Motherhood

I must admit that whenever there is change in my routine – for instance the recent school holidays and now back-to-school – I find myself in a weird place when it comes to my role as a mom. I am so grateful that I am able to work from home and essentially be a full time mom for my kids when they are home from school but it is not without it’s challenges. More often than I’d like to admit I find myself feeling frustrated with this life choice…

Now I just want to reiterate that my blog is a place for positivity and upliftment so I don’t usually rant or moan around here and I really don’t want to come across as a spoiled brat either. I realise there are 1000’s of full time working moms out there who would love to swop places with me, but I do have to be honest sometimes and admit that this gig is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Trying to fit in my social media writing and blogging and managing my inbox (a job in itself) is IMPOSSIBLE when the kids are home from school on holiday. I’ve been working until the wee hours almost every night just to keep up. And now they are back at school there are different but equally frustrating challenges such as lifting kids here, there and everywhere. A minimum of 4 school lifts that take 15 mins one way and all happen at different times PLUS a few extra murals per afternoon – you do the sums! Basically I find myself with 20 min time slots to be productive in during the day – and that is NOT PRODUCTIVE.

I suppose all this would be a bit easier to manage if I wasn’t juggling so much else in my life – if I just embraced being a SAHM and ran with it, life would be simpler (albeit not simple!) I tried that for a few months and although it was great at the time to dedicate myself to my babies for 6 months each I did start to go a bit crazy with no other stimulation.

Going back to part-time work out of home helped me to discover that I need to be doing something else with my brain and so over time I’ve been able to move into a position where I am doing different stimulating things but from home around my kids. Sounds idyllic I know. “So why are you complaining?” I hear you asking. I ask it of myself!!

These extra roles that I’ve taken on are entirely of my own choosing and I really do enjoy them immensely, the trouble is that I sometimes love them too much and want to succeed and expand and grow them (and myself) BUT the frustration of having limited time and resources, like a full-time nanny or au pair, really get me down every now and again….

And there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to the dilemma I find myself in. I want to be my kids primary caregiver while they are little and be at home as much as possible BUT I also want to be a success at something – not necessarily a high-flying career in a corporate (although there is an appeal esp when I’ve been watching Scandal or Suits!) but something for me! Oh the guilt!

Let’s just say that this motherhood thing is certainly not what I expected it to be when I was day dreaming about being a stay-at-home mom with perfect little cherubs at my knee playing quietly while I sip cups of tea with a group of gorgeously groomed moms and kids! HA! I can see how funny that is now!

Being a mom is a HUGE blessing and there are so many times I pinch myself for “living my dream”, the problem is that just because I love being a mom, doesn’t mean I won’t have times when I really don’t love being a mom… Sounds complicated I know, but I hope you hear what I’m saying. Let me try and clarify…

I love that I get to be called Mom
I don’t love being called Mom 1000 times a day

I love educating my kids about the world
I don’t love doing hours of homework or reminding them to do it 20 times in 20 minutes

I love introducing my kids to new experiences and outings
I don’t love playing taxi service

I love being able to pick my kids up at the school gate
I don’t love being 100% responsible for this everyday so I can never have a carefree lunch or event or launch over that time of the day

I love giving my kids healthy nourishment
I don’t love the continual requests for snacks or the complete dismissal of a meal you have spent an hour preparing

I love the kisses and cuddles
I don’t love the snotty noses and ear infections

I love seeing my kids excel
I don’t love the pressure I feel to help them excel

I love spending holidays relaxing together
I don’t love how I have to then work until all hours to finish the work I would usually do when they are at school

I love helping them navigate life
I don’t love seeing them hurting

I love seeing my kids enjoy each other
I don’t love when they compete and fight with each other

I love the “I love you Mom”
I don’t love the “I hate you Mom”

 

Oh my goodness – and this is only 5 mins worth of writing. I could go on for days. I’m sure you could too!! Please tell me I’m not alone in this. What do you love – and not love – about being a mom. I’d love to hear your comments!! Actually I NEED to hear your comments! Anyone got any tips on how to manage this life phase I find myself in?

I came across this amazing series of portraits online recently and this post feels like a good time to share them with you. I know so many of you are mothers and might need some encouragement or reminding about what an important and valuable role moms play… I know I do!!

