Mothering is Hard Work

mothering

Mothering is hard work.

My children bring so much love and laughter into my life but that doesn’t mean that mothering a 2 and 22 month old isn’t hard.

Changing diapers, drying tears, dealing with tantrums, attempting to soothe a gassy baby and a toddler who explores dirty diapers are parts of a normal day. Then there’s endless laundry from clothes and cloth diapers. Add to that a toddler who won’t nap, a baby who doesn’t want to be put down and the crying…somebody is always crying (and somedays, it’s not just the tiny people doing the crying!)

Being a mama is so much harder than I imagined. 

Some days I wake up and long for the moment my husband arrives home. I often get to the end of the day and think, what did I accomplish? The floors are still dirty, the dishes unwashed, dinner was cheese and crackers and the straightening up I did do, has been undone.

I know I’m not alone. Mothering is hard.

Every mother has struggles. Unfortunately, we don’t share these struggles and since they’re not shared, we are more afraid to open up.

I suppose we’re afraid to share because other women will no longer think we’re perfect (ha ha!) or we don’t want to unload our issues on other women. But, we need to share with the women around us the struggles we really are facing.

Sometimes, just talking reveals that you’re overreacting to the situation. By sharing, you may receive a piece of advice that makes a huge difference in your role as a mama. And worst case, by opening up to other mamas, you’ll build stronger relationships.

After a rough day yesterday, I’ve realized the importance of a community of other mothers  around me, supporting me, encouraging me and listening to my struggles.

I have friends with children older than mine who understand and remember what it’s like to have 2 under 2. My plan is to open up to them, share my struggles and ask for advice as well as encouragement.

Mothering is hard work but there’s no reason to do it all alone. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the hard work of mothering and  I welcome any advice for managing two little ones!

(Mothering is hard but babies are sweet! I love wearing my sweet boy in my Baby K’tan!)

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responses to “Mothering is Hard Work” 45

  1. Rachel, Well said! So true. Mothering is hard work and there is no paycheck to deposit at the end of the week. They could not write a check big enough to cover all the work. Every stage of mothering has its challenges and each one seems to difficult. And that is because when we finally master the tough stage, we have moved on to the next one.
    Cherish the moment. Love the little ones. Too soon they will be asking for the car keys.

    1. As difficult as these days are, I'm trying to savor them. As much as I want the boys to be a little bit older, I'm trying to enjoy them at this stage since I know it does pass by so fast! Paxton will be 2 next month…I'm in disbelief and I'm sure you're saying the same too now that Bethany is almost out of college!

  2. This post is timely! Since moving away from all of our family and friends 8 years ago, I've struggled with finding where I fit in in this tiny community. The last few years, I've felt like I'm finally getting there. And through that, I've realized just how amazing it feels to be able to turn to other women and just share my day. My struggles, as well as my triumphs and successes.

    The last few years I feel as if God has been nudging me to form a women's group for our area. As women we all need to tear down our walls and support and encourage each other. It's the only way we'll make out on top! 🙂

    1. I've been blessed to be a part of a wonderful mom's group since moving here but I tend to keep everything to myself, thinking that nobody wants to hear my 'whining'! But, I'm going to share more and ask for help! I talked to one of those precious women for 30 minutes last night and it was so encouraging! And I agree, as women, we need to encourage one another!!

  3. Rachel: Mothering is hard work, but no other job is as important. You know that I had to go a second round for a while and raise my grandchldren. You were a welcoming person to take my grandson to during that time, and I will never forget that. He loved you and I admired the kind and gentle teacher that you were when he needed that so much in his life. Hold on to your faith, take it one day at a time, and lean on God's strength moment by moment, day by day, and before you know it you will be wondering where that time went and miss "some" of those times that you had when they were young and some you may never want to relive again. lol Be encouraged and I commend you for staring this page for mothers and know that God will use you to help others and will bless you abundantly for you initiative. God bless. TONI

    1. Oh, I agree, it is the most important job I could ever do! And, I'm so blessed that my days are spent with my children. Thank you for your encouraging words to me. And tell sweet Mekhai hi from Miss Rachel! 🙂

  4. Rachel,
    This is His plan for you. His plans are good. You make Him smile, Mama. That's all the approval you need.

    Maria

    1. Oh, thank you for these words to remind me I am right where God wants me, doing what I'm supposed to be doing by being a mama to these sweet boys!

