Woman of today! What is this? We are leaving/resigning from work/a skill that we trained for our entire life/ our passion/ the money we make/ the independence we crave, because we won’t hire a nanny/can’t hire a nanny/ won’t trust family/ can’t trust family/ would feel too guilty/ would feel too modern/ would feel too selfish? Because we feel that our newborn needs us ALL THE TIME? Because we feel that while our kids are in school we need to be home making lunches and dinners for them? Thinking up the next craft activity? Planning the next play date?
Why are we made to feel like our motherhood is somehow incomplete/ unfulfilled/ not as good if we think about ourselves and our future?
What is this thing with people where they create means for you when their son who is your husband needs your money but won’t create the means for you if money isn’t an issue? Why isn’t our well-being/ self-care/mental and physical health not important? How do people expect us to be good mothers and wives when we resent our lives because they’re dictated by menial things that actually anyone can do for a few hours everyday?
I won’t generalize. I know that to some women motherhood is about being with their kids and being their for their kids for their formative years and then some. But this isn’t true for all women.
I know that I went crazy during my 20 week maternity leave last year. I craved for adult conversations. I longed to go back to work. I hated that my life was about diapers, feeding schedules, burping, cleaning, sleeping and putting to sleep. I intentionally signed up for meetings over the phone just to stay in the loop. I would randomly text coworkers and envied my older coworkers who have grown kids in college. I would hate when people would gush over the baby while totally ignoring that my haggard self was right next to him.
I hated the implication that because I was home I had “so much time”.
Each time someone said “ so when’s number three coming ?” I wanted to scream and cry.
Did I have postpartum depression? No. But I definitely had the blues and they were largely because I missed work.
I put my son in day care after both hubby and I were done with parental leaves. I quickly switched to a night schedule because I didn’t want to miss his milestones like I had missed my daughter’s.
I wanted to be there for everything.
I have been there for most of it Alhamdulillah. But not all of it. No one, not even a mother who is home 24/7, can be there for all of it.
To expect a mother to be there for all of her child’s milestones and meals and outfit changes and firsts is an insensitive requirement and expectation. To expect a mother to forget that long before she embraced motherhood, she lived in womanhood and long before she realized she was a woman, she was a human being. She required sleep no less than anyone else. She ate with both hands and changed her clothes after a shower almost every day. She dreamt and followed her dreams.
Becoming a mother is a physiological and psychological process. We should go through it in its entirety to enjoy it and always cherish it. But don’t owe to your kids what you don’t even have time to give to yourself. Unless you are fed and watered, you can’t feed and water them for too long.
How would you feel if you saw your kids watching their kids with the kind of commitment that our generation does it? In case of fathers, they go unshaven for days (I know not all men), go to work with mismatched outfits and eat breakfast for dinner. In case of mothers, we continue wearing maternity clothes for years after the baby is born, don’t have time for self-care, are still labeled as “mothers of this age”, don’t eat properly, forget to take our birth control and somewhere along this chaos, some of us become pregnant again.
This isn’t fair to us. I really think that today’s mother is different for a reason. She was raised by women who are different from our grand mothers. Our mothers have raised us to be leaders instead of followers. Many of us lead our husbands but fall prey to the dramatic, long-term changes that a baby brings.
Focus on the child. That’s very important. But focus on yourself also and your needs, whatever they may be. Because we don’t want to resent our kids or our families. If we asked our kids they’d want us to be happy and whole. If we asked our husbands they’d want us to look our best, be good sexual partners and emotional companions. NO ONE feels our fatigue like our family does. Let’s put ourselves first and if not first, then at least second. ❤️