Enjoy these very touching portraits that really capture the love of a mother for her children – all around the world!

heymanmothersspread1

heymanmothersspread2

heymanmothersspread4

heymanmothersspread5

HeymanMothersSpread6

HeymanMothersSpread8

heymanmothersspread10

heymanmothersspread11

HeymanMothersSpread12

This series of photographs were taken by a now 83-year-old photographer called Ken Heyman during the 1960’s. Heyman has done photographic assignments for many magazines, including Life and has won a number of awards including “The World Understanding award,” considered to be one of the top awards in photography.

Earlier this year he received a call from the office of his former agent, Woodfin Camp. They had photographs of Heyman’s in a storage facility that was closing, and he needed to retrieve them. He had forgotten about this stash of old boxes and upon opening them discovered hundreds of vintage prints and thousands of slides from assignments and books which he had done throughout his career. In one box was a folder marked β€œMothers.” and many of these photographs were done for a book Heyman created with anthropologist Margaret Mead in 1965 called Family, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize the same year.

Images: Ken Heyman

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

15 Comments
  1. Love this post- thanks for sharing your heart!

    I had baby #2 5 weeks ago. I am loving the tiny baby cuddles and just the wonder of this gorgeous little girl; but not loving the thought of the long road ahead to get the point where she is a little less totally dependent on me, and the repetitiveness of change nappy, feed, burp, sleep, repeat.

    And on that notes I hear her squeaking, it’s time for the next 3 hourly feed!!

    1. Hi Kathryn

      Today is my last Monday in the corporate world. About a month ago I made the Huge Decision to be a work from home mom. I loved the honesty of your post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts (and giving me a heads-up!). Here’s to living the dream – just one day at a time.

      Cindi

  2. Oh man, I can totally relate to this post.

    I have been struggling so much with this concept this week. I work half day and get to spend time with my kids in the afternoon, but then our blog is growing and it’s exciting but trying to juggle that (and all the little opportunities that it brings) is exhausting. Nevermind just trying to find time to spend with my husband and relax.

    I don’t have a solution, far from it. But I get what you are feeling so at least there’s that πŸ˜‰

  3. Love your post! So honest and you are NOT alone. I think we all feel like this at times. I am very happy about my life that I have “chosen”, but it is a constant exhausting juggle. I work full time with an hour commute each way meaning I have to wake up before 6am so I can get ready before the kids, then when they wake get them ready before my commute to work. I do a full day’s work (in the field of finance), then head back in an hours traffic to get home, prepare supper (most of which I prepare the night before), bedtime routine, etc. In between all this, we run a kids party business so I steal all other available time, be it a quick tea break in the office, or lunch break and of course the time after the kids going to bed to manage party clients and writing for our blog. Trying to find the time to actually go buy groceries is a challenge and no idea what relaxing is. But I have chosen this life, and I can easily change or give up some of the extra’s, but I strongly believe it is a phase, especially the young kids years… my husband has now taken to starting work at 5am (from our bedroom) so that he can work in extra time so he can also leave at 4pm to get home by 5pm to spend some quality time with the kids before bedtime as a family… roll on Friday evenings, sitting on the couch, sushi, wine and some good series on the telly!

  4. I hear you, sister! You are definitely not alone.

    What strikes me about these wonderful photos is that the mothers and children are all touching each other and completely engaged with each other. That is what I’m trying very hard to do: whatever I’m doing, whether parenting or working, I try to be fully present. It’s not easy but I try to enjoy whatever I’m doing and as much as possible not think about what else I could be doing cos that’s when resentment sets in.

    But even right now I’m not achieving my goal, I’m supposed to be working but I’m engaging with your blog instead. I’m frustrated because I’m not wholly engaged in either activity and I’m feeling guilty that I’m not doing my work!

    I think the biggest thing I was not prepared for with parenting was the guilt – damned if you do and damned if you don’t! πŸ™‚

    Hang in there!

