Motherhood: If I’m Being Honest

In this age of social media it is so easy to look at other people’s lives through their Facebook page and Instagram account and make grand assumptions about what parenting life should be like. One of the many reasons that I love reading and contributing for Madison Moms Blog is it is a place I can read stories of real moms and their triumphs and struggles.

I’ve been known to gloss over what motherhood has been like on my social media pages and even in my writing, so here is how much of motherhood has been for me, if I’m being honest.

Collage - Copy

If I’m being honest, I don’t know what in the world I am doing. I mostly feel like a complete fraud. When people ask me for parenting advice I try to give them the best answer I can. What I’m really feeling is, “Ha! How in the world would I know? I’ve let my kids cry it out, sleep in my bed, told them no, completely given in, turned organic chicken into homemade baby food, watched them eat sugary cereal off the floor, made them cry, and apologized profusely.” My parenting ‘style’ is usually determined by which kid I’m dealing with, what time of the day/night it is, and how tired I am.

If I’m being honest, motherhood is the loneliest thing I’ve ever done. Have you heard the saying, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?” That is what motherhood has been like for me. I’m surrounded by kids all day, but a lack of regular and meaningful adult conversation has made life as a stay-at-home mom very isolating.

If I’m being honest, this whole parenting thing is way harder than I thought it would be. It’s been hard in the typical ways of losing sleep to hungry babies, breastfeeding woes, toddler tantrums, and picky eaters. With my kids getting older, it is now hard in the way that I have to look at their sweet faces and explain racism, terrorism, sexism, and why they have to practice a lock-down drill at school. These are conversations that will evolve over time and we will have to revisit over and over again. Sadly, these conversations never wrap up quite like they did on the after school specials of my day.

If I’m being honest, I am scared all of the time. I’m scared of being too soft. I’m scared of being too hard. I’m scared of the big things and also of the little things. I’m completely overwhelmed when I picture a lifetime ahead of being scared something will happen to the people I love.

If I’m being honest, I really do want that last piece of pizza/cake/candy. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child, but I just want to be selfish. I share and sacrifice, but inside I’m throwing a gigantic toddler-sized fit because I WANT IT! I also want to go to a happy hour without finding a babysitter. And I want to use the word I want to use when I drop and break a glass or burn my hand taking dinner out of the oven.

I thought parenting would be more like on T.V. Yes, I do realize how naïve this sounds. My kids would have a problem and I would solve it confidently in 45 minutes time. We would sit down and calmly discuss the issue. I would be firm but fair and they would completely understand where I was coming from. If I’m being honest, it’s been more like if you put June Cleaver and Roseanne into a martini shaker and poured out something that leaves all parties involved ornery and confused.

When my husband comes home from work and asks me how my day was I have no idea how to answer. There was fighting, whining, messes, hugs, and laughter, all within the first 15 minutes of the boys returning home from school. So I just smile and tell him it was fine, because that really is the truth, if I’m being honest.

Jessica is a DONA International trained postpartum doula and owner of Fourth Trimester Madison, She has been married for over 10 years to someone who makes her laugh every day and reminds her not to take herself too seriously. Together they have three children- Logan (2006), Liam (2008) and Kate (2011). She grew up in northern Wisconsin but has called the Madison area home since college. She can be found reading cookbooks but not cooking, saying yes to more volunteer work than she has time for (and loving it), on a Netflix binge, or with her nose in a book.


  1. If I’m being honest, which I always am, every time I meet someone who is thinking about having kids or is pregnant, I tell them how much it will suck. Did you not know anyone with kids before you had them? It sucks like 85% of the time. BUT I am grateful for the privledge to stay at home and be a security in my child’s lives that I never had. I get to help these little people learn and grow and I don’t have to miss it by working and feeling guilty that I am not there. I am grateful that I have that choice. I could not imagine what it would be like having to send a 6week old, 6month old, 3 year old to daycare and miss so much of their lives that goes by so fast. YES, I can’t stand the fighting, the sleeplessness, the worry, the loneliness, the hidden need for me to be selfish now and then, BUT that is what I signed up for when I chose to birth these things. Motherhood is ugly. It is not rainbows and unicorns. There is SO much where you have to suck it up and move on and get over it and move to the next fight, or puke, or homework project, but every time someone tells me how wonderful my kids are, I get to sit back and take all the credit for it.

  2. I’m a parent to five ~ ranging in age from 42 to 58. I remember being frightened about doing the right thing, worrying about the craziness in the world, struggling with them as they did their job of pushing against limits and boundaries, etc. etc. Parenting them was the toughest job of my life, but also the most gratifying. They have all grown up to be people I like and respect. Each of them is working to confront and change the malaise that currently pervades our culture. Fond memories of the good times we had override the challenges they presented. Mostly, I’ve come to appreciate the words of a good friends father. When my friend and I spoke of wanting to be fathers, he said, “Just remember boys, life is in the seed, not the farmer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here