The ups and downs of motherhood
|Painting by Firmin Baes|
Kasey Edwards writes: The truth about raising kids is there are moments of absolute delight and wonder. The highlights of my life have come from my kids. But there are also long stretches of domestic drudgery with peaks of acute frustration and despair. This doesn't mean that we don't love or value our kids. It's just the reality of parenting. (source: Do we really have to love every moment of parenting?)
We need to be real and not pretend that every moment of being a mother and wife is super exciting and rewarding. As Kasey Edwards writes, there will be “moments of absolute delight and wonder and long stretches of domestic drudgery with peaks of acute frustration and despair” but like all aspects of life, there will also be times when you want to throw the towel in, walk away and not come back. Motherhood is not a bed of roses, there are times when it is plain horrible—I particularly found this to be the case when my sons reached the teenage years, it was painful and at times very unpleasant and frustrating but on the flip side, we had lots of fun and laughter.
It isn't surprising that young mothers struggle. New mothers go from spending a weekly average of 2 hours caring for others to a whopping 51 hours when baby arrives* — and she has to adjust quickly and often without much help, no wonder many find it very difficult. Current data show that when women become mothers they also increase the time they spend on housework – like cooking, cleaning and washing – from a weekly average of 16 hours to 25 hours*. So not only is new mum looking after a baby, her workload at home increases considerably. Not surprisingly, many mothers report feeling tired – 40% of women with preschoolers agree they often feel tired, worn out or exhausted from meeting the needs of their children*.
Parenting is a lifetime commitment — we need to take the good with the bad, the exciting with the dull, the emotional highs with the lows. We need to enjoy the precious moments with our children, because it is these memories that get us through the tough times, the sleepless nights and remind us why we do this job and why we never want to give up, even when it’s as tough as climbing Mount Everest.
“What it's like to be a parent: It's one of the hardest things you'll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.” (Nicholas Sparks)
|Painting by Firmin Baes|
And it is important for women to understand that not all women enjoy motherhood and some have little interest in it. Women are not all the same and we need to respect and understand this. Women need to be sensitive to this and not be pushy about children when they meet a woman who has either no children or only a few. They may not be able to have children, don't want any or perhaps very happy and blessed with the one or two they have. Not every woman is cut out to have a large family.
Motherhood is made easier when we have other women to lean on, to talk to and gain advice and wisdom from. This is why older women are so important to younger women and why Paul (in Titus) talks about the need for older women to teach the younger women about motherhood, about being a wife and how to care for their homes — older women have lived life and know all about the ups and downs that younger women face and can provide a wealth of knowledge and support.
*Statistics from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) Study (a 14 year longitudinal survey)