Motherhood is full of challenges, isn’t it? In all my hopes and dreams of becoming a mom, I never imagined I’d be writing a post entitled “Surviving the challenges of motherhood.” So many challenges…we never even imagined before having children. Today we are happy to have another of our Never Will I Ever contributors guest posting and talking about how she gets through her most challenging days. Karen’s essay Confessions is the first chapter of Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!). Please help me give a warm welcome to Karen Johnson of the 21st Century SAHM!
How do you do it? When moms face their greatest challenges…
My husband is getting ready to leave for a work trip, which will last between four and six weeks. He will not come home at all during this time, and we will probably talk to him once a day at the most due to his intense schedule. Whenever one of his long work trips is approaching, my fellow mom friends always say, “I don’t know how you do it.”
How do I do it? Part of me wears it like a badge of honor. Because, I’ll be honest. It is fucking hard. I have three kids under seven. I have been pregnant, nursing newborns with toddlers underfoot, potty-training, fighting a whole-house stomach flu, and hiding from tornadoes during some of these trips. They are long. And I am pulled veeeeeery thin. But at the end, I am able to look back at the weeks of doing it all — all of the bedtimes, all of the soccer practices, all of the cooking, all of the snow-shoveling, all of the middle of the night bad dreams, and feel a sense of pride. Turns out, I can do it. How? I just do.
One mindset that helps me through the darkest of days (usually around week three, I hit a wall), is to think of other moms, moms whose lives are different, harder, and I wonder how they do it.
Military wives, when your husband is fighting overseas for a year, how do you do it? How do you put on a brave face for your kids every single day?
Moms of kids with special needs, how do you do it? How do you find the strength, the energy, to put one foot in front of the other, each morning?
Moms of multiples, oh my insanity. How the frick do you do your life?
Moms who work 12-hour shifts and come home to help your children with homework, cook dinner, do the laundry, and pack lunches for tomorrow, how do you do it?
Moms who are competing, climbing the corporate ladder, all the while raising a family at home, how in the hell do you do it all?
Moms who are terrified of homelessness because there is no money to pay the rent, how on earth do you get through your days?
Shit, your lives are hard. I honestly cannot imagine how you do it, but I’ll bet, if I asked you, your answer would be a lot like mine. You just do it. And that’s what I’ll say, if you ask me, around week three or four of my husband’s upcoming work trip. I’ll probably look worn out, and I might have less patience for my 2-year old’s tantrums in the cereal aisle. I may let the kids watch too many screens. And I’ll probably order A LOT of pizza. But if you ask me, or ask any of us who may face a challenge, whether it is a month-long or a life-long challenge, how we do it, there is really one answer. “We just do it.”
Karen is a former English teacher turned SAHM of three. She began writing a few years ago as she felt her brain atrophying into a watery blob and the rest of her drowning in a sea of poop, pee, and boogers. Her blog The 21st Century SAHM is a cathartic mix of sarcasm, angry rants, and heartfelt confessions. Her work can also be found on other sites such as Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, The Good Men Project, What the Flicka, Mamalode, Mom Babble, Blunt Moms, and Sammiches & Psych Meds. Karen is a Today Parents contributor and also contributes regularly to KC Parent magazine. Follow her blog the 21st Century SAHM or visit her on Facebook or Twitter.