  5. Mothering is hard work. My girls are now 7 and almost 5. It is still hard work but, it is not as physically demanding. But, there are things I miss from when they were little like breastfeeding, tiny baby hands, giving them a bath together, making baby food and so much more.

    Don't worry about all the things you didn't get done. Focus on everything you did for your little ones. You kept them safe, warm, their tummies full, you hugged and kissed them and gave them your attention and love. Even with older children my house is never prefect. I never feel like I did everything I needed to do. But, I can always look back and say I read to the girls for an hour today or we made cookies together ect. I know they will remember those moments more then the unfolded pile of laundry.

    1. I know mothering never gets easier! Just last night my own mama called me to make sure I was keeping an eye on the weather as storms were all over our area! I know I'll do the same when my children are older because I'll always be their mama. These days with two tiny ones are demanding but you're so right, I am going to miss breastfeeding a sweet baby, the belly laughs of a toddler from something so simple as jumping and just having little ones! And already, the days that I remember are days when we snuggled and read stories or played outside or when I let Paxton 'help' me cook {which is work but oh the smile on his little face while he is helping!}

  6. I hear you… I have a major struggle with trying to keep things clean and tidy… and I fear it may be taking away from the cherishing of moments with my son. They do grow too fast.

    1. My personality wants to have things perfectly neat and clean. I've settled for tidy these past {almost} 2 years but most days it feels like chaos! Of course, there are absolutely no regrets that I let the dishes sit in the sink so I could take Paxton outside to play or let laundry sit unfolded because a fussy baby just needed his mama to hold him. You're so right, they do grow way too fast!

  7. I can relate to this post so, so much! In addition to being a mother of two, I work full-time, 6 days a week. I work opposite shift of my fiance so each weeknight it is just me parenting. I average about 4 hours of sleep a night (I get up at 3:20 am for work.)

    I often feel like I do "nothing" when in reality I did so, so much – even if it is not visible to the eye. What I mean is, in addition to the tasks I may have done at work or the household chores I may have done I do a ton each day that you can't see! You do too! Every interaction with your little ones is teaching them and molding them. It's hard to put into words. It took me a long time to "let go" of keeping things in order and "doing everything." One way that I was able to do this was to pick one thing, just one, that I wanted done each night before bedtime. I chose to make sure the kitchen was clean. Dishes washed, floors swept, counters cleaned and clutter picked up. Why? The kitchen is where I start my day and in order to start it off right I needed to be at peace with it. The rest of the house might be in disarray but as long as I can start out in that nice, clean, orderly kitchen my day gets off to a great start and sets me up for a wonderful day – despite any little messes I might encounter 🙂

    1. Shelley, I have so much respect for working mamas! You work full time, take care of your children and have a house to maintain. All I have is children and a house and that's hard! I love your one thing suggestion! My one thing would be dishes too! I try to wash the dinner dishes each night and we usually pick up the living room as part of Paxton's bedtime routine {since most of the 'mess' is typically toys!} I need to just need to remember that my children are the most important thing, keeping the house tidy {not perfectly clean!} is secondary!

    2. Hit the nail on the head! Got to have that clean kitchen – it's totally the spring-board of our day. And can I say the nights we don't get the kitchen clean, those dishes usually sit until the next night. Truth.

      1. I know! In the afternoon if the dirty dishes created while I was at work aren't washed I must to do it, immediately! If it gets too close to dinner time then there will only be more and let's be honest, after dinner there are so, so many things to get done! Baths, sometimes laundry (for me), assisting small ones in toy pick-up etc. There is just no time for dishes (for me) in the evening! That's why I do the bulk in the afternoon and then have just our dinner dishes to wash. Since it is just me and the kids, one of whom doesn't eat with us yet, we make minimal dishes that I can clean up in minutes!

  8. Well said Rachel. Having one baby took me nearly one year to adjust to. I am just getting my confidence back and Rita is 14 months old! I just can't imagine that in the next four months I will be back to where I was a year or so ago and where you are now. Remain hopeful.
    I am SO glad you have community where you are. I have my family near (which = major blessing) but there is not a community of mothers who share my faith, values, desire of simplicity, etc. nearby. Embrace those two friends like you would a warm cup of joe on a chilly morning! 🙂 cheesy analogy – but that is bliss for me! Something that has helped me is to choose to not feel guilty about putting Rita in her crib to have down time (she isn't always able to settle down and sleep) so that I can catch my breath, eat, potty without hanging my head out the bathroom making sure she doesn't bust her face, wash my face, brush teeth, etc. I know ya'll are exploring Montessori but maybe putting a baby gate at Paxton's bedroom door and letting him have down time would let you catch your breath. I will pray for you. St. Gerard, patron saint of mothers, pray for us!

