for when I hate motherhood

I hate motherhood.

I’ve never said those words aloud, so it feels wild to be typing them and especially wild to be typing them with the intent of sharing this heart secret with the internet world. But I think it’s time to say it: I hate it.

When I see the bleary-eyed joy in a friend’s newborn announcement photo or the quirky cute pregnancy announcement on social media, my heart cringes and my eyes blur.  Do they know what they’re getting into? How can they look so happy? Am I the only one who can’t be happy in this joy?

Don’t get me wrong: motherhood is the most beautiful, wonderful, fabulous, joyful, awesome, fun, marvelous experience I’ve ever walked. And I hate it.

Let me say this another way: I adore my girls, would give my life for them, relish the milestones, and obviously think they are the cutest children ever born. And I hate motherhood.

You’re probably still shocked, and that’s kind of my intent. (Hate might not be the most accurate word, but it’s definitely the most explosive. I chose it intentionally.)

I am only three years into this motherhood journey and am finally (or already?) able to see that it is both hard and wonderful; it is both beautiful and awful. This juxtaposition is the most bizarre whiplash, and is inevitably made worse by the inherently isolating season that early motherhood can be. 

If you are struggling in the slog that is early motherhood, you are not alone. You are not faulty. You are not a bad mom. You are just facing the reality and you need someone to sit next to you, hold your baby, and remind you of the both/and.

I hate having to give up control

When the baby is predictably unpredictable, when the toddler is an emotional wildcard, when my days are filled with curveball after curveball, I hate my lack of control. I can’t control when the baby sleeps, I can’t control when sickness will run through the whole family, I can’t control when teething will hit hard. 

In this utter lack of control, motherhood forces me to remember I’m fully dependent on Christ. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but He holds tomorrow. Cliche? Yes. True? Absolutely.

(Add in postpartum hormones and let’s face it: everything is hard!)

I hate seeing my need for grace

I mess up. All the time. My sinful self rears its ugly head and my inevitably limited knowledge means I make poor judgment calls. So here I am trying to nurture young lives and am instead faced with my many limitations. I’ve never struggled with anger (until now!). I’ve not typically been discontent or covetous (until now!). Motherhood has shown me my failings. But motherhood also reminds me that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 9:8, 12:9).

By admitting my need for His grace, I can more fully celebrate when I see evidence of His kindness in my life.  I like to imagine myself self-sufficient, but motherhood has forced me to acknowledge afresh my need for Christ. 

I hate having to life selflessly

Ultimately, my struggles in motherhood are rooted in selfishness because motherhood requires 24/7 selflessness.  Someone else’s needs will always come before my own and those needs are often draining, overwhelming, and exhausting. (How many bodily functions do I navigate in any given day?! The answer is staggering.)

But even though motherhood is an exhausting exercise in selfless living, it reminds me that Jesus is the ultimate example of selflessness. I probably won’t have to actually give up my life for my children, but Jesus did just that. So when I groan at yet another wakeful night or wash yet another fluid off my hands, I can remind myself that Jesus did so much more for me.

When motherhood hits hard, adding in “me and God time” is as foreign a concept as using the bathroom alone. 

While running to Christ for strength may not be as solitary a practice as it was in previous seasons, I can’t let that dissuade me from incorporating Bible-based rhythms into my home.  Turn on peppy worship music with your kids and maybe even encourage a toddler dance party!  Have a Bible verse to recite while changing a diaper. Pray pushing the stroller. 

Intentionally press into Christ in the midst of the chaos.

One Comment

  1. Jenni,
    This was a wonderful article about motherhood. I am neither a mother, nor a woman, but it touched my heart.
    Openness and honesty with others and yourself, wow! The struggle, the disclosure of hidden sin to yourself, to others is cathartic. This is your calling. Yet where you think you are discovering weakness, you find that it was what had been hindering your God-given strength and the work of His Spirit!
    Many blessings and revelations to you daughter. May you continue to see the journey’s rough road not as a difficulty, but God shaking you to keep you awake and aware… and maybe at times He is just jostling you on His knee to have fun and bring a smile to your face.

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