BY LEA RAMAPURAM
Dear tired mammas everywhere,
How many times this week have you sighed with exhaustion, hand on your aching back, and thought “I deserve a holiday!”? Well if you’re anything like me, that’s probably daily, if rather guilty, a moment of truth.
Dreaming of Mommyhood Vs Experiencing The Tiring Rollercoaster First Hand:
Don’t get me wrong – I’m one of those women who has always, always wanted to be a mom. One of those girls who only talked about having babies all through school and college, and cooed and cradled every baby whose mother would trust into my young arms. Ah the joys of motherhood, I would think to myself, as I sniffed that gorgeous new baby smell, admired the tiny fingers and teeny toes, and envied the mothers who got to do it all day long!
Fast forward ten years, and I’m a mom myself. To the most beautiful, feisty one-and-a-half-year-old girl and another one on the way – and let me be clear when I say “ah, the joys of motherhood” now, it tends to be tinged with some heavy sarcasm, ladies. Like when my toddler runs in the opposite direction when her heavily pregnant and mostly immobile mother calls out to her for bedtime when potty training isn’t going as planned and there’s poop on the new living room couch, when it’s 1 AM and she WILL HAVE a cookie NOW, and I’m scrambling in the snack cupboard looking for her favorite, healthy whole grain cookies. Ah, the joys of motherhood, I think to myself tiredly, rubbing my eyes in the purest form of exhaustion there is – that of a mother who’s aching for rest, but finds it within her bones to keep herself going somehow.
There Are Always Little Joys That Make The Poopy Diapers and Sleeplessness Worth It:
The joys of motherhood have been my life’s sharpest learning curve. They truly are endless – the smallest of things will make your heart swell with pride and happiness that you cannot explain in mere words. The way my little girl’s perfect curls frame her perfect face – don’t we all believe we have the cutest baby in the world? – the way she gets me to laugh right from my tummy with her naughty antics when she copies me putting on my makeup and coiling my hair, the way she picks up a book for herself and gets lost in it, even if it is for just three minutes….
And let’s not forget the most satisfying joy of all! Watching your toddler finish those nutritious baby cereal you painstakingly made, crossing your fingers and hoping against hope that they won’t be spitting out after the first bite! Could there really be a greater joy than a baby’s plate of food licked clean? I honestly cannot think of one (and in case you needed it, there’s the proof that I’m a real-life mom!).
Finding Our Joy in The Midst of Exhaustion:
But the mother in me has learned that these little joys do not mean that our lives will always look like a perfectly curated social media feed. Motherhood is messy. It is tiring, and while rewarding, it is often maddening and plain frustrating – and not enough moms out there talk about it! The joys of motherhood have to be sought, recognized, and cherished, even when you know they won’t necessarily serve as the fuel you need to continue doing what you do the next day (that’s what coffee is for, mama!).
I now know that while I will still have moments when I will snuggle my newborn, sniff that gorgeous new-baby smell and think to myself that I’m the luckiest mother in the world, I will also have moments, after I’ve been breastfeeding every two hours for three continuous months and can’t think in coherent sentences, for instance, when I will crave peace and solitude that motherhood will not afford me, and it will make me want to abandon everyone and everything and run for the hills. And hey, that’s okay.
Because here’s a grain of truth that only motherhood could have taught me – there is beauty in both those moments. One does not negate the other. In an age where we see “perfect” mothers all over our Instagram feed, with “perfect” homes and “perfect” well-dressed kids, it’s easy to forget that our babies don’t need a “supermom”. They just need you. Being yourself and being present for both the joy and anguish they will bring equally into your life.
So, hang in there, mama. And remember to enjoy the many messy joys of motherhood!
With love and tired sighs,
A happily exhausted mom.
About Lea Ramapuram: Lea is a writer-mom to two beautifully exhausting kids under two. She finds sanity and purpose in reading and writing amidst the chaos.