I don’t remember a life before sitting in carpool lines that feel like the depths of hell.
I can’t picture my house without toys and tiny shoes strewn everywhere. I don’t know the last time I took an uninterrupted shower without an audience ogling my body. My house, my car, my time, my body, my life – none of it is mine anymore.
For me, motherhood has flipped everything upside down.
I have two girls – 10 and 2, so my days are all over the map. I’m dealing with one at the height of toddlerdom and one in the thick of all things tween. I feel caught between two worlds that could not be more different. One is starting to test boundaries and color on her body when I tell her not to, and the other comes home asking me about things she hears on the playground about sex. They both whine and that makes me the most insane. Some days it’s like nails on a chalkboard and I feel like I need to lock myself in a room alone for a few minutes, but I don’t because they’d just bang on the door until I came out.
Even with the constant whining, negotiation and mood swings, seeing these two little beings that I actually made in my body, blows my mind. I’m constantly in awe seeing them interact, watching how their little minds work and witnessing their growth. I’m exhausted, mentally and physically drained and usually fall asleep mid-television show every single night when I’m trying to unwind and actually spend quality time with my husband. But I’ve never felt more fulfilled.
My older daughter is a product of my first marriage so I share custody with her father. When she’s away, there’s not a moment that I don’t feel like something is missing.
When she’s not with us, especially now that she has a little sister here too, I feel incomplete. I hate sitting at the dinner table without her. I hate getting one child ready for bed. I hate waking up without her there. While motherhood is filled with jokes about needing breaks from our kids (which is totally true, by the way), I feel a huge void that I think only others who share custody can truly understand. My heart hurts when everyone is around except her and that will never change.
When you’re Type A, it’s so difficult to accept that you can’t control every little thing or keep plans in check.
But being a mom doesn’t really allow for that because you constantly have wrenches thrown in everything and you have no choice but to roll with it.
I tend to stress about so many things: being on time, getting laundry done, taking client phone calls and praying my toddler stays asleep while it’s happening. It’s a work in progress.
I don’t know why there’s this weird unspoken thing that we are not allowed to admit that this shit is hard and sometimes it even sucks.
The biggest lie coming from the motherhood trenches is that anyone has it all together. Nobody does. We all experience some level of mayhem and people who claim they don’t are liars.
We all love our kids and we need to accept that commiserating and sharing the ups and especially the downs of motherhood, does not detract from that love. They are not correlated.
Every time I write something exposing my vulnerability and admitting shortcomings or talking about the messy stuff, like divorce or miscarriage, that’s when I get the most messages from other women thanking me for putting the realness out there. But I wish everyone felt they could do that.
If I could go back in time and tell my new-mom self one thing it would be this: It’s totally normal.
Everything you are feeling and experiencing – the worry, the obscene and almost paralyzing amount of love you feel for these beings, the stress, the frustration, feeling like you are drowning sometimes, the meltdowns over different color sippy cups, picky eaters, the sleep regression. All of it is normal and you are doing great. Stop listening to everyone’s opinions because most of the time, they are putting on a front to cover up their own insecurities about how they are handling parenthood.
Motherhood should be a safe-space for all of us.
And I think many perpetuate that it is. But the truth is that there are way too many sanctimommies out there who have something to say about the choices other mothers are making and I never imagined that would be part of this journey. It needs to stop and be replaced with kindness, support, camaraderie and most importantly, empathy.
Mothers are fierce. We are fighters.
We mobilize faster and better than any group out there. We do not take no for an answer. We love our kids madly and will do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy and safe while giving them the tools they need to navigate our messy world.
Our kids are watching us run the show. They see us going to work everyday. They see us being stay-at-home-moms. They see us quit corporate jobs and take risks to turn our passions into thriving livelihoods. Mothers are changing the rules and our kids are on the front lines. We are debunking stereotypes of those women in perfect makeup, baking pies and leaving them on the windowsill while birds chirp harmoniously in the background. Because our kids are seeing what mom life is REALLY like. And sometimes it’s shutting down. Sometimes it’s a cry, a glass of wine and Vanderpump Rules. And that’s ok. That’s one of the most important parts of motherhood – understanding and accepting your limits, that you are human and knowing what YOU need to keep going.
Rachel Sobel — the heart and mind behind WHINE ANDTM CHEEZ(ITS) — is a Florida native (via Long Island like the rest of 'em). Living the NEW normal: Marriage, Baby, Divorce, Remarriage, another baby.
In between navigating massive loads of laundry, cooking 32 different meals for picky eaters, doing ponytails over until they are perfect with “NO BUMPS, MOM!” and double fisting iced coffee, she finds time to write all of it down.
Sometimes there’s sarcasm, sometimes there’s cursing but she always keeps it real. No filters or censorship, just a gal momming so hard and documenting it.
After working many years in public relations and communications, she decided she had enough after one particularly bad experience that made her question what the eff she was doing? She stopped with the “what ifs” and hatched a plan to leave the confines of a cubicle and live her dream as a full-time writer. (In her dream she was thinner, richer and had much more clothing without spatterings of spit-up and breast milk, but beggars can’t be choosers.)
She’s pretty Type A but admits that you are more likely to find baby wipes and a half-eaten bag of Cheez-its in her purse than cash.