My husband Randy and I have been together for almost 35 years now. We were together for seven years before having our first child. In that time we completed a total of 5 post-secondary degrees, got married (and organized a wedding with 120 guests), moved three times (including one move abroad), spent several long periods living apart because of school and work, lived with my parents (for a year) and renovated a 1500 square-foot apartment. We had lots of stress. And lots of arguments. We also had lots of opportunities to grow as a couple and as a team.
But it wasn’t until Daniel was born that we realized how important it was for us to be a team. Because now, we were not the only ones who would be made unhappy if our team did not succeed; our son would be made unhappy too. We were really stuck now!
Not only did we suddenly recognize the permanence of this team, but we also were suddenly aware of all sorts of issues we had each taken for granted. We had never thought to discuss questions like:
Who will get up in the night with the baby?
Whose paid work is more important?
Who decides how often we bathe the baby, or change his sheets, or wipe his nose?
Who makes sure there will be food in the fridge, clean clothes, toilet paper?
Continue reading Keeping the Love Alive: When Partners Become Parents
Last Friday, in the context of the "Mommy-Boost Month" organized by Elements of Health, I met with a lovely group of ten mothers and mothers-to-be to discuss "The Challenges of Motherhood". One mother was still pregnant, most had babies under 6 months and the most experience mother there had a school-aged child and a toddler.
The Challenges of Motherhood are what I talk about with moms every week in the Mothering Touch Pregnancy and Baby Groups. But this time, instead of just pushing the same ideas around and sharing with each other, I thought we should collect the ideas and publish them to let other parents know how we feel about this very difficult job. So at the end of the discussion, each of the mothers wrote her biggest challenge down and I promised to collect them all and put them on my blog. Below is the list we came up with.
I so sympathize with these feelings. Motherhood is such a central experience in a woman’s life, we want SO badly to do an excellent job! And yet we often feel that we are losing ourselves and our relationships in the process.
The Greatest Challenges of Motherhood
- Staying connected with myself separate from my role as a mother.
- LETTING GO. Letting go of everything: ideas about time, ideas about achievement, ideas about perfection, ideas about motherhood.
- Filling each day. Loneliness. Feeling like I’m doing enough to stimulate my baby.
- Fatigue. Not having the time and energy to care for myself.
- Isolation. Missing adult conversation.
- Motherhood can be lonely and overwhelming. There just isn’t enough support. It’s hard not living up to expectations.
- Knowing whose advice to take, what book to listen to.
- Knowing what to do with my baby, making sure that I’m stimulating him enough.
- Feeling like I’m fulfilling my duties as a Mum and staying at home: keeping the house tidy and cooking with a baby.
- Connecting with other "like" women. Smaller casual encounters are needed to form stronger bonds and make real friends.
- Adjusting from being an independent professional to have a completely dependent child that I am at home with 24/7.