Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Sundays with Gage- Mothering is hard

Much like the black eye that Gage got at My Gym this week, being a mother also comes with some bruising.  I am a relatively cheerful person and like I said in yesterday’s post I don’t like airing dirty laundry.  I think putting a positive face on most anything will make you happier.  But, as I started reading the very funny book, I was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, I felt such a release and lightening of my mothering load.  See, mothering is hard.  And the dirty little secret of the book is that we are not always happy, fulfilled or holding it all together.  And if I say this it doesn’t mean that I don’t love my son.

The first year of being a mother was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (as a friend told me at lunch on Friday, Gage put me through the ringer) and I wouldn’t trade it.  It stretched me further than I thought possible and I didn’t break.  I’m stronger and tougher for it.  But, in all honesty, I didn’t always love it.  I always loved Gage, but not my life.

But with distance comes perspective and with time comes competence and here we are at 14 months and life is pretty good.  But the thing that I’m starting to realize is that being a mother (at least for me) isn’t the whole picture, it’s a large piece of the puzzle.  I had grand expectations before giving birth, like all mothers do I’m sure, and the reality to this point has been nowhere close to my vision.  So, with distance also comes a reassessing of expectations as reality hits me in the face.

I’m sure that I will gush about this book after I’m done, but it already makes me feel freer to accept that feeling overwhelmed and having less than positive thoughts does not make me a bad mother.  I mentioned it was funny, right?  If you have a friend (or it’s you) who needs to feel like there are other less than perfect moms out there I think this would be a great recommendation (keep in mind I’m only 30 or so pages in).  I Was a Really Good Mom Before I had Kids by Ashworth & Nobile.

Next week I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled lovefest with Gage :)

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January 8, 2012 - Posted by | Gage | ,

51 Comments »

  1. I love the title of that book! Things will get easier as Gage becomes more independent. I’m not saying they’ll be easy, but you’ll get more adult time. I’m sure you’re a fantastic mother!

    Comment by BermudaOnion | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • It gets easier everyday, but an independent little boy still seems very far away. I am lucky to have such a cute one to tide me over :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  2. You are a wonderful mother. And you don’t have to love being a mother 24X7X52X……!! No one expects you to. You be yourself. That is important for Gage…

    Comment by gautami tripathy | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Well, I expected myself to and that’s the problem! Acceptance is the first step :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

      • Stacy, I am not a mother. So you might think I don’t have the experience to comment. But I will tell you this. We are four siblings. My mom loves all of us in different ways. You cannot equalize love. Many a times I have felt she “unloved” me only to realize the opposite in the next moment. Looking back, I don’t want to change anything. Not her scoldings, her “unloving” state or her “seemingly” preferences for my brothers. (I am the only girl). I know I was wrong. She was more protective and strict towards me. Now I and mom are great friends although we argue all the time.

        Mothering can’t be studied from a book. It comes from our inner instincts. I have taken care of my five nieces and nephews on and off. I love them. And I have been strict and disciplined them as and when that was needed. Come to think of it, I am their favourite aunt! (They got no choice!! I am the THE only one!!)

        Comment by gautami tripathy | January 9, 2012

      • Thanks, Gautami. All encouragement is welcome, mom or not :)

        Comment by stacybuckeye | January 11, 2012

  3. This is the dirty little secret of motherhing: That it is hard and difficult and not always as we imagined. I felt much the same way (and still do) but it does get easier as it goes along. I promise!!! That first year is such a wild change like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Plus, as “older” moms, I think we both had to give up our sense of control in life. That was such a shock to me. You’re doing great!

    Comment by Jenners | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • I totally agree about the control thing. When I was younger I had no control and it wouldn’t have been such a shock! I hadn’t really thought of it that way before. I hope Gage turns out as awesome as your BB.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  4. I never had children, but I can close my eyes and imagine what a huge change it is. So many challenges that I’m sure new mother’s never even think about before they give birth! Clearly you’re a terrific mom with an honest heart. Happy Sunday, Stacy!

    Comment by Beth Hoffman | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • I thouhgt I could picture it too, but I couldn’t have come close. Unless I had very honest friends :) Thanks for your encouragement, Beth!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  5. Parenting is hard. But I love the prospective you’ve gained. You are a wonderful mother and Gage is so very blessed. I am amazed by how you deal with all of the new things that have come your way during the past year or so. Your positive outlook and strong character make you a #1 Mom! Jason is a #1 Dad too!

