Being A Young Mom Is Hard: The Ugly Side of Parenting No One Talks About
It's not something that is often bragged about on social media but being a mom is hard. Sometimes it sucks and no one prepares you for the long, hard road ahead.
I WASN'T A GOOD MOM WHEN I WAS YOUNGER
Goodness, that was hard to type. I became a momma at the age of 22. I always knew I wanted to be a mom from a super young age and I loved babysitting and cuddling children and I was fantastic at it. When I got pregnant with my oldest son Parker, his dad and I were a wreck. We fought all the time, he was immature, I was clingy, and the biggest issue was we weren't married. I was in my last year of college and he was playing baseball on a scholarship and living his best life and that didn't include time for a pregnant girlfriend. I thought for sure once our boy arrived things would improve but they just got worse. Parker was born 12 weeks early so I drove to Evansville every single day for three months to visit him when I was allowed. When he finally came home from the NICU I was positive we would have our happy little family-I WAS VERY WRONG. Instead of being home to take care of my baby (I lived with my momma at the time) I was off chasing his dad and on the weekends spending time with my friends so I didn't have to sit at home and think about what he was doing. My momma took care of my baby. She nurtured him, took care of him every day when I went to my college classes and made him feel secure. It wasn't until he was about six months old that I realized I needed to get it together. I had so much to learn and no one told me a baby required so much attention and I was still trying to live the life I wanted.
A LOT TO LEARN
I had a phenomenal role model as a parent. My mother was the best of the best so you would think I would have just naturally known how to be a great mom right? Not even close. You hear people say it's natural to be selfless after you become a mother but that just isn't true. We are all human. I had to learn how to prioritize and understand that chasing a man or hanging out with my friends was not as important as taking care of my son. I also had to figure out the balance and it was a long, lonely, tough road to travel. None of my other friends had started having children so they were free to do what they wanted without the responsibility of someone depending on them. I resented them at times.
GETTING MY LIFE TOGETHER
It took some very hard knocks, a lot of crying, another baby, and a few come to Jesus meetings before I got my butt in gear. Yes, I had another baby very soon after I had Parker. I had graduated college and started a real job. My Kathern came along and I had finally grown up. Life seemed to be on the right track and then as if someone had ripped the rug out from under me, my precious little girl was taken unexpectedly while she slept at the babysitter's house. Let me tell you burying your child will change your whole perspective on life. While I had become a better mom this completely changed me. I realized I had taken for granted my role as a momma. I had so much guilt for the time I had lost. I knew what had to be done and I had wasted way too much time not doing it. It took years before I forgave myself and moved on.
NOTHING COULD HAVE PREPARED ME
As I look back on my early years as a mom I realize there is not a thing that could have prepared me for the tragedy, loss, heartbreak, and chaos that showed up on my doorstep and overstayed its welcome. Was I the responsible party for some of it, absolutely but there isn't a book or class available that could have helped me navigate the hell that rained down in my life during those first years. Granted my situation is a lot different than most young moms there are a lot of things that were the same. I wasn't told it was going to be hard. I wasn't told I would feel alone. No one shares the ugly side of becoming a mom. Apart from your body changing, your hormones being all over the place, and you being solely responsible for another life there are all these other factors that play into your new normal, and trust me there isn't a thing normal about it. Society glamorizes parenting in a way that makes us all feel we have to live up to that standard as such and that is a big fat lie.
IT'S OK TO NOT BE THE BEST YOU'LL GET BETTER
I say all this to say you'll survive and even thrive I promise. My son, Parker turned 19 this week and he is the most amazing young man I have ever laid eyes on. Despite me nearly screwing it all up for him. We grew up together. Thankfully, he has no recollection of a time when his mom wasn't on top of her game. I like to say that was God protecting him. I think I am most thankful for God's grace to mothers. He knows it is a tough job. You will get the hang of things. If you're like me and struggling with the fact you might not have been the best. Please forgive yourself. It is the very best thing you can do for yourself and your family. We all make mistakes. An incredible Pastor and former coworker, Larry Shadowen, once told me it isn't about the mistake that is made it's about what you do next. Those words have penetrated deep into my bones helping me to allow grace and mercy to flow where condemnation and guilt once ran free. I have welcomed the chaotic crazy I can be at times and my kids often like hot mess mom better than put together mom on any given day.
LEARN TO LAUGH AT & LOVE YOURSELF
I have been a momma for 19 plus years. I have five children and each one is a different beast. It's like learning to ride a bike all over again with each one. The best advice I can give is to laugh a lot and love the person you are and if you don't like something about yourself, you have the power to change it. I know I'll never be perfect and I've accepted it. I also know my children know they are loved and adored beyond anything they could ever grasp. I am thankful for hard lessons, lots of tears, and a sense of humor because trust me as a mom you're gonna need it.
My prayer is there is a mom out there reading this that has been struggling and she will struggle no more. There is freedom in forgiveness and transparency. Be honest with yourself. If you're having a bad day, say it. If you are exhausted, feel it. If you need a break, take it. The good news is there is not one mother on this planet that's perfect. We have all sucked majorly at something. Some people just don't share it. Today I will take one for the team and hang my dirty laundry out for all to see. Remember that you're awesome and loved and doing a good job.