thing. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.