This is the most recent Facebook question I asked. Knowing how hard this question can be to answer truthfully, I made sure women could feel safe answering however they wanted/needed to, even if it wasn’t in the positive. One thing I didn’t say that I should have was it was a given that women loved their children, even if they didn’t like being a mom. You can see in the answers, the moms who struggle with the question, over and over professions of loving ones kids even in the face of the hardest times. I promise moms, none of us doubts you love your babies, even if you despise being a mom. I don’t think being madly in love with your child/ren and hating being a mom are mutually exclusive at all.
How would you answer this question?
MCM: I love being a mom! So far I think I would say it's as wonderful, if not more, than I'd imagined.
KS: I can't imagine not being a mom. I love being a mom. There are days I don't like being a mom; it's hard. It doesn't feel rewarding. It brings me to tears sometimes. I have days I know I am not being anything close to the mom I want to be. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. The moments of sweetness and joy far outweigh and outlast any of the hair-pulling, hide in a closet ones.
NWW: No, I do not like it. I don't like it because of external influences. if it were just me and my daughter in a vacuum, it would be bliss. But society, American culture, has ruined it for me.
JT: Overall, yes. There are parts of being a mom I do not like.
SH: At first, no. I suffered from post partum depression/anxiety and it was debilitating for me. After the first year with both boys, I enjoyed it so much more but it was a slow process. I still have my days and I would not want any more children, but overall, yes. It is fulfilling, challenging, frustrating, exhilarating and I never knew I could have so much love toward two little individuals. My boys are 3 and 6.
TC: Yes I do. I like being needed and I like the intimacy of the child-mother bond. I like watching people genetically similar to me grow up. As the youngest child, I never really witnessed this. This also makes it really hard for me. I like that I am able to do it, even though it's really hard. I like the bond it has made between me and my partner. I like it quite a lot.
KO: Overall, I love being a mom. But some days, I hit my limit and I don't like it so much. It is especially difficult when my husband is not here to take some of the weight off my shoulders. However, I try to start every day with a clean slate and I have good days and bad days… but I do love being a mom and I certainly love my kiddos, even if I don't like the things they do all the time.
LSA: Overall, I do love it. I love seeing my little girl grow and learn new things. There are things I don't love about it, but the good parts outweigh the bad most of the time.
AH: There are days I do, other days when I really don't.
CAM: I cannot think of my life without my children! I love them unconditionally and they have gotten me through some very tough times because I knew they depended on me fully. That being said, life would be easier and much more carefree without them. I had children young, first at 20, second at 24 so I never had a chance to "party" but it also didn't appeal to me. At times, I do look at childless friends and think, “Oh, to have the money to travel without kids,” and such but my kids became my life and I chose this life! I look forward to traveling with them and showing them places! Their smiles light up my worst days!
EEC: I do like being a mom. I don't like the jobs that come with being a mom though- the endless cleaning and feeding and reinforcing rules. I wish I could source those things out some days and just have the cuddles and sweet moments. But, overall I do like, even love, being a mom.
AC: I found myself when I became a mom. I don't just love it, it is everything I am. Which isn't to say that it's the only thing I am. My favorite part of being a mother is that I will always be one, no matter what else I choose to become in addition to it.
LM: Yes. Now that she's 6 months old, things have gotten easier. The first little while was grim. Some days I miss the freedom of my old life, but I feel like I've finally embraced this new way of living. I love my daughter very much.
ALC: Being a mother is the most wonderful & the most heart-rending thing I've ever done. It's fun, sweet, delightful AND scary, frustrating, disappointing... my kids are a wonder to me- I love them in ways I never realized I could. But mothering itself is hard- pulls against my selfishness, takes time from 'fun' things that would be nice to do, but that aren't practical with kiddos... Being a mother makes me better, less selfish, more compassionate... like the marines (?), it’s the hardest job I've ever loved. Hard, but worthwhile....
