Having a baby is ridiculously hard. Ridiculously. It's been a long time since I last posted on Zoe, but incredibly, she has kept growing like a bean-stalk and is now 15 months-old. Sometimes I can't believe we've made it this far. Many days, I question my own sanity and spend the day quietly screaming inside. My husband comes home and the first thing he hears is me saying "What am I doing wrong?!" (followed by sobbing, and not the quiet kind). When Zoe throws a tantrum 7 times a day, I fantasize about throwing a tantrum right back at her. Now, wouldn't that be entertaining?

I hate admitting this. I hate repeating what all mothers tell you, that they are "going crazy." It drives me nuts when people aren't at the same stage of parenting (either too old, too young, no kids) and think that they understand, or offer advice (although I will say, I could probably use some advice, if I could let down my pride). The problem is, there is absolutely nothing unique about my despondency, my monotonous day, and my emotional afternoons. They are absolutely uninteresting and uninspiring.

And maybe that is why, over the course of these last few months, I have been on a desperate mission to not be uninteresting and uninspiring. My secret is, I am terrified of being a nobody, a nothing, a stay-at-home mom who makes macaroni and cheese and does laundry all day. The problem is, I am that mom, in all of her sweat-pant glory. 

Oh how the prideful have fallen, and by that, I mean me. I had such great aspirations. I had places to be and people to meet. Now, I am the mom at the mall, toting her toddler covered in ketchup (both of us), contemplating whether to purchase a cheesy picture with Santa ($17.99? I don't think so! Zoe doesn't even know who Santa is).

Yesterday, my husband told me to embrace this. To choose to enjoy mom-hood. He knows that I love Zoe with all my heart and that I am choosing this. However, I would really like to dispel a rumor that is out there (for all you potential egg-carriers) that those 30-seconds where your toddler looks up at you and says "ma-ma" or gives you a gooey wet kiss, are worth all the other tantrums, screaming and sleepless nights. This is simply a ruse to make you have ooey-gooey feelings about parenting (and get you off birth control). The truth is, those 'moments' absolutely do not make it worth it. They are fleeting. They are 1.5 seconds in my 24-7 hour a day, food-stuck in hair, no-shower life.

The real truth is: you are not a good enough person to be a mom. Your husband is not a good enough person to be a dad. Face it, you already knew this. The truth is, I am pretty darn terrible at momhood most days. I would not hire me for this job. 
In the same way, Zoe does not really make up for her many tantrums with her (rare) kisses or eyelash flutters. I would not hire her to be the perfect child.
 
Just like a marriage, where the bedroom does not make up for fighting or a tough week, it's so important to me to acknowledge that there are no quick fixes to motherhood. Sometimes, I go awhile without feeling gushy about Zoe. Sometimes, it takes everything in me to force a smile on my face and take her out to the store, or to get up at 6:30 am when I hear my built-in "siren" getting louder and louder from the other room.


So what makes this all worth it?  I am a better person now. I have a husband who supports me and makes sacrifices along side of me to do this parenting thing. My daughter is defenseless and needs my help for the next 18+ years (and hopefully longer). I can envision a friendship with her someday. She is a human being, worthy of dignity and respect. She doesn't have the ability to not be selfish. I do. She is incredibly worthy of my love and attention, not because of anything that she does, just because she is. 
There is an intuition that motherhood provides that tells you to keep going when you don't have the emotions to support you. Everyday I know I am making the sacrifice to spend time with her instead of pursuing a full-time career ( I still work part-time). Every women (whether working or not) makes giant sacrifices.  In fact, womens' issues with work/life balance are incredibly understated in this day and age. But that's another topic for another day.

Today, my letter to Zoe is this: I love you. I always will. Being  a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am learning that I don't need praise, admiration, appreciation, and somebody cheering me on anymore. I am learning resilience and how to love you better every day, so I can be your biggest cheerleader.