  5. I share some of your frustrations! Moved from Jozi to CT, ended up a stay at home mom to a (now) 2 & 4 year old. A bit of part time work but want MUCH more, but love the privilege of time with my girls, but no nanny/aupair, part time helper, feel like my live only revolves around my 2 cherubs, feel like I got my degree only to squander it :(, brain rotting……….should be more grateful…blah blah blah πŸ™‚ it’s fun being me πŸ˜‰

  6. Love love love your honest share and can totally relate… Which is where most of the comfort I have to give lies. The only other thing I can say is that it has gotten easier for me as my kids have grown (I have 2 boys aged 4 and 10). The big gap between helped me accomplish more ‘me stuff’ too. I am also learning that while it’s not impossible to want it all, I have to let go A LOT in order to achieve that state of presence that I really want to gift my kids in these their formative years. THIS is a daily challenge in delayed gratification and a life lesson. Happy to meet fellow journeyers xxx

  7. I can relate! I left the corporate world to be with my children and start a business. With no nanny or au pair (I wish I had that luxury) I don’t have much time to concentrate on the business but it is going along S L O W L Y. No one warned me that being a SAHM was going to be such a tiring job, I have remind myself the main reason I left work was to be present in their lives. I love that I am able to bond with my almost 3 year old when her 6 year old brother is at school. I love that I am able to fetch my son from school everyday and spend quality time with him whilst his sister is having her afternoon nap. I don’t love that I have to go to bed every night or should I say morning after 1:00am so that I have some time for myself and the business BUT I know once they older this will all change. If I had the choice to do it any different, NO, I am grateful that I am able to be present in their lives, at this stage.

  8. Kathryn, thanks for this very real post about the challenges of motherhood. Lovely pictures too. I love being a mom but it is exhausting too. I agree with Tracey about the guilt – it works all ways and its awful. And about the connection in the photos – its something I think we all are striving for.

  9. Thank you all for sharing your comments here – I so appreciate your feedback. Just knowing there are a few others out there in the same boat as me really helps! Looking forward to what lies ahead on this adventure ride called “motherhood”

  10. Wow Kathryn u have voiced what I’ve been thinking about for a while! Going back to work next week after 4 months off and there is a big part of me that is looking forward to the mental, adult stimulation. But also a bit of guilt that I should be feeling like that. I have always wondered if it would be easier/better/more rewarding working from home, but as you’ve pointed out, there are numerous challenges in that too. So for now we are going to manage with me being full time back at work, working one day a week at home and having a part time nanny and granny help in the week. Honestly i think any of the parenting solutions that allow for a balance of being mom, being a career woman, making ends meet and meeting your kid at the school gate is a challenge. It’s the beauty of this gift of being a parent πŸ™‚

  11. I could not have explained motherhood better! It’s the best feeling in the world, even though it takes it toll. I just wish people won’t wish time away, time is so extremely precious! And even more so if you are a working mom. Enjoy every second with your child!

  12. WOW you got it. So much of what I am thinking and feeling at the moment. I am a full time working mom (out the house) and I am just starting to feel stretched too thin trying to be all things to all people including myself.

    I struggled for years for my kids and am really and truly grateful to have them, I love and adore them, but some nights I am just so exhausted that there feels like there is nothing left for me, it’s all gone on all those things you mention, wiping noses, giving cuddles, prepping meals, teaching manners, talking, reading, guiding, loving, and work.

    What rang most true for me was the “I love that I get to be called Mom, I don’t love being called Mom a 1000 times a day”. Some days I hear myself saying to the twins, are you abusing my name again.

  13. Hi Kathryn!
    Thanks for sharing! I am a first time mom and already can relate. I have been at home (doing short-term jobs before my son was born) since I was pregnant with my son. I just happened to fall pregnant at the time that my job contract came to an end and although I had been looking for a while had not yet had anything suitable lined up!
    Anyhow, my son is now 14-months, and until recently I had been feeling really guilty. I was in the midst of sleep-deprivation (think waking every two hours, every night for a year!) and was hating the one thing I had been longing for for so long – to be a mommy! I know now that most of the “hating” was about being deprived of a basic human need: sleep, and now that we’re getting fairly better sleep, I’m seeing more of the “loving” being a mommy bits.
    I am also trying to start my own business working from home and can relate with your frustrations. The only I ever get to work is at night after my busy toddler is down for teh day – so wee hours are still a norm πŸ˜‰
    Motherhood is an amazing blessing, but filled with ironies and oxymorons (I think that’s the right word – Lol!)

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