The Challenges and Exhaustion of Motherhood
Written by Leah Gallagher
Leah and her two daughters
Being a mom is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs I’ve ever had. I feel like that is saying a lot because I used to work as a full time RN at a big teaching hospital. I was used to having patients yell at me, the crazy schedules, the restless shifts, but it didn’t come close to preparing me for the exhaustion of motherhood.
I remember looking at exhausted moms and thinking to myself “nope, that won’t be me. I’ll be energetic & enthusiastic about mom life! It won’t get me down!”
Well, I was wrong. BOY was I wrong.
I’m not gonna lie, my first daughter didn’t throw me off balance too much. In fact, my oldest daughter was quite the anomaly. She was the “easiest baby people had ever seen.”
She didn’t have major sleep regressions, she consistently napped like a champ, didn’t whine, and was able to self-entertain at a young age. Friends were constantly commenting on how “easy” she seemed. Just when I was feeling like I had conquered motherhood (because you can clearly do that in 14 months.. 😉 ), I found out I was expecting.
Then came number two. She was feistier.
She let me KNOW when she wasn’t happy. She hit every sleep regression. She was fussy when she was teething. She did everything her sister did not.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE being a mom. I love being a mom to my little girls.
However, I didn’t realize how truly exhausting it is being a full-time caregiver to little kids. I didn’t know it meant I couldn’t go to the restroom by myself anymore. I didn’t know what it meant to be woken up in the middle of the night by a sick baby. I didn’t know what it was like to have a clingy, cranky baby wanting to be held ALLLLL DAY.
Friends, I had this misconception about motherhood. I honestly didn’t realize how much work it is to be a mom. Motherhood is a 24/7 job you can’t just turn off or take a break from whenever you want. You are on call all the time and that is what is so exhausting! I thought my normal, high-energy personality would prepare me for all the things mom life would throw my way.
I had also fallen prey to the trap of social media. The belief that mom life looked like it did on Instagram. I had started to place unrealistic expectations on myself. I thought I could do everything and do it PERFECTLY.
It is an unhealthy expectation to have. Social media is wonderful, but it can also be a comparison trap. A dark hole you can fall into, where you start to question your adequacy as a mom.
I’m here to say, STOP. First off, Instagram is NOT reality. We don’t know everything that is going on behind the scenes of someone’s social media account.
Secondly, we need to stop hating on ourselves. Mamas, we are so often our own worst critics! If only I was more…(fill in the blank with whatever you think would make you a better mama).
Give yourself grace. Lots of grace. Motherhood is a giant learning curve. NO ONE enters motherhood having it all figured out. It takes a lot of trial and error, prayer & asking for help.
And lastly, mom life is not meant to be done alone. I have found that one of the most helpful things for me has been finding other moms to talk to. Moms that have been through the thick of toddlerhood and friends who are willing to lend a hand.
I want to encourage you. I want you to know that you are doing a GREAT job. Sometimes we just need to hear that. I promise that at the end of the day your kids aren’t going to remember how perfect their mom’s hair looked. They are going to remember the snuggles, the play time, the messy meals and all the love you poured into them.
Motherhood for Me is here to create a better motherhood community. A place without judgement, mom-shaming, or condescending articles telling you what to do. We are a place for you to come as you are, read about what other mamas are going through, share your own stories (if you want,) and provide opportunities for you to find camaraderie with other mothers. Please check out our other mama submitted stories, sign up to receive email alerts when we publish a new one, and spread the word to all your mama friends. We truly appreciate your support and you being here. Thank you!