oh motherhood

I will say that these last 10 months have been the journey of a lifetime. A difficult journey of a lifetime. I knew that having a child would change, stretch, challenge and strip away my selfishness but sometimes head knowledge doesn’t make the actually experience any easier. I didn’t fully foresee the way a child would impact my life, family, marriage and relationships. Not to mention my sleep.

There are moments when I feel so disappointed in the way that I mother. I thought it would come so much easier than it does. Now, I don’t beat myself up about this too much, it just was surprising for me to realize that I don’t always react the way I envisioned I would. But then, most of what I had envisioned about being a mother isn’t exactly right on. I mean, I used to think that Jude would sleep peacefully and I would sit there and watch him, maybe sketch him as he sleeps. Ha. When he sleeps, I’m hauling booty to try and get chores done!

I know that I’ve chosen some of the more difficult paths in raising Jude: natural birth, opting to exclusively breastfeed until he’s 1, cloth diapering, opting not to schedule the baby, but let him lead the way in when he needs to eat, sleep or play. These things are not the easiest things to do, in fact, they may be the most difficult, but in my heart, I feel like they work the best for our family and for our goals in life. (Hear this – I am not an advocate for any particular parenting method, I believe each family needs to find what works for them and their child and go from there. I do not believe there is an absolute right method.)

At this point, it is hard to imagine having another baby. It could just be the fact that we are still in the beginning stages of baby-ness and as it gets easier, maybe my mind will change. But I can’t imagine having to do this all again. People have said to me that if your first baby is difficult, the second will be easy, or vice versa. . . But I just think that there is no guarantee! Jude is a handful! He’s passionate and fairly inflexible. And honestly it freaks me out to think that I could have another passionate, handful of a child to deal with. . . I mean, Jude x2? Yikes!

Now don’t get me wrong, we adore our little boy. He is amazing and just lights up our days with silliness and giggles. We are thankful for his feisty demeanor and zeal for life. Parenting has just been so different than I have envisioned.

If you’re a mom, how has parenting been different for you than you had anticipated?


  1. Posted April 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    i think that for me the biggest misconceptions i had about parenting is 1. the time for myself, 2. keeping up with the household chores, 3. the amount of worrying about the size/health of my babe, 4. and like you, thinking i’d be able to sketch the baby while sleeping. i’m either sleeping or cleaning like you said! i still have the sketchbook i bought with this hope from almost 4 years ago. crazy. πŸ™‚ love my three boys, though!

    • Elizabeth
      Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The time for myself has been huge! I didn’t realize how much time I used to have by myself and I miss it so much!

  2. Posted April 20, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Boy, I sure understand your sentiment. We had a similar first-born son, and now that he’s going on 5, I can say he still has that same stubborn passion! But a couple of kids later, I can say that it gets easier. It gets crazier, and the shadows under my eyes are darker for sure, but what joy! I believe that God gives us the grace we need at EXACTLY the time we need it. At least that has been true in my life.

    And I sure didnt get half of what you seem to get done when I had just one! You’ll be just fine:)

  3. Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Amen. I agree 100%. I have to constantly remind myself why I’ve chosen the “harder” way of parenting. And it is totally worth the sacrifice. I know it is the right way for us because when I’ve tried the other way I’ve been met with much resistance! πŸ™‚ I too have a stubborn and willful kiddo. Oh my, toddler years will be interesting.

    • Elizabeth
      Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I am fearful of the toddler years! The whole ‘discipline’ thing will be interesting. I’m already looking for good books on the matter.

  4. Shelly
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree! Ours is just over a year old, and while I love her to pieces, I have absolutely no desire to have another right now. I talk about future kids, knowing my attitude will likely change, but I see others having babies 15, 17, 19 months apart and think they must be crazy! πŸ™‚

    I knew that parenting would be more difficult than I could imagine, but things I’ve been surprised about include how little sleep I’m STILL getting, how much of my day is occupied by baby and holding her (thus, how little I accomplish), and then how hard it is to find a balance between time for myself and accomplishing household things when I *do* get a break.

  5. Jan Rhinehart
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    When my first was born over 30 years ago, I thought I would be bored…sleeping babies are not too exciting. Instead, I found the life of a mom fascinating, fast-paced, fun, frustrating and fulfilling. At each stage of the development of my 3 kids I have said, “This is the best! How could it ever get any better than this?” and each phase was better than the last (yes, even the teen-age years!). Now my “babies” are having babies and I am still saying, “This is the best! How could it ever get any better than this?” But you know what? I am expecting it will be:)

  6. Ali
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    With my first, that first year was rough! You’re learning how to be a mom and they’re learning all the stuff that every kid has to learn. The lack of time to yourself is a killer! I finally had to let go a little in the chore dept. and enjoy some of his naptime doing stuff to recharge me, so I could mother with a little more love and patience. 1-2 is such a fun age, though! They learn SO MUCH and it’s fun again! I’ve really enjoyed “parenting with love and logic”, it’s helped me be a little less crazy with the 3 I now have!
    It seems impossible, but the more kids you have, the more God blesses you to stretch and grow and be a little better (after the unavoidable craziness that crops up!). I can’t believe how much more being a mom has caused me to rely upon God for help! That was one of the MANY things that surprised me.

