Please share with me your GREATEST concerns about Motherhood,
and share with me the BIGGEST obstacles in Motherhood.
Thanks everyone, I enjoy getting to know everyone and share joy in this awesome journey called motherhood!
The biggest obstacle I face as a mother is the judgement of other mothers - the near constant drama of breast vs. bottle, WOHM vs. SAHM, co-sleeping vs. Ferber. I spent the entire first year of my oldest son's life feeling like I was doing it wrong and ruining it for everyone because I worked, and had to supplement formula for my voracious little eater. Finally, around the time he turned 1, I realized that NOBODY is right and NOBODY has all the answers. Certain things work for one family that are total failures in another family and you have to figure out what works for you. The most important thing mothers can do for other mothers is to help support them in their parenting even if their choices are not ones we might make for ourselves.
My DH wanted to weigh in on this as he's the stay at home parent. And he feels that the most joy he gets out of parenting has to do with the social aspect of parenting. Having made good friends in other stay at home parents through the school, sports and volunteer opportunities with the kids. For me just knowing they are being cared for by their loving father while I work is wonderful! It elleviates my stress and I enjoy being the provider. So it's good to hear him say those things.
I had a tough start at motherhood after a very difficult pregnancy. DD shared the womb with a large fibroid tumor that led to pre-term labor and extended bedrest for me. My OB/GYN was hoping for a vaginal birth for me, due to the potential for me to hemorrhage during a c-section. Due to stress on the baby, I had an emergency c-section. All turned out well and I was thankful that I was in the right place for my caregiver to take quick action. Then I struggled with breastfeeding and went through enormous guilt about formula feeding. After more than one month of tears, guilt, and society-induced feelings of shame, I embraced the situation and chose to focus my energies on loving my baby girl rather than struggling for an ideal.
Since then, DH and I have had to make a number of important choices about DD along the same lines, from medical choices (we vax) to caregiving while we both work to schooling (we ended up in an awesome public school). After the breastfeeding saga, we decided that we could no longer let ideals run our life choices and focused on what was right for us as a family. We both WOH at jobs that we are passionate about and are both, I believe, great role models for DD. DD is involved in activities both in and outside school that are engaging - it is truly wonderful to see all that she has learned by being exposed to others, from her first days at daycare as a toddler to today, as a third-grader. I am further blessed by the fact that DH is an awesome father that takes pride in sharing parenthood with me.
I really feel that those early struggles around DD's birth and first months laid the foundation for us to make the right choices later, freeing us from the judging eyes of those around us. I wish that all mothers (and fathers) could find such freedom from dogma and ideals. Life is not ideal and is really all about making balanced, well-informed decisions that put the needs of our family members first, both collectively and individually.
I see more challenges in "parenting" than I do in "motherhood" because as a parent I'm just half of the equation. I also think that everyone's experiences and circumstances are completely unique and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. My personal experiences, hopefully, have made me more empathetic to others' unique circumstances. I didn't always want to be a parent, or better yet, I think that DH and I were simply ambivalent about the whole thing. As fate would have it, though, we became proud parents when I was 42 (I'm 49 now and DD is six). DH is 63, so our path has been less than traditional - although I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are also "older" parents.
The practicalities of two oldies like ourselves parenting a wonderfully active child like DD has been fun but challenging, partly because we were pretty much set in our ways when DD came along and her presence really turned our lives upside down. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world and despite the challenges of parenting, I've had no ocassion to feel joyless or pressured. Tired sometimes, maybe, but I think that happens with anyone even with the best support systems in place.
My personal experience, not so much with parenting but with life in general, is that when I am robbed of joy or happiness it is because I have set myself up to a standard of perfection that I could not possibly achieve or was appropriate for my circumstances. That robs me of joy. Parenting often requires me to evaluate myself and the biggest mistakes I have made is comparing myself to others. That's a human thing, because I did the same thing pre-child, but I think that parenting magnifies that because everyone is suddenly an expert.
Other than that, I love, love, love being DD's mom and sharing in this journey with my DH. Life is so much richer for me now.
Huh, I only now noticed that this was under the SAHM forum. It is interesting that, by placing this in this particular forum, is basically a statement by the OP that the experience of WOHMs are irrelevant to "Motherhood". I guess that I should not be surprised, but I guess my siggy sums it all up.
I'm going to answer for both dh and myself, since we work opposite shifts and split the parenting duties:
DH, weekend SAHP: Greatest concern is balancing playtime and educational activities for the kids with keeping up the chores within the home. Greatest obstacle is lack of money to do all the fun, enriching things he would like to provide for our kids.
Me, weekday SAHP: Same as above, really, although I think I struggle with balancing personal time and kid time more than he does. He is definitely the more selfless, patient parent than I am, so I'm glad that he is so involved. Overall, though, our parenting experiences are pretty similar since we both spend roughly the same amount of time with the kids and in the provider role.
Greatest JOY, for both of us: Getting to watch our amazing babies grow up into amazing individuals.
Wow, 10 kids is really impressive! I'd actually be much more interested in hearing about the logistics of keeping them all in line and keeping them from fighting, honestly. I have 3, and it is quite the handful! I think a realistic book about schedules and making sure that the needs of every child is met in a large family would be very interesting. I'll be honest that another book about how I need to be happy all the time and appreciate these passing moments and blah blah blah is really not something I'd find interesting at all. I'm already in the trenches, and don't really need to hear about how I need an attitude adjustment: I think there's a VERY fine line between being inspirational and being sanctimonious. But I think that some practical advice could be interesting.
Just a suggestion.
Thanks for that input!
This is more to logistics of managing your chores, and how to encourage kids to respect, honor and obey their parents.
While this is NOT targeted specifically to SAHM, I chose to put it in this forum as I am new to Mothering, and figured it was a good place to start. The assumption that I think you must have a large family, breastfeed, co-sleep, or any other parenting choice is irrelevant to this topic.
What I have found is that by creating a certain amount of order, with your morning routine, or your rules and responsibilities of individuals in a household...This is what can make or break the JOY and peace in a house.
I have seen SO MANY parents with kids who, smart, smack, talk-back, ignore, and blatantly disobey their parents, and as a Mother first, and an Entrepreneur second,I would hope to help those families find a balance, so that their children can find SUCCESS in life. (I am not talking about being millionaires, I am talking ENJOYING life!)
Parenting is NOT for sissies, and too many get themselves in over their heads and they either give up on fixing the problem, or they honestly have no idea where to turn for help.
I do not proclaim the answers for everything, but I DO know some simple steps CAN bring back the spark or the enjoyment of being a family! I think too many of us live with regret, or dread, I want to see more mom's (and dad's) SMILING while they parent!