SA: Yes. I may get annoyed with my kids and wish for a break, but underneath, I'm so much happier with them than I ever was without.
JK: More than words can express. But I also know it isn't for everyone or every situation. I love it a million times more being divorced and in another city than I did back "home" with my husband. Yes, I know that may sound bad, but it is the truth. Sometimes we are in a situation that makes it hard to focus on enjoying it because we are so miserable, and when we finally remove those unpleasant factors, we are more free to realize how amazing it is.
JEK: No. I really, really love my kids, and I enjoy their company the majority of the time. But I have trouble feeling patient with this stage of my life - there are so many other roles I feel I'm meant to play (midwife, writer, who knows what else), and I really look forward to those days, so sometimes it's hard for me to be content with "mom" being my primary role. I don't identify with being a mom in quite the way I expected I would.
On the other hand, it's a fundamental part of who I am, and I'm skeptical of anyone who says motherhood hasn't changed them in some way. I like myself as a mother, but I don't always like being a mom, if that makes even a bit of sense. So glad you're asking this question, Barb; it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
KPB: I love being a mother, but I don't always enjoy the work of parenting. Some days, I just want my kids to clean up after themselves without having to be coached, hop to as soon as I say it is time for bed, and fortheloveofbabyjeebus stop bickering about asinine crap and whacking each other. But they are reminders that they have their own aims and goals, and when I can let go of my agenda and be fully present with them, they are really neato little people with funny stories to tell and charming perspectives on the world. And i am fully aware that one day, they will likely not live at my house, and I will pine for the days when books and crayons littered my floor.
NM: I love being a mom and like a pp (?) I enjoy it even more now that I'm getting divorced. I can focus on my children and myself. But there are definitely times when I would give almost anything for a break, just a weekend off to recharge. But alas, it's just me and my boys and I think we make a great team!
DER: For the first 5 years, I hated it. My son has an "invisible" disability and I needed help. He was getting kicked out of day cares, preschools, play groups, etc. I begged his doctor for help, but she kept telling me how I was parenting wrong. "Friends" kept telling me I wasn't disciplining enough. Family had other obligations and couldn't help. He turned 5 1/2 and people finally started listening to me and finally gave me help. Now I do love being a mom! If those that could help me had listened, I would've loved it much sooner. All that wasted time missed out because even though I begged for help, often in tears, I couldn't get it.
JS-J: A very multi-faceted question. I love my children. I hate the drudge work. Most days, I'm glad I had them--but there are certainly days when I wonder: should we/I have done this? My chronic illness started well before my pregnancy, so I knew going in that my kids, for the foreseeable future, would have a "sick mom". I didn't realize how hard that would be. As I get sicker, it gets harder to parent. That being said, it's getting easier to be a mom.
Short answer: yes.
HJN: I love being a mom, love it. It is, perhaps like the way an endurance athlete loves her sport. The work, hard and the pay off, spectacular.
KM: Yes, but I dislike how it is now my only identity.
SBN: I do like it. I'm not naturally talented at it, and I work full-time as the primary breadwinner, so it is absolutely grueling, but I love being a mom even as it terrifies me.
PR: Mostly. I became a mom at 18, then had two more kids; and was a single mom most of the time (actually even when I was married, I was pretty much a single mom). I was overwhelmed sometimes with fear, fatigue and poverty. And I enjoyed helping the girls become thinking, responsible, effective human beings - although at some points they took a little longer and took a harder road than needful.
As the girls grew up, other young women, at work mostly, turned to me as a mentor. I mothered these young women as I encouraged the bio-kids to become increasingly independent and strong in themselves. Then I ended up with a series of younger women to nurture - many of whom still call me mom.
I don't get all ooey-gooey over kids. I do like babies, and I really liked being pregnant and giving birth.
I look at the girls now, and am sad that they got tangled in the "oh I am a desperate sinner and am rotten" thing, rather than seeing themselves as a cherished creation who is loved. That is my deepest regret.
