Parenting is an adventure I wanted no part of. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve woken up defeated and ready for an opt-out button from motherhood. The fact that I have to show up for my child, whether or not tired, has been the hardest reality to grasp.
I’m not a natural nurturer. Since childhood, I had no desire to be a mother. I broke apart all the dolls bought for me as tending to them or even my younger cousins made little sense to me. I knew then that I wasn’t cut out for kids.
Life has a twisted sense of humour. In 2015, I found out I was pregnant. I was more afraid than excited. It was a high-risk pregnancy and going through it alone was traumatic. However, later in the pregnancy, I was annoyed. My life had been taken over by a tiny human growing inside of me, and there was no escaping him. I couldn’t eat what I wanted or sleep when I wanted, as his kicking would keep me up.
My son was born at 32 weeks and that meant a prolonged hospital stay, however he gained the requisite weight and they discharged us in nine days. Life at the hospital was simple. There were no expectations to be knowledgeable about motherhood. The nurses were supportive. All I had to do was feed the baby, sleep, and eat.
Things changed when we got home. There was no safe space to make mistakes and learn. I somehow had to know how to raise a child and all the emotions that accompany that as if I was born with a handbook attached to me. I resented the change from the hospital as life in the real world heighten my insecurities and exposed my shortcomings to scrutiny by my family.
I resented not having an identity outside being a mother. My entire life revolved around my child and that was overwhelming. I thought of joining “Mommy Groups” on Social Media but refrained from it as I would have had no significant contribution. I wanted to get away from my son while other mothers found fulfillment doting on their kids.
Before having a child, I didn’t appreciate just how tough and taxing raising one is. My son and I are opposites. I’m introverted, calm, and thrive in solitude while he is energetic, talkative, and very extroverted. You can imagine how exhausted I am constantly.
The mistake I made was viewing my introversion as a flaw, as something to be ashamed of. I went through the motions of raising him without being emotionally invested because I obsessed about getting things right, but there’s no right way to parenting. It’s a long journey of trial and error. I’ve embraced who I am and my way of parenting without the need to exert myself.
Five years into parenting, I am still overwhelmed. My son asks a million questions per day, wants to play all the time, and is constantly on the move from morning to night. I sometimes have to beg him to sleep because he doesn’t know when to stop. His energy exhausts me.
So where do tired moms go?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a Mommy Resort to escape to? A place where we can be ourselves in all our glory. One can decide the duration of their stay, be it an hour or a few, a day or a week.
We can sit in a circle, drink our wine, eat our chocolate without sharing, cry, laugh, or whatever our hearts’ desires. The kids can be looked after in another wing and we can finally have time to collect our thoughts, catch up on the reading we’ve put off, have conversations about things unrelated to our kids, and have uninterrupted sleep.
Until someone builds that Mommy Resort, I make it a point to steal pockets of time to do what I like. I hike, read, watch science videos on YouTube and spend as much time alone as I can manage. I am a better mother when I’ve had my solitude.
I still don’t know what I’m doing, and that’s okay. Every day is an opportunity to learn. Nurturing may not be second nature to me, but I am a damn good mother and I thank the internet (Google and mom blogs) for validating the parent I am when my immediate environment was harsh.
I wrote this post locked in the bathroom with my son banging on the door because he wanted to ask more questions. More often than not, I want to look him in the eyes and say,
“Look, I get it. You like me. I like you too but please give me 5 minutes, I need to breathe.”
And I know that he will respond with his infectious laugh or a hug.