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I’m not sure how exactly to handle life with Monkey Boy sometimes. Others, including Hun, seem to think and believe that “motherhood suits me” or some such thoughts. I, on the other hand, doubt this. I do what I think is best and ‘right’. That’s all I’ve ever done in life. So that’s all I did when it came to pregnancy and birth.
Often though, I essentially find myself wondering what I’m doing, am I doing well, am I doing things ‘right’, and how do I go on? The last one is the problem.
There are definite days, and they’ve seemed fairly frequent as of late, where I don’t know how to go on. When Monkey Boy cries, I’m annoyed or frustrated, yet also ashamed and guilty. I get quite upset at times and thus begins a cycle of more frustration, shame, guilt, feeling of ineptitude and sometimes worthlessness. What I do in those moments, is usually walk away. I’ve even yelled for Monkey Boy to be quiet.
Inherently I know walking away is ok, but I feel bad.
Inherently, I know that raising my voice sometimes isn’t detrimental, per se.
Intellectually, I know that I’m supposed to go crazy when Monkey Boy cries. After all, that’s a natural reaction as the result of hormones and whatnot.
Therein lies the problem, though, at least for me. For, it is precisely at these times that I feel the most guilt because I see my walking away, my frustration, and my anger as incompetence. There are everyday examples that do not signify incompetence, yet I still feel incompetent during these moments. See, there are very few things that I’ve ever truly been incompetent at. Yet, I feel so incompetent when it comes to mothering my child.
It hurts to admit this, but it’s true. I.feel.incompetent. I don’t know how else to say it and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel I just don’t know how to be a mother.
I’m not even sure I know what being a mother is. I didn’t have the worst childhood ever, it pales in comparison to some childhood’s I know about or have been involved with. Yet, at the same time, I have quite a difficult relationship with my own mother. This feeds into my doubt about knowing what mothering and motherhood are.
I have always been told by others that I’d make a great mother, that I’m nurturing and caring. I guess that’s what makes a good mother. But, what do you do when you doubt this ability? What do you do when you can’t even see right in front of you; when you’re looking at your child and wondering how it is that you came to be said child’s mother; when you look at your child and your heart swells with love and admiration; when baby is crying and screaming and you know you’re on the brink of insanity because you can’t think straight, you can’t even think of a solution or option that otherwise you would. And this is truly how I feel sometimes.
Monkey Boy is 3 months old and he’s doing the best he can. He loves his mother, he loves when she holds him, loves when she talks or plays or giggles with him, loves the milk she provides to him. Always, he wants to be near his mother. Some days he’d prefer never to leave her side (arms, breast). Quite often he shows his mother how he’s growing and learning about himself, the world, even her.
To his mother, he is beautiful and strong and wonderful. He doesn’t know that his crying and screaming affects his mother’s ability to simply think a single coherent thought, because his crying and screaming is sending her over an invisible edge that she has absolutely no control over. His mother thinks she is negatively impacting him. His mother doesn’t want to harm him nor cause him undue stress, especially at his most tenderest of ages. His mother does love him, in ways that are inexpressible through words. He is his mother’s world, in so much as he is in her thoughts, her wishes, her hopes, her dreams – her pure and unconditional love for him.
This is also the point of my perceived incompetence. I’m not so great with emotional things. Emotional things are really very difficult for me sometimes, especially the more important someone is to me. The more that person truly unequivocally relies on me for basic sustenance, for nurturing, for growth, for health. That is such a monumental and exhausting task.
I don’t even remotely regret becoming a mother, having the family that I have, the relationship with Hun, nor the life I have the opportunity to live today. It is difficult though. It is all very taxing on me emotionally. Pregnancy itself has rocked my relationship with myself in some ways. Recovering from pregnancy while also caring for Baby has rocked me to the core in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. This isn’t a bad thing, it is simply an adjustment.
An adjustment that is very trying. An adjustment that has no road map. An adjustment which also has no clear signposts. An adjustment that is at its very core emotional, complex, challenging, and utterly life altering.
Emotional stuff gets me, every.single.time. No matter how hard I’ve worked before, no matter how much I’ve learned about emotions for myself or for others, no matter what healthy boundaries I have or self-love and confidence I’ve garnered. And so this is what makes mothering and motherhood so difficult for me sometimes. This is the crux of my perceived incompetence. And it is exactly what I need to overcome.
If not, I won’t be able to see what others see in me. I will always feel like a failure and a fraud. So, this is what I will wake up every day and keep working on, no matter how hard, no matter that I don’t seem to know what to do all the time, no matter that it hurts. I will wake up every day and look at that wonderful angelic sweet smiling, laughing, playful Baby and I will know that all the struggle is worth it. I will know that yes, I can try again today, and today I will maybe have the same struggles, or maybe, just maybe it will flow more smoothly than the previous and that’s how I’ll know I’m doing an ok job.
All I want to do is be a great mother to my son. All most mothers want is to be a great mother to their child(ren). All anyone wants is to do the best for any child.
By getting up and continuing to work at it, I AM being a great mother. By pushing forward in that way I’ve always pushed forward, I will be a great mother. That is the mother he deserves and the mother he will get!