LA: I love it. I love seeing the world anew through my kids’ eyes. I love sharing in their excitement, their accomplishments, their exploration. I love seeing the amazing people they are growing into... from my 11 month old to my 15 year old, they are just amazingly neat people.
Sure the daily grind gets annoying. I don't like dishes, laundry, bills, chores the kids can't remember to do, etc.
Not gonna sweat the small stuff. Their lives with me are precious and fleeting. In no time they'll be gone, grown and I'll have a horribly empty nest.
MH: Sometimes I don't like it, but generally I love it. There are days when I feel like a horrible mother, because my patience is wearing thin. Sometimes it feels like a thankless job and the kids don't seem to care about what I do for them. Other days I receive huge rewards when I see them being kind to each other or people outside our family. I love to see them using the skills and morals I've tried to instill in them.
TD: I love it, but I don't always like it. But motherhood is certainly extreme. It's given me the greatest mushiest happiness I've ever felt and the most frustration, terror and sadness I've ever felt too. But I keep signing up for it again and again!!
APH: I think the quiet desperation of mothers is a dirty little secret that’s rarely spoken, because who wants to be called a bad mother? We feel guilty enough about our discontent as it is. And those feelings are compounded by our isolation. Women the world over share these feelings, not that they'd admit it. (this has many LIKEs)
JMY: It was the hardest thing I ever did. I love my kids but was not always patient and didn't really enjoy parenting when they were younger. Once they were teens it was a lot better. It's still very frustrating occasionally, and they are in their 20s now. But I wouldn't give them up for anything. I've never loved anyone with the intensity I love my 2 sons. I'd do anything for them.
JYP: I do like it, but wow is it hard work and some days it’s all I can do to not completely fall apart. I wish I had more support and help at home, that would help quite a bit. I have 5 kids, the oldest is 9 and the youngest will be 1 month on Sat. It's a big transition time again and that always make me question why I was blessed with so many children when some of my friends struggle to even have 1.
EE: I love the relationship with my children. The jobs associated with motherhood, not so much. I find that if I separate the two I don't get resentful.
RL: I like who I have become because I am a mom. The actual day to day process is very very hard, but I love watching them develop into who they are becoming. Overall, you have to look at the long term with motherhood. That's what it is about anyways. The trick is not to get lost in the difficulties of the day but look at the long term. That's where I find my greatest joy, both for who I have become and who my kids have become. It's about being involved in the process of creating and sharing in another's lives that has effects for generations.
CB: Hells yes I love it, it isn't the distinction of being a mom, I love those little turds. There are things that are hard, but that only shows my limitations (like dealing with individuating toddlers and homework for grade-schoolers, which is bs...). I wish I had more time to myself but that is temporary and at least we have the things we need even if right now I sometimes feel used up.
CM: I love it but man has my patience been tried (this past week especially!). I'm still at the beginning of my motherhood journey (22 months & 6 months) and I know there are amazing and challenging times that lay ahead. As you said, I often times have to remind myself that other "things" don't matter. I find myself frustrated that I can only do kids all day.... None of the other little things I may wish to accomplish for myself.
I've found myself trying lately to search for the balance of C as a woman/wife and C as a mom!!!! Being a lil bit of everything for everyone - including me! Whew! It's exploded my life like I imagined it would and I love all that it is presenting!
RL: I think more moms need to acknowledge and be okay with the fact that there are days we don't like. There are days when all you can do is function. And if you need help, for goodness sake get help. Even if it's just a babysitter. I feel blessed to be a part of a community where I feel like I have the ability to drop my kids off at someone's house for awhile when I need it, no questions asked. It's a fact that in our normal culture moms do not get much support. It's unfortunate because we need it. But like I said the big picture is different. To look back on how I've changed and how my kids have grown is very satisfactory. I wouldn't change it. But that doesn't make it any easier.
