Motherhood – My Truth

My truth about motherhood is:  for the first decade it is a daily meditation of sincere pretending and grasping onto the simplest pleasures in order to stay sane, while wise little souls repeatedly remind me of all that I am not – and because the candy cane vision of myself and what “family” can be is enough to encourage me to keep going – I do

I wake up early every morning so that I can slowly sip my coffee and think without anyone needing me  – it is my absolute favorite time of day

I shower just before bed – and when I am lucky I have the bathroom to myself – uninterrupted warmth, cleansing my mind just as much as my body – solitude for a precious third of one hour – it is my 2nd favorite time of day

When I am away from my family life and children I feel like a calm and collected woman who has her shit together and who might just be considered an excellent mom – I think clearly, lovingly and fondly of them – I wholeheartedly cherish them

When I am in front of them I get easily frazzled, I am often defeated and reduced, and I hardly ever represent the best version of myself – it so damn hard to be who I think I am in the daily grind of motherhood

If I am being honest motherhood feels like a twisted love story – an abusive relationship – with them being the oblivious abuser – they use me, say horrible things to me, sometimes they hit me, they get mad when I can’t read their mind – they take my things & sometimes ruin them – they repeatedly ask me to get things for them as if I am their servant – they are co-dependent but rarely give back to the relationship – they don’t allow me to talk to friends with ease – they want to know where I am going and when I will be home, and why did I leave – they silently expect that I will clean-up after them – I make food for them and often they tell me they don’t like it, and even though I have taught them since birth to say “please and thank you” I still have to remind them – their emotions swing as if they are bipolar, one minute they are laughing and the next they are ragging with frustration over something as simple as itchy socks – they use “mama” at least 200 times per day, as if the word trumps any conversation or engagement already taking place and they repeat it until I say, “what” – and if I say “what” in annoyed way they quickly let me know that I should not be rude to them

I know that my role is to embody the behavior I would like to see in them – but I suck at this – after 7 times of asking calmly and nicely I get pretty pissed off – it is amazing how they always turn this around on me

Cherishing time with them feels like a healthy concept but I have yet to figure out how to genuinely cherish them when the older one often challenges me in her stubborn and convicted way (she is a lot like me) and the younger one wants me to be her best friend while being a social wall-flower and projecting her uncertainty onto me (which looks like a combo of tears, a bit of yelling, some laughing and asking to be held – she is now ½ my size and holding her hurts my body)

In these moments I understand my mother better – I use to wish that she would be more nurturing – now I get it, there is a gene for patient-nurturing and we don’t have it

“Why are you always irritated?” – is a common question the older one asks me – funny – I feel like I have evolved a lot – I have spent a considerable amount of time and resources on personal growth,  in the name of ‘a better way’, just to have her insult me with the truth – well,  irritation and motherhood go hand-in-hand

I learned the term – Sincere Pretending – from a meditation book that I never finished (I rarely finish books anymore) – when applied to motherhood it works like a charm – I see mothers doing it all the time

We pretend, sincerely, that we care about that scribbled picture in the growing stack that is not allowed to be recycled – we pretend, sincerely, that we care about the cheap, ugly, stuffed animal that they acquired and is now spreading toxic chemicals all over our bed sheets – we sincerely pretend to listen to every word that they say – and we pretend that we absolutely love our role more than anything else in the world – and then we go out into the world pretending, hoping and praying that someone’s child will make us feel like at least we are doing a better job then they are

Someone said that parenthood feels like PTSD – the symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, depression, fear, frustration, restless sleep, and the inability to cope with reality

Sincere Pretending works – because I call bullshit on the mother who claims to have none of these symptoms

I have come to see motherhood as a rite of passage that never ends and if made into a screenplay would look something like – Survival mixed with Life is Beautiful sprinkled with condescending good-luck and candles set ready to torch anything that needs to be burned down

Yet prior to entering motherhood everyone tells you how beautifully amazing it is – as if the above reality exists only in my head

Thank the gods that the two little souls I helped bring into the world came equipped with virtues that stem from grace and open-hearted love

It is as if they came here to re-teach me what I should already know – sometimes the learning curve with this feels dire – learn or fail

To fail is to have major regrets

And to learn is like feeling always behind while in a state of defeat – with a damn candy cane vision of the impossible off in the distance encouraging persistence and dedication