  7. Mindy
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m not going to lie – hearing this from you scares me a bit! Knowing how much personal time I require even as a single makes me wonder if I’d ever be able to handle anything more than me in a household!

    I’m amazed by what you’re doing – it certainly isn’t easy and clearly there are not enough words in the english language to properly thank our mothers and fathers for the sacrifices they’ve made for us. Thank you for helping me see this fact more clearly, through your eyes! πŸ™‚

    • Elizabeth
      Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink | Reply

      You are so sweet Mindy! It is difficult, but worth it for sure! And I know that the first year is the most difficult, so I’m still in the midst of the learning curve of parenting!

  8. Erin
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Your thoughts always mirror my own! Mothering (namely breastfeeding) my now 6mo old has hardly met expectations, with exception of my drug free birth (that seems like the easy part now!). I pictured breastfeeding as being natural/easy. Wrong! Each feeding was nothing but a fight due to her severe reflux. It took me 5.5mos, and lots of doc appts/diet experimentation, to finally decide that I think breastfeeding was actually hurting more than helping, as it often left us both in tears. So, I’ve had her on a special formula for about 3 weeks now, and I’m slowly feeling peace. Like you, I hope a second child would be easy (and love breastfeeding), but I don’t know if I’m willing to take that risk.
    But when she smiles…

    • Elizabeth
      Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink | Reply

      Oh yes, when they smile every little heartache, inconvenience and frustration melts away. πŸ™‚

  9. Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:46 am | Permalink | Reply

    I know I’ve only brushed the surface of this whole parenting thing (being only 2 mons. into it), but for me the main things that stick out that have been really tough and definitely more difficult than I initially imagined was breastfeeding/feeding and the lack of time for myself.

    For some reason, I thought breastfeeding would be easier and more comfortable for me. Man, was I wrong. So to compromise, I’ve settled for express pumping…all the time. It seems to be more of a hassle than just popping him on my boob, but you gotta do what ya gotta do.

    Also, I thought I would have a decent amount of time to myself since I was only working limited hours from home while on maternity leave. Cuz’ newborns always sleep right? Uh, no. Like you, I find myself waking up earlier or rushing to finish things on my to-do list while he sleeps. We’ve kinda figured out a routine, definitely workable, but at times it does get tough.

  10. Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    ya. i am with you. its just so time consuming!! i think i knew that was coming but it really is just so real when it happens. i was kinda the opposite. i really wasnt ready to be a mom and i really kinda dreaded it…i know that sounds terrible but i resented the fact that i didnt get to be a wife for very long and that jeff and i didnt get to be by ouselves and free…but then when they showed me aves-it was the most surreal moment i have ever had. i just loved her so immediately and so much. and i didnt know that was possible. i can truly say that was the best day of my life (the twins were so early that it was scary. it was wonderful but not as easy as aves. the drugs worked that time but thats another story). since then i have had A MILLION moments where i just dream of going to the grocery store alone. or just telling someone that i am going to do something and not have to ask if jeff can watch the kids or plan it around kids. its just amazing how you become an “us” instead of a “me” so fast. and husbands dont have the same thing!! but i know that its just so fleeting and fast. i just try to remember that. and remember that it will be a “me” and not an “us” so soon. and that they wont let me kiss their cheeks every time im with them….sorry this is so long! mothering is just so complicated. thank goodness God is raising them and they dont just have me and jeff!! anyway, you are doing an amazing job and are such a wonderful mother. jude is just precious and i know you guys just love on him so much because it shows!! and your thoughtfulness as a mom is always so encouraging and inspiring!

  11. Rachel Tagle
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I completely understand where you are coming from. When I reflect on the sheer exhaustion of the past (almost) 7 months, I think “I’ve been there, done it… now I can move on”… but then there are moments, like seeing a sweet little boy on a movie, when I say “awww… I want a boy too!” The pressure to be a GOOD mother that we put on ourselves, pushes us possibly to the farthest of our capabilities. I know when I put Maya down in her exersaucer so I can get chores done, I feel bad if she’s been alone too long, so then the house suffers… and it’s a vicious cycle to try and be perfect. Let’s not be so hard on ourselves! We are awesome πŸ™‚

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