Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the motherhood funk

"It's supposed to be hard.  If it wasn't hard everyone would do it.  The hard is what makes it great."

Let's talk funk.

It's similar to the dark hole I felt in my first few weeks of motherhood.  I experienced postpartum depression in its fullest and it slowly creeps back up on me every once and awhile. 

I know some moms out there are going to read this and think I need to be taken to a mental institution.  Maybe I do.  Or maybe I'm normal. 

Leading up to this funk, Duke has been in a funk of his own for the past 6 days.  He's really fussy when eating baby food, he's waking early from naps that he never wakes early from, and he's wanting to eat a lot.  It doesn't take a doctor to figure out that he's probably teething, going through a growth spurt, etc.  It doesn't change the fact that life is way harder when those things are going on.  Answers may make you feel better, but they don't wipe away the problem.

The really tough moments magnify the already tough job of being mom.  They make motherhood seem impossible.

I found myself walking from room to room, doing my usual picking-up.  I started the laundry.  I made my breakfast.  And then I thought, how did I get here?  Not in reference to motherhood, but in reference to my actual location.  It's like when you drive from point A to point B and you have no idea how you got there.  That's how I've been feeling.  Like I'm going through life and not really feeling like I'm living some of the time.

And, honestly, it's not the Duke part.  It's the mom part.  Some moms adjust quickly and adjust well.  I was/am not one of those moms.

So what is it exactly about motherhood that is so tough?  Diaper changes?  Spit up?  Crying?  What is it?  Well, it's everything.  

You feel like you are not your own person somedays.  Like you don't get to do things that some of your other kidless friends get to do.  Your life is interrupted.  You can't go out to dinner.  You need to be home for naps.  You can't, you can't, you can't.  My mind is filled with, I can't.  Enough of that will cause you to lose it.

It changes who you are and what you spend your day doing.  You are not your own.  Your time is not your own.  Your body is not your own.  You realize this very soon after having your first baby.  But I had no idea that I'd still have moments where this feeling would completely overwhelm me even after 8 months of being a mom.

Motherhood forces you to be something you may have never had to be - completely selfless.  And it's not just a matter of not being selfish.  It's not being selfish plus sacrifice.  Sacrifice doesn't always mean giving up things that are bad.  It also means giving up things that are good.

Like laying out in the summer and getting some sun.
Like writing a song.  The last song I wrote was probably over a year ago.
Like wanting to go on long and extravagant dates with Colt.

I know that list sounds juvenile, but those are currently the things on my mind.

Of course, if you're a "fixer" like my husband, there are solutions to all of those.

Lay out at your parents' house while Duke naps.
Write a song during Duke's naptime.
Get a babysitter for Duke so you can go on a date.

But you know what it is?  It's the fact that I used to just be able to do those things whenever I wanted.  And that's the bottom line.  Moms just don't get to operate like that.  Most days I'm okay with it.  Then there are moments when I feel totally trapped by it.  And it always seems like at these moments, where I'm feeling completely down, I read some blog about a supermom that has 3 kids under the age of 3.  I admit, there is something magical and cool and hippy about having 3 kids, a messy house, a chaotic life, and then blogging about it.  I read blogs by these kinds of women a lot and they make it seem so easy and fun.  But we're all made differently.  Some women were built for that and some weren't.  I have to stop comparing my motherhood experience to others and just do the best that I can.

As I'm beginning (I think) to make my way out of this funk, there are a few things I want to remind myself for the next time it hits:

1.  Babies grow up and I will not be a mom of a baby forever.
2.  Feelings and funks come and go.  They are not permanent.
3.  My hope in the Lord.

I genuinely hope I have not discouraged anyone in their thoughts on motherhood.  My goal is always to be real and create an accurate picture of my life.  If you're a mom and have felt like this somewhere along the way, you're in good company.

What Colt always says about parenting is true.  "It's harder than I thought it would be, but it's better than I thought it would be."  I agree wholeheartedly.  It's so hard to be a mom.  And it's so good at the same time.  I think that's what makes it the hardest kind of hard.  I love my me time, but boy do I love my Duke time too.  He is a precious treasure and I would do or give anything for him.


  1. Not comparing myself or my boys to others is still a struggle for me, 4 years into this momma life. Hang in there!

  2. Thanks for writing this! I can totally relate. I have been through plenty of "funks" over the past 19 months, and I keep thinking...surely, I'll get used to this someday! Being a mom is hard, but I totally agree with you in that it's the best kind of hard there is. I love reading your blog. I can tell you are a great mom!

    1. Thanks so much, Meagan. I appreciate you reading. :)

  3. Great post, Claire. Well-written and easy to relate to - even though I'm not yet a mom. What you wrote about is part of the reason that I get nervous about actually becoming a mom - "I will have to give up me time!" (totally selfish, I know). Anyway, I appreciate you being open and honest about it - love you!

    1. Well, hey, you just wait until your ready to give up a bit of that me time. :) Man, once we add a little Sullivan in the mix, those business dinners will get pretty interesting!

  4. My biggest trial is when I just want to jump up, grab the keys, and run in and out of a store. That doesn't happen anymore. Now it is jump up, get the kids dressed and clean faces, pack a diaper bag, load kids in car seats, strap one to my front and one in cart, go into store and continually tell a toddler "no", leave the store and start the pack kids in car process again. Whew. Maybe one day it gets easier?

    1. Yes! No more "running" anywhere. Planning for everything does get exhausting. Yes, maybe one day ... :)

  5. Claire, thank you for being so honest! Your concerns have actually helped me to see that, when the time comes, motherhood will demand a lot but be worthwhile at the end of the day. I've had many fears that being a mom would just push me over the edge, so thank you for being so real about it! Love you.

    1. Definitely worthwhile. :) I love you and miss you!


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