    Comment by Gage's Grandma | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Could never be as great a mom (or grandma) as you are.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  6. Agree with you on all counts, Stacy –
    Mothering is really hard work, but it’s worth it!

    We are pushed, prodded, tested, strengthened, *and* weakened. We have ups and downs, and higher ups and lower downs. And somehow, we survive, and thrive, and find a way to make it work … not necessarily as we expected or wanted/hoped it to work, but the way it will work.

    You’re a wonderful mom, and the fact that you’re willing to read and share about this book is pat of that truth. It looks like a winner, and something I could pick up and learn (and hopefully laugh) with.

    Enjoy a great afternoon with your family!

    Comment by Dawn - She Is Too Fond of Books | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Dawn. Here I am writing about my one and only and you’ve done it 4 times! I do think it’s the unrealistic expectations that need adjusting for most of us.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  7. Stacy, sounds like a great book so far, I should read it. I tell all my friends Parenting is overrated and almost 5 years in I continue to believe it. I love her but life is DIFFERENT and not always in a wonderful way :-)

    Comment by Tea Time with Marce | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • A lot of the life changes I was unprepared for. And I do think that it’s better to be honest about parenting because if everyone only tells you how wonderful it is you go into it with totally unrealistic expectations.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  8. I love the fact that you’ve shared this book and also your perspective with all of us. Oh boy, isn’t mothering hard? I loved the time that my little Samantha (who will be 30 this year) was an infant and I hated it some of the time. I was very, very anxious about many things and so afraid I was “doing it wrong”. Of course, I turned to books, which were helpful and not helpful. We had many ups and downs and in-betweens. One thing I do believe with all my heart – you won’t have to deal with every single issue. What I mean is, my kiddo had colic – Lord did she have colic – but she was easy to potty train. She had multiple-multiple-multiple ear infections, but very few stomach upsets. I struggled with so many “shoulds” and “should-a’s” – stopping breast feeding very early, going back to work when she was 7 weeks old, quitting work just as she went to kindergarten, her problems with catching on to reading, stuff, stuff, stuff. And yet, she grew up. She’s a productive part of society. She’s married 5 years this week and she’s a great labor & delivery nurse. I love her and am so proud of her. We don’t always agree on things, but being a mother is the best thing I ever did, apart from being wife to dear husband. Motherhood, it’s not for the faint of heart. LOL

    Hugs to you, Stacy. Gage is so lucky to have you and Jason. You’re doing a great job, a most important job, but….it’s not all that Stacy is.

    Comment by Kay | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Oh Kay, thanks for acknowledging me. Most of the time I don’t have time to remember who that is! I hear you about not having everything happen. Gage had colic for over 6 months and that awful hospital stay, but he’s never had an ear infection (which I hear are awful). And I worry about his development all the time, but I’ve come to realize lately that other moms do the same and every kid is going at his own pace. I was worried about him not talking and when he did I was so relieved and then I went to My Gym and a mother confessed that her 20 month old wasn’t talking yet and it made me see the big picture. Gage will be fine (no matter how much worrying I do)!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  9. I am giving you a standing ovation! With your attitude and honesty there is nothing you will not be able to conquer! Gage is very blessed that you are his momma. Parenting is hard, it has its ups, downs, joys and disappointments, but I would not trade the experience. My kids (27, 24 & 20) survived me and I survived them, no we thrived!

    Comment by Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)N | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Nise. Please sit down, I don’t deserve all that! I’m hoping that Gage and I will be thriving too.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  10. Poor little sweetheart with his bonked-up face!
    Personally I think mothering is THE most scary thing in the entire universe!!! And you scratch almost any mother and you will hear the same!

    Comment by rhapsodyinbooks | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • I knew it would be hard, but for some reason I thought I was perfectly capable. I was so wrong!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  11. I love the title. And yes, being a mom can be tough, and sometimes, at least for me, it felt like everyone else had it together except me. I knew better, but that didn’t mean much. I still feel that way sometimes.