    1. Honestly, the first 6 weeks were easy {I think it was because I relaxed my standards and was just focusing on feeding us, washing dishes, doing laundry & washing diapers!} Now that Weston is 2 months, I feel like I should be getting back to normal {although I have to remember it's going to be a 'new normal' since we've added another family member into the mix.} And, Paxton is back in the crib…being crib free gave him too much freedom!! 🙂 I put him down to rest each afternoon. Since his last tooth cut through, he's even napping some afternoons again which is nice. He typically happily plays in his crib which is a nice break. Thanks for your words of encouragement and prayers!!

      1. Oh (sigh of relief)! So glad you have Paxton back in his crib! Rita co-slept through 11 months and now is totally in love with her crib for which I am so so grateful to God. And so glad he is resting again – those teeth can be nasty buggers.

        Isn't it so weird that we put these imaginary expectations on ourselves, like where do they come from? I have a friend who is totally able to let go of them and that is so incredible to see (so actually, she IS a GREAT support and community and less than three miles away)! I was reading your reply and thinking… two months…Weston is totally still a newborn! If I didn't live a ga-gillion miles from you I would come mop those floors once a week and chat until we are blue in the face, but alas we are a ga-gillion miles away. So, yes, more prayers your way for which I am so happy to say for such a good-hearted momma! I bet by Easter you will feel better than you do now and I think that in itself will be progress. Yes, a totally new normal with a new temperament and preferences takes time to adjust to. Oh! Ok, I promise I will stop after this, but my mom taught me to put on music (we love Pandora with Elizabeth Mitchell = kids folk) and open the blinds and let that set the mood. Sometimes we just need a little sunlight and song. 🙂

        Mmm and I'm just remembering how I fell in love with Tyler (husband) in this amazing, different, new way after Rita was born – hope you have that too!

    2. Sista Girl,
      It took me 5 years to adjust to baby number one, and I still wasn't fully adjusted before baby number 2 came along. I think it could take another 5 years or so to adjust to being a mother of 2. LOL

  9. Yes, mothering is Hard work. My children are grown with families of their own,
    but what I wouldn't give to hold them as a babe in my arms again.
    Cherish and enjoy your babies, you'll get around to cleaning when you can.

    BABIES DON'T KEEP

    Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
    empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    hang out the washing and butter the bread,
    sew on a button and make up a bed.

    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

    Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
    (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    (pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

    The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
    and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
    but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
    Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
    (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

    The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    for Children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down, cobwebs.
    Dust go to sleep.
    I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep……

    ~Author Unknown ~

    "Enjoy the little things in life,
    for one day you may look back
    and realize that they were the big things."
    ~A. Smith

    1. I love that poem! Thank you for the perspective from a mama with grown children. I often say my floors will be clean in 25 years, they're impossible to keep clean with a toddler!

  10. Being a momma is hard work! I have 4 kids – the 4th one made 3 boys under the age of 3…yep, 3 boys in diapers! Some days I was so frazzled and couldn't hardly string together a coherent sentence, staring into space like aliens overtook my body. There is much wisdom in your post and the comments. Like most things in our lives there is an ebb and flow – one moment we love where we are, then the next we are in a puddle of tears and chaos. But through the good, bad, happy, crazy, and mediocre times a support system makes a huge difference! A support system of a loving helpful husband, family, friends (online and face-to-face), and church groups help you through the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. Don't ever hesitate to call on your support system! Most of those around you are delighted to help and want to be a blessing to you and your family. When you deny that support, you deny others of a beautiful blessing. Calling on others doesn't make you "weak" as I have thought many times and was raised to believe…support makes you a better parent – a better mother and wife. Just hearing someone say, I understand and share a similar experience or having someone step in and offer dinner or watch your kids for a couple of hours is so refreshing. Then if someone isn't offering, ask – they might know you are struggling. That is tough on us supermoms! Hang in there, the best is yet to come! (And don't hesitate to call on me personally! My boys would love to play with yours!)

    1. Thank you for these words. You're so right, denying others the opportunity to help me out is denying them a blessing. I know I can't do it alone, it's just harder to admit that I can't do it alone!