PG: I could write a chapter book but to abbreviate things: I had 3 babies in 2 1/2 years so I was either pregnant or nursing for about 6 years. The nursing really helped me to be patient, thanks to the oxytocin! I sure missed that after my last baby weaned. To put it as nice as possible, (seeing how this is a public forum) my husband was rarely available, wasn't very supportive, and we didn't get along so well then so the earlier years of my momhood were especially rough. Now that my kids are all adults we have wonderful relationships and they are my favorite people to be with!
SK: I fought so hard to become a parent (infertility) that people expect me to be over the moon and some kind of all knowing earth mother awash in 2 year old (She has been here 8 weeks) love and bliss. The reality is I have not been transformed into Mother. I am still the person I always was but now with less time, money, energy and sleep. Working to support her while going to school and parenting is proving to be a crappy job and one that frankly I am doing a crap job of. The pressure to transform into a better person and transcend the realities of day to day life bring me down and add another layer of guilt. No I do not love being a parent. This week I do not even like it.
SG: I love my daughter (she's 10) like no one else in the world. I would give my life for her in a nanosecond. I absolutely adore her and do everything I can to make sure she has a good life. That said, I do not like being a mother at all. I'm not good at it, it doesn't come naturally to me, I second-guess everything I do. I'm uncomfortable with it, and really glad that I stopped at one. I'm already worried about whether or not I'm going to screw up the one I have.
AKS: I love my kids. And sometimes I fantasize about running away, or hiring house elves to do the housekeeping, which I suck at. My girls are three years old and five weeks old, and I know that this is a season, and I may miss it when it's over, but it's intense in the trenches, you know? I have a great husband who is gone Mon. a.m. to Friday evening for work. When that changes, and I have help at night, I may feel less overwhelmed.
KWV: I love the relationships I have with my kids. They are rad little people who are endlessly entertaining. Bedtime, having to be the responsible one who makes dinner when I could skip it, remembering to buy the right kind of toothpaste, breaking up constant squabbles, enforcing the rules and henpecking so the chores get done- not so much. I am so much happier since going back to work. Even though I am working 12-13 hour shifts 3 days a week, I have so SO much more patience and energy for the skwids. I love them more than anything and our relationship is the most important one in my life, but the job of being "the mom" is one of the least interesting things about me and I don't think I'll look back on it as my most important life achievement.
JG: I love being a mom. But I am grateful that I can combine it with work and personal goals, in part because I have such an equal partner in parenting.
DG: I love the growth and maturity I’ve gained. I love my son. I love watching him grow. Do I love poopy diapers and and never being able to do anything spontaneous or on my own schedule? No. Some days, I enjoy it less than others and it is hard work, emotionally and physically, every day, but overall, yes, I do enjoy being a mother. I can definitely see how some might not enjoy it and I think we all have days where we just want to run away and forget our responsibilities.
DL: I really do like being a mom. I don't like my failures, my weak moments, the times I don't pay attention to my kids or don't want to play. I wish I still had the energy and gave the kids the time they deserve. I really do believe it's an honor to be a mom. I wish I could just not do the housewife part. By that I mean I want to be a wife, but not have the responsibilities of laundry and cleaning etc. I'd love to just spend family time all the time playing and helping my kids. Could I just get some people to do all the work around here and we could have fun all day?
NgM: These words from KS eloquently describe the intense angst being a new mom can be. While we all love our babies, it’s sometimes hard to describe the times we can’t stand them and wish they would just go away for a little while. Sure, a baby sitter might seem the perfect solution, but that can be cost prohibitive for many families, even when both parents are working. (KS, just like my daughter, is working from home.)