    Comment by carol | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • We are all trying to look like we’ve got it all together, but I think we’d all be a lot happier if we came clean and admitted to feeling inadequate sometimes.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  12. Sounds like a great book. I wonder if there is something like it for us Mothers of college age children.:)

    Comment by Kimberly Cook Wright | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Bet you’d still nod along with this one!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  13. I also felt like you when I was a young mother of 2 (2.8 mths apart). I loved being pregnant, but I didn’t always love being a mother. I look back and wonder how I made it sometimes, but what you said is true…you are stronger because of it, and it’s so worth it as they become more and more independent. You are a great mom; I can tell.

    Comment by Diane@BibliophileBytheSea | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for the positive reinforcement. I’m told that as I get older I’ll forget how hard it was in the beginning, but I was told that about the delivery too and that hell is still with me :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  14. OMG totally true. There are a lot of dirty little secrets about parenting that no one ever tells you, beginning with pregnancy and childbirth (hello – the UNDERWEAR they give you at the hospital?! Or the things your body expels from you in the months after you give birth – who would have thought? I thought I was done expelling things when my baby came out thank you very much). But on a more serious note, there are a TON of things that they never tell you. They never tell you about what happens when you have post partum depression so badly that you can’t pick your child up, on top of how hard it is to breastfeed, and the fact that your child keeps losing weight and won’t stop crying and you’re so tired you just stand in the shower and let the water hit you because you can’t bear to move anything. I think that I learned more about myself in that first year of being a parent than I had at any time in the previous 28 years on Earth because I was both physically and emotionally challenged more than I had been previously.

    Thank you for this post – it was important to me to know that other moms felt/feel the same way that I did/do. You’re wonderful! Rock on!

    Comment by mkowalewski | January 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Ah yes, the many dirty secrets of motherhood start before the baby even makes his arrival. I never had post partum, but I was depressed and felt pretty inadequate those first 4 or 5 months. The good thing is that with a baby nothing stays the same so if you’re going through a rough patch you know it won’t last forever. I’m glad that you commented. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone too :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  15. Poor baby!

    I like the sound of this book very much. I always feel a degree of guilt that I was never the best mother I could be at all times of my son’s life. But at some point I have to accept the fact that I am in imperfect mother —- as is every mother out there. Well, except for my Ma; she’s the best mother I know!

    Comment by Stephanie D. | January 9, 2012 | Reply

    • I feel the same way about mine. Maybe that’s why I have unrealistic expectations :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 9, 2012 | Reply

  16. Parenting is the steepest learning curve ever, and as you say no one would admit it but it is not always rainbows and lollipops. But thats ok. we still love our kid/s even if they drive us mental sometimes. Nice post and keep up the good work :)

    Comment by Caspette | January 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Mandy. Not always rainbows and lollipops. I like that :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 11, 2012 | Reply

  17. Stacy, I’m so glad you blogged about this book. First, the title made me LOL. And now after hearing about it I plan to get a copy for my daughter who is expecting her first in June. I think she’ll appreciate it after the dust settles. Great post.

    Comment by Mary | January 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Congratulations, again! I say give it to her not before 3 months in. Until then you are a zombie and have no thoughts for anything but baby.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 11, 2012 | Reply

  18. that title sounds dead on . . . . You are a great mom Stacy.

    Comment by kaye | January 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Kaye. I hope Gage thinks so!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 11, 2012 | Reply

  19. Good for you for giving yourself a break! I’ve always said that motherhood is the best, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s not easy and I feel guilty often for things I should have done differently. But the good outweighs the bad by far and I try to have a sense of humor. Having a wonderful, helpful husband a terrific mom and compassionate friends helped me survive this long. Being able to talk to other people going through the same thing makes me feel normal or not so abnormal anyway! My best friend also has 3 boys the same ages as my 3 boys and we have seen each other through thick and thin. And she can make me laugh even when I didn’t think I could. I will always love my children more than anything but I haven’t always liked them. And that’s OK too. We do the best we can and move on to the next crisis. :)

    I’m glad you share you posts about Gage and your life. I hope it helps you too because you need to take care of yourself as well. (A happy mommy makes a happy family!) Motherhood can be so overwhelming and it may be hard to find time for you but it’s important! Have a good support system and do what makes you happy. Gage is very lucky to have you for his mommy!

