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Sometimes Motherhood Just Plain Sucks

Some time ago when I was shopping alone at Target on a weekday morning – an altogether pleasant experience now that my children are in school – I witnessed a mother struggling to appease the unreasonable demands
of her toddler. I tried hard to focus on my shopping and ignore the
incessant whining and crying that came from the next aisle, but it was
impossible. At that moment I felt a visceral connection to this mother
I didn’t know.

It wasn't long ago that I was her: a mom with a baby and
toddler in tow, trying desperately to focus on whatever it was I came
to Target for. I wanted so much to walk around the corner and say to
this woman, "I know exactly how you're feeling. Is there anything I can
do?" Instead, I said nothing. I simply wheeled my cart in the other
direction and went about my business, wondering the entire time whether
that mom eventually bribed her child into silence or just picked her up
and left.

It was this experience that led me to write my second
book. There's a secret among mothers -- among all parents, really, that
no one wants to admit: the early years of motherhood can just plain
suck. Raising children this age -- particularly full-time -- is
exhausting work, and the choice to do so makes one’s life significantly
harder. While the physical demands have become easier over the decades
– since women now have a vast array of technology and convenience foods
to help ease their burden – the emotional demands have not.

Progress or
no progress, the sacrifices involved in early motherhood are
unavoidable. There is no escaping the reality of what it feels like to
have an appendage attached to you 24/7, or what excessive whining and
discipline problems will do to an otherwise happy marriage. This
experience is particularly difficult for a generation that has been
raised to eschew sacrifice. Moreover, today’s mothers are raising their
children in a vacuum – away from their families and in neighborhoods
that have become increasingly desolate – which make them feel isolated
and alone.

The freedom to admit motherhood is hard -- and that
No, you're not always delighted to spend your days with small chidren – is incredibly liberating. It does no one any good to smile all the
time and pretend motherhood is pure delight; every parent knows this
isn't true. So if you have babies and young children at home, the next
time someone asks you how you are, try telling them the truth for a
change – no matter how unpalatable it may be. It really can set you
free! (Admit it: Don't you feel better just reading this?)

For more from Suzanne Venker, click here.



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