KS: I love my son more than life itself. But lordy, being a mom wears on me. I'm a very social creature and the first lonely desperate months with a newborn nearly sucked the joy out of me. My kid still doesn't sleep very well and I long for one God-damned night of uninterrupted sleep. I love cuddles and giggling together and watching him discovering new things. The tasks and indignities of motherhood--the incalculable amount of time I spend preparing meals that all promptly be tossed on the floor, responding to his fifth request to nurse in the past 20 minutes, the stepping on the sharp edges of baby toys at 3 AM when the teething toddler screams out in raging fury beast cries--these things make me think I was absolutely bonkers to skip willingly into this parenting gig. On those days where it's 2 pm and I'm still in my pajamas and my son has already watched four hours of TV because I have a deadline for work I need to meet and we're both starving and there's no food besides graham crackers and goldfish crackers and he screams at me because I had the temerity to reclaim my smartphone, I think I will completely lose it and end up a headline. Most of the time, it's great, but those bad days make my worst days of work or school look like picnics. And unlike school or work, I can't call in sick to motherhood. The grind can feel unbearable.
LC: I love being a mom. I have given up a lot of things to be a full time mom right now and there isn't a day that goes by that I actively wish I was out in the work force or in school full time or something like that. I actually get a tight feeling in my chest every time a doula client calls, because I know I'm going to have to drop everything, pawn the kids off on a friend, and be absent for who knows how long. I wouldn't trade my mom status for anything. But... I feel quite often that I'm not really very good at it. I'm impatient, I yell, I let my kids play by themselves for hours because I enjoy getting some "me" time. I like baking and cooking but I don't like little helpers in the kitchen, and I feel guilty about that because I know other (better?) moms let their kids help and have fun and learn. I like it when they are creative and turn a box into a boat and all the pieces of the games and puzzles into ocean plankton, but then I start fussing about the mess while the joy of the game they made up is fresh. I hate that I do that. I don't want to be a soul crusher. I love so much that my husband's job allows me to stay home with them because I think I'd be the worst daycare mother on the planet... always forgetting stuff for show and tell and snack time and Halloween day, etc. And I WANT so badly to be their person, the one that listens and hugs and laughs and is a source of joy to them, but I really wonder if to them, I sound like the Charlie Brown teacher in the background, nagging, fussing, uh huh ing... So. Yes, I like/love being a mom, at the most basic "I love my children more than life itself" level. But I feel quite sure most of the time that I'm massively and unknowingly screwing it up, big time. I wish I had the confidence that I was GOOD at it; that would make me like it even more.
NgM: I wrote to LC: “You are the EXACT kind of mom I was... and my kids are AWESOME adults. Do not give it a second thought, worrying your kids will turn out to be anything less than stellar because you don't like them helping in the kitchen. I tried to cook when they were sleeping because I didn't want them in there with me. (Don't I sound like a horrid mom?! Thank goodness we have Exhibits A, B, C & D to show I wasn't.) I was not an artsy mom, either (and have written about that a lot), not an on-the-floor mom, but a reading-on-the-couch mom. It takes all kinds; we're just different.”
MD: I love being a mum, but it isn't my day job.
ESG: Yes, I like being a mom. I love my five children. I, too, struggle with patience and yelling. Of motherhood, mostly hate the drudgery, the mundane-ness -- even as I struggle as a homeschool mom to make their lives NOT mundane -- the constant Sisyphus-like battle with laundry and dishes and cooking. Sometimes I think, "I'd love to outsource some of this." But if I wasn't the one who kissed toes during diaper changes, or rubbed stain-eraser on Tae Kwon Do uniforms, or made sure blankets were on the right beds, would I feel so close to my children?
NgM: Do I like being a mom? You bet. My kids are my best friends, we share the closest secrets and the most hilarious family stories. While I never wished any age or stage away as they grew up, I really do love them as adults; they’re great! For those in the middle of the hard stages, I promise, in a minute, they will be adults. It really does happen so fast. (Some days, I know, not fast enough.)
I loved this question and loved that women answered so honestly. Thanks to all who participated. It was extremely tender and very enlightening.
Meghann, Darren, Aimee & Tristan