    Comment by Wrighty | January 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Posting once a week about Gage and being a mom really does help me. Writing about it and then getting feedback from you all encourages me :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 11, 2012 | Reply

  20. Mothering is hard and I don’t think it ever really gets any easier. The situations change and the next hurdle is just as intimidating as the first one. My oldest and I just spent 2 hours on FaceTime having a wonderful conversation that 5 years ago I would never have thought could happen. While, my youngest is having a real ‘attitude’ change this past year and coming into his own opinion and thoughts. He is starting to challenge us in ways that we never thought possible because he’s always been the happy kid. But like you said, life hasn’t always been great but we never stop loving our children. We just need some therapy every now and again! :D

    Comment by Staci | January 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Therapy! Now, that’s something I hadn’t considered :) The hurdles will be different, but at least we’ll be talking (won’t we?).

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 11, 2012 | Reply

  21. One of my dear friends had twin boys a few weeks before ahe turned 40. She hadn’t really expected to be a mom, much less to twins. She didn’t have a lot of experience with kids. She was very carefree and laid back. When they were born she was in tears with me on the phone one night, exhausted, stressed and missing her life. I told her that it was okay to be so spent – why did she think they called it the hardest job in the world? In a tearful moan she said to me that she didn’t realize that they were serious! Poor thing. She learned the hard way, like we all do, that motheerhood is full of a lot of B.S., scarier than a slasher flick and the best way to lose touch with reality. But it is also so full of love, private smiles, and pure amazement that you haven’t ruined the kid yet. Cheers to us for raising two little boys who love their mamas :0)

    Comment by Bumbles | January 9, 2012 | Reply

    • LOL! The operative word in this comment is ‘yet’. There is still plenty of time for ruination. It really does make you out of step with reality. That’s one of the things I miss. Went out for a few hours tonight and came home to huge smiles and a few laughs and the combination made me ready for another week of mothering :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 11, 2012 | Reply

  22. So true, Stacy! Being a parent is hard and being a stay at home parent is also super hard for me. I think it’s such a two-edged sword in our culture when it comes to being a mother. We should always love it. I’m still working on finding that balance of loving it and finding my own space. Always love my son but it is just hard. You just never know what you’re going to get. I’ll have to look this book up. I love that title. It’s like I had all the answers before and now that I have one…why don’t all those answers work quite the same? lol. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Gage is awesome and you’re a wonderful mom! Hugs.

    Comment by Heather | January 11, 2012 | Reply

    • I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom and yet here I am. It does seem like we aren’t supposed to complain about it, but this book has made me realize that just because no one is saying anything that doesn’t mean other moms aren’t having the same issues. We need to support each other!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  23. I think society and we women ourselves, put all these expectations and pressures on ourselves when we become moms. Not that I’m a mom, but I know I would think I was not doing the right thing, or doing things well, etc. Being a mom is hard, and it’s a lot of sacrifice. It’s not for everyone.

    So the fact that you can be honest about yourself, realize and accept that you won’t always be perfect, and you won’t always love it, I think is growth and the real thing to be a good mom. Hope this makes sense :)

    Comment by jennygirl | January 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Absolutely made sense to this mom brain. Thanks, Jenny :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  24. I love your honesty Stacy, I wish I’d been blogging when my children were small as a dose of realism like this would have been much appreciated. Most of my friends had children who slept through, were rarely sick and I always felt so overwhelmed and incompetent LOL. Multiple medical issues sure made my children’s younger years challenging but with them both almost adults, I now worry for different reasons; driving, jobs, girlfriends, peer pressure, financial problems. Like you I didn’t always love motherhood but I loved my boys with all my heart and those small but wonderful moments, the smiles, the milestones reached, the laughs and cuddles and seeing them growing into caring young men makes you feel blessed. Being a wonderful mum isn’t about being perfect and doing it “right” it’s loving your child, doing the best you can and admitting and accepting that you’ll make mistakes. So you must be a wonderful mum :)

    Comment by Teddyree | January 12, 2012 | Reply

    • I’m trying, Sheree! Gage had many hurdles the first 6 months and those were challenging for me and dad. It’s so nice to read the responses and know that I’m not alone :)

      Comment by stacybuckeye | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  25. I can so relate to this post Stacy–and unfortunately feeling guilty for not always loving this new life. I’m currently (and verrrrrrrrrry slowly) reading a book called What Mothers Do and it’s been very helpful in sorting out these feelings. And I know that Literary Feline/Wendy just reviewed a book about motherhood. I’ll add this one to my list as well. It’s wonderful not feeling quite so alone when motherhood can feel so lonely and isolating!!

    Hugs!!

    Comment by Trish | January 28, 2012 | Reply


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