Motherhood is filled with lies. Lies others tell you and lies you tell yourself. Sometimes you know you are lying. Sometimes you don’t. It’s the same when others are lying to you. Sometimes you know you are being lied to whereas other times you don’t. As time goes on, you begin to become adept at deciphering the lies from the truth about motherhood.
Have you heard this lie?
This is one of my favorite lies that others tell you and that you tell yourself. It’s hard to say who spreads it more. It is the suggestion that over time, being a parent will get easier.
Let me set any new mothers straight on this. It never gets easier. I’m sorry. I wish for your sake and for my sake that it did, but it never does.
What does happen is that you get better at it. It’s sort of like brain surgery. Brain surgery is never easy. It never gets easier, you just get better at doing it. You adapt to the level of stress and skill that is involved. You develop skills that help you in doing your job. It gives you the false confidence at times that it has gotten easier, but then a new problem that you haven’t encountered before rears its ugly head in surgery and you are back at square one feeling completely inept and struggling to complete the surgery successfully.
It took me a long time to accept this truth. I hung onto the delusion that it would get easier one day. During Gus’s early months, I told myself that if he just stopped screaming and crying for hours it would be easier. And guess what? Eventually, he did stop screaming and crying for hours. But, it still wasn’t easy because he wasn’t sleeping through the night and I was exhausted. I told myself that once he started sleeping through the night, it would get easier. Then, he started sleeping through the night. Still not easy. Now, he had begun to throw the arch back baby fits whenever he didn’t want to do anything and had learned how to whine which I was beginning to think might be worse than the crying. I told myself it would get easier once he started to learn how to talk and could express himself in words. Then he wouldn’t be so frustrated and need to throw fits. He learned to talk and he learned to talk quite well. His talking brought with it a host of other problems. Finally, I quit telling myself it was going to get easier when ______.
It was in Gus’s third year when I had one of those- “a-ha” light bulb moments. It dawned on me that parenting was never going to get easier. Gus was always going to be going through something. As soon as he reached one milestone, another milestone would be on its way. Each phase and each milestone would have its challenges. And when you’re in the middle of it, it always seems tough.
I found myself having to accept all over again that parenting is simply hard. It always will be.