  11. Love your post, it shares your feelings and I agree shows what others don't want to say.
    I am a mom of 6 kids, and one thing I want to tell you is a hug and a kiss can go along ways.
    Don't forget someday they will grow up (don't wish they will) they will be on there own and you will be missing them wondering where all the time went. Enjoy it, sing a song, clap your hands and be thankful for what you have now not tomorrow.

    1. "Be thankful for what you have now not tomorrow." I'm going to remember this. I know it will be easier (but not easy!) as they grow but I know I'll look back and miss them being so small! And, I have so much respect for mamas with many children, my dream is to have 4 or 5 but I've got to get the hang of 2 first! 🙂

      1. Haha! Yes! I dream of a crew too but getting the hang of two seems like craziness…seasoned mamas with more than two kids are always saying the more blessings (children) you have the easier it gets. I am SO counting on those words and God's grace to fill in where I'm lacking!

  12. Thank you for posting this! I am feeding our 7 week old right now – both soaking in the beauty of motherhood and overwhelmed by how hard this is. This is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done. But then Wesley smiles and I am reminded of how good God is. I wouldn't change a thing.

    1. I understand the smiles! Weston will have been unconsolable and crying through nursing and then all of the sudden he smiles at me and all the frustrations of having a baby I can't soothe just melt away. Being a mama is so hard but it's so wonderful too!

  13. You are absolutely right, but the hard is seasonal. I don't really remember the struggles so much now because I am enjoying the foundation that was laid for them now. My boys are 14, 11(tomorrow), and almost 10, so things have settled down quite a bit. They know right and wrong, they know our expectations, and they know their minds (boy do they know their minds!). We have discussions, which sometimes turn into debates, which sometimes lead to tears or giggles. The one constant with these monkeys that are not so little anymore is that we all love each other fiercely! Hang in there sweetie, this season will be a memory in a flash!

    1. Thank you for this encouragement Amy Lynne! I know this is a short season of life and I'm trying to savor every moment of, even these hard moments! And I'm learning to ask for help through some of the harder moments!

    2. So good to hear! We will have two in August and I am excited and unsure (ok, afraid) of the nutty craziness that Rachel has so well articulated. Looking forward to the different seasons 🙂

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  15. I have to say that as a new mom (only one 4 month old boy) I do get a little tired of people always saying "Cherish these times. They'll grow up so quickly!" Since EVERY SINGLE PERSON that is OUT of that stage of life says it, we hear it plenty. It often sounds like it's cheapening my struggle. I wish a few more moms would say, "Yes, it is VERY hard! Hang in there! You'll get through it. This stage won't last forever!" and affirm my struggle.
    So, Rachel, yes, it is a very hard thing you are doing. Hang in there. You can make it -even if it's only one hour at a time! It won't be this way forever.
    Blessings!

    1. It is so hard to cherish the times when they are hard!! Of course I remind myself that when I look back on Paxton as a newborn, I tend to just remember the wonderful things like him sleeping on my chest or holding him for 2 hours after nursing and forget about the day in, day out struggles. I think many people just genuinely forget how hard it is and just think about a sweet, cuddly baby but it's hard when you're the mama of that sweet little bitty baby!

      Now that I've been talking about my struggles {and not pretending like I 'have it together'…ha ha!), I've been so encouraged by other mamas who remember what it's like to have little ones and offer encouragement and advice. And I love the hour at a time suggestion, I've had a day at a time mentality but on those rougher days, I need to remember to take it an hour at a time!

  16. I just read this post and wish I had read it 6-8 months ago. My second was tough – and I thought I was failing. Now that he is 13 months and the light is shining at the end of this tunnel – I have been catching up and reading a handful of blogs that I could read for almost a year… I hear your words so loud and clear. Lonely but not alone. Stressed but blessed.

    1. Hoping that 15 months is the magical age for you! You're so close. Just know you're not alone and your high needs little one is blessed to have you as a mama! It is hard but it's also a huge blessing!

  17. I am right there with you in the thick of things. Today was one of those days. My kids are the exact same age (baby born Jan 1 and oldest turned 2 on Jan 20th). My lunch/dinner tonight is a brownie and almond milk. Lol, I literally could have written this post! Today I am burnt out, but tomorrow will be a better day. That's the hope, anyway 🙂 Hang in there. We will make it because the sweet moments refuel us 🙂

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