Motherhood is a twisted reality really – it is not beautifully amazing

It is fucking hard – like, everyday

Empty nesters tend to say “I did the best that I could” – which is the most dishonest statement when applied to life with kids – I can’t say that I am doing the best that I can, ever really, while raising my girls

But I will say that idealizing my best self keeps me showing up with a willingness to try, again

And them – they truly are beautifully amazing

So forgiving, so eager, so embodied, so alive, so authentic, so joyful, so present – so unconditional with their love (unless they secretly want something, like more chocolate)

They genuinely possess everything that I have spent a decade trying to reclaim

The kind of love I have for them was foreign to me before becoming a mother – it is beautiful, whole, omni-present & unconditional, fierce, reverent, intense, and soulfully sweet – it represents my essence without the need for words

They love me too – I know that they do – in the way an almost 5 year old and 9 year old love – it feels a bit leech like – but sometimes we share these moments where time stalls and I become absorbed in their presence – I can feel their soft openness, see their pure joy, sense their greater purpose, hear the integrity of their soul, and be comforted by their essence – if they are not a gift from the gods I will be damned

And with this I have the motivation to rise – to keep going and to try, again – to represent my best self, so that I can teach them how to be

Just to find myself fail within the hour

The truth about motherhood is it is a twisted and abusive relationship that somehow makes a woman a better person.  Much like a military boot-camp experience (I assume) — motherhood reduces a woman down to the most simple version of herself, challenges the hell out of it too, and then builds her back up with a fierce mother bear conviction until one day she too can claim – “I did the best that I could”

Knowing that she hardly ever did, especially in the moment

But somehow her children turn out just fine, at least mostly

I am still in the critical child-rearing years – so I have no idea how my girls will actually turn out

One thing I am certain of is that they will know the truth about motherhood – because they watched me in its rawness – and I will have a written experience of how hard it is so that I can prove to them that I did not always do my best but I did keep trying

Thank the gods that I have a warm shower in solitude (when I am lucky) and a moment of sipping hot coffee, in silence, to look forward to everyday –  (oh how I have been reduced…)

Because life is pretty damn full even without my motherly duties – honestly, most of the mothers that I know hustle in some way – what they accomplish in a single day is mind blowing when given thought – they keep little ones alive and nourished (to some extent) all while they work, clean, cook, shop, plan, pre-plan, organize, schedule, do laundry, pick-up/drop-off, stay current…..this list could continue on for pages…. and not to mention that we have other obligations to fulfill within our roles as wives, partners, teacher’s helpers, friends, sisters, daughters

“me time” is precious, rare, and really it only reminds a mother of what she is missing out on

My truth about motherhood is:  for the first decade it is a daily meditation of sincere pretending and grasping onto the simplest pleasures in order to stay sane, while wise little souls repeatedly remind me of all that I am not – and because the candy cane vision of myself and what “family” can be is enough to encourage me to keep going – I do


And what is most intriguing  about motherhood is – even though all of this is true – I would not choose differently if I could turn back time…..there is just something about my girls that makes me feel complete

(and broken)

Motherhood is reincarnation at its finest



Read more on: Advocacy| Confidence| Conscious Mothers Movement| Empowerment| Vulnerability
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Mike May 22, 2017, 5:20 pm

    Great post!!

  • Liz May 23, 2017, 5:18 am

    Just keep on writing and I’ll keep on reading. Your words absolutely beautiful my dear. Thank you.

  • Guruprasad Singh May 23, 2017, 3:52 pm

    Dear Monica, This piece reads so much like the motherhood experience you are describing. It is beautifully written in all of its honesty, wisdom, and incompleteness. This is particularly powerful: “My truth about motherhood is: for the first decade it is a daily meditation of sincere pretending and grasping onto the simplest pleasures in order to stay sane, while wise little souls repeatedly remind me of all that I am not – and because the candy cane vision of myself and what “family” can be is enough to encourage me to keep going – I do”. You are helping to normalize an experience that carries with it so much agony and ecstasy– and perhaps helping other parents to be more compassionate with themselves. Thank-you.

  • Dan Schmidt June 14, 2017, 9:14 pm

    That is a really fine essay!

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