Motherhood: My Work-in-Progress

Some days when I sit down to write, I get stuck and wonder if I really have anything important to say. I try to keep at it anyway, now that I’ve committed to keeping a blog, mainly because I know I’m happier when I’m writing than when I’m not writing. I love the way it helps me to put my feelings and experiences in perspective, and to find balance between my emotions and impulses – and the bigger picture of my life and my family. I also love connecting with people: relating experiences, sharing ideas, and learning not to take myself so seriously.

When I get down to the task, though, my brain doesn’t always want to cooperate. Writing has a very important place in my life – and in my journey through motherhood – but sometimes, it just feels like so much work! Which, I recognize, is not actually that different from motherhood itself.

I’ve been able to embrace most of it, highs and lows. Becoming a mother has brought so many blessings into my life. It’s made me realize I’m a lot stronger than I imagined I could be, from our struggle with infertility to a high-risk pregnancy and a pre-term birth. I’ve learned to have a little faith for the first time in my life: in myself and in general. Four-and-a-half years into raising twin girls, I feel more comfortable being me than I ever have, and I love the little world we’ve established as a family.

And yet, at times I’ve never felt more vulnerable, like my shortcomings and failures overshadow everything else.

Most recently, H was sick this week with a fever and upset stomach. Dealing with intestinal distress is pretty near the top of my Can’t-Do List. I could handle wearing spit-up or washing it out of my hair for the first year of the girls’ lives, but now when one of them says, “My tummy hurts!” I panic. My heart races, and I go into this insane, Lysol-everything-in-sight mode, and I lose sleep worrying about who will get it next and when. How maternal, right? My husband is completely un-phased by this, and effortlessly embraces the hugging and comforting and dreadful clean-up that comes with such an illness. I’m grateful for his ability to do this, but it makes me feel like a jerk. I did my best, and I want to be better, but it definitely makes me feel like less of a mother. Especially when I’m holding H and she says to me, “If you get a fever, I’ll snuggle you ALL day.”

I know there will be no shortage of reminders that I’m a work-in-progress as a mother – which is much harder to accept than being one as a writer.

When the girls fight with each other relentlessly or they’ve each been in time-out twice before 8 AM, I wonder what I’m doing wrong. When I just need some time to myself, or I’m trying to get something done while they show me something for the tenth time in as many minutes, I’m afraid I’m not giving them enough attention. There’s no end to the list of things that stick in my mind. Somehow motherhood keeps me in check, no matter how good I might have felt the day – or the minute – before. And I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’m in over my head. Stuck.

One of the best things about writing is that when I stop over-thinking and actually write, eventually, a piece comes together and falls into place. With two little people depending on me, I have to trust that the same thing will happen with motherhood – that with love and patience, commitment and good intentions, somehow, we’ll all be okay.

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5 thoughts on “Motherhood: My Work-in-Progress

  1. Here’s what gets me about this: 1) “learning not to take myself so seriously” 2) You being more comfortable with yourself now than you ever have, and 3) an awareness to stop over-thinking (which I suppose goes back to not taking yourself so seriously). These get me because they are huge themes in my own life right now, both as mother and writer. Like you, I am an over-thinker and don’t give life enough credit for the light-hearted, the funny. I am proud of you and so happy that you are comfortable with yourself – and what a journey it’s been for you! You give me hope and inspiration that I, too, can reach that place, and maybe even soon.

    For me, your blog comes at a perfect time. I am typing with one hand, as with the other I am holding four-week old Eli, our second. Certainly, those uncertainties and anxieties of motherhood flare up all over again, the never-ending questions of “Can I do it? Am I cut out for this? Am I strong enough? Good enough?”

    I look forward very much to following you here, friend. Thank you so much for sharing! Love

    • Kate, thank you so much for reading and for your reply. I really struggled this week thinking of something to write about, trying to avoid the nagging feelings I’d been wrestling with. But then I decided that was the problem. I beat myself up about writing the same way I do about motherhood, and of course, you know both of those things very well 😉 I’m learning that sometimes I just have to let go a little, which is the hardest thing in the world to do!

      And, congratulations on little Eli! I hope that with a little bit of time (and a little bit of sleep, too!) you’ll be feeling more like the amazing woman you are. You can totally do this – and you are more than good enough! Hang in there, and enjoy those two beautiful little boys. Congrats again to you and Bryan – and thank you for your kind words. XO.

  2. Lisa, every mother feels like she’s not doing it right. We continually compare ourselves to other mother’s – T.V moms or just other mom’s we know. Never realizing that every mom is feeling exactly like we are and mom’s on T.V. aren’t real. It took me a long time to be able to clean up “throw up” – 3 kids later I can finally do it without gagging. And my husband is the better cook. But I’m more aware of the kids moods.I’ve learned to be happy with what I do well and not stress over what I don’t do well. Unfortunately children do not come with a manual – all you can do is your best. My best as been to love my kids with all my heart and be sure they knew they were loved. If you can achieve that you’re doing great. From my perspective your girls know you love them – I think you’re doing great. I can’t tell you not to doubt yourself, because doubt goes with motherhood. But like you said – you are not alone.
    I’m also very glad you’re writing. I have always thought you were an excellent writer.

    • Thanks for sharing this, Marianne, and for your kind words. I think your approach – to parent in a way that lets your kids know much they’re loved – is great! I’m sure looking back, that’s all that really matters. Especially when kids grow up and realize their parents are human, too 😉 Thanks again for your reply – and for taking the time to read. XO.

  3. Pingback: Anxiety Aweigh… Please? « A Deep Breath and Baby Steps

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