Motherhood: An Act of Sacrifice or Ultimate Selfishness?

A lot of mom-related feelings this week. Eggroll is eight months old. She’s going to start daily daycare here soon. It’s been two years since my mom died. I hit my pre-pregnancy weight yesterday. This article was posted on Scary Mommy.

I’m not sure where this post is going to go, so let’s enjoy a stream of consciousness from my head.

(Editor’s Note 1. Golly, my stream is running a little grouchy. I blame the cold weather and the recent cold that Eggroll and I have been passing back and forth, but this is a conversation worth having anyway. 2. Randy once told me that if I was going to be authentic on this blog, I needed to be honest about everything. So here we go. Please don’t judge, just be entertained.)

Mommy Rant - why did I want to be a mom?I have spent a lot of time thinking about the sacrifices required of moms. Moms may put their career on the backburner for awhile. Or if not career, what about relationships with their significant other, their friends, their hobbies? We are told it’s OK to put on pounds, get stretchmarks, lose hair, vomit uncontrollably for months at a time, endure back pain and leg pain and cooter pain, because babies are so worth it.

But honestly, what do we get out of this deal? 

Why do you want to be a mom?

I’m eight months into this ride and I’m still searching for an answer for this question. Eggroll is fun to play with, but so is Noah and I didn’t have to carry him for 42 weeks. She is fun to play dress-up in fancy clothes with, but so is Randy when we’re getting ready for a date night. Had Eggroll been sick or worse, that would become my cross to bear. What’s worth that heartache?

It all sounds so negative and so selfish. I love her, the little human living in my house  so much! I now can’t imagine life without her. I just don’t know why this life ritual of becoming a parent felt so necessary before.

Why did you want to be a mom?I can’t come up with a single reason that wanting to be a parent doesn’t seem selfish. “To raise the person who will cure cancer (find world peace, break sports records, etc.)” seems somewhat self-righteous. “To have someone care for me in old age” is honest, but you could pay people to do that.

A very independent girlfriend of mine is trying to get pregnant. After I posted that article from Scary Mommy, she confessed that she’s afraid of losing her current on-a-whim lifestyle. To which I said, be very, very afraid. Moms are expected to make so many sacrifices. Dads do, too, but even the best of them don’t get the c-section scars, experience the nausea, or struggle through the pain and recovery of childbirth and breastfeeding. Most of the good ones even flake on making doctor’s appointments and realizing tonight should be bath night. It’s a lot of pressure for one person to make sure the little human is healthy, fed, clothed, and relatively clean!

I told this friend that it’s all worth it, because that’s what I’m supposed to say, but is it? Again, I can NOT imagine life without Eggroll. I watch her sleep every night before I go to bed. Its a new kind of meditation. Her giggle (which sounds very similar to her cry) makes my heart burst with love. Someday I hope to share the experience of baking cookies and shopping for a prom dress. That will be fun.

But in the mean time, I need to worry about ebola, strangers, uncut grapes, and electronic screens. I need to play with the same four toys for the 8,000 time today because we only have 30 minutes until the next nap time and running errands is such a pain in the butt with her anyway. I can’t even turn the TV on in the background, because again… electronic screens. (Related – when did the TV and iPads become the Boogie Man??)

See what I mean? This is a horribly negative post. I’m still so glad we had her. She was the perfect addition to this little family, just as a Pot Sticker will be someday, too. But I still don’t know why we had her besides “it’s what came next.” The only reason I can think of adding a Pot Sticker is to give Eggroll a sibling, something I wish I had.

Perhaps this is just the Old Maggie rearing her ugly head once again. Yelling about wanting to piss away an hour at the library just because she can. I’m going to spend some time with this question and would love to hear your feedback, too.

Why did you want to become a mom? If you have made a conscious decision not to have kids, why?

If you are now that you are a parent, have your original expectations been met? New ones realized?

7 Comments

  1. I honestly never wanted to have kids. I wasn’t always a fan of kids, beyond my younger brothers. I was terrified of child birth more than anything, after watching my mother go through it when I was 17, I don’t think it ever really had anything to do with not wanting a kid. Of course I wasn’t sure I’d like my missed naps and evenings just watching tv, eating popcorn, drinking wine. It wasn’t until my ob had the ‘getting older’ conversation with me that I got a little spooked. My concern was what if I regretted it later? So I went off birth control thinking it would be a long time before I actually got pregnant so I’d have more time to come to terms with what I truly wanted. Then I got pregnant that very first month. I saw that as a sign it was in fact meant to be.

    I don’t think I really had any expectations going into this. I went in with an open mind knowing I couldn’t and shouldn’t expect anything (we won’t discuss the 1 expectation I did have, which was to have a boy, and how I cried on the table when they told me it looked like I was having a girl). Any expectation I could ever have has far been exceeded. My daughter completes me in a way I never knew was possible, which truly is selfish, but I will work very hard to never make her feel like that’s a burden for her, it’s just a natural thing with her being here.

    I will say this…now that she’s turned 2 and things have taken a drastic turn in her behavior some days, I do sometimes have a harder time coping. I’m not good with tantrums and I hate when she cries and I see tears falling down her face. Raising a child definitely gets harder, at least at this age, but who knows what the future holds. All I know is she is my world and I wouldn’t change it for a single thing. I don’t remember life before her, and honestly I don’t even care to.

  2. Hi, Maggie! Your feelings are shared by most of us Moms. 🙂 Being a parent is hard, so SO hard. It is exhausting and mind-blowing and frustrating and rewarding all at once. I think as you enter the toddler years you will start to enjoy it even more. I know I find it so exciting to see Lucas start putting ideas together and becoming a little person. Some days I miss the independence and ability to get up and go anywhere at any time, but I also remember the longing I felt when I would be around other families. It gets easier and harder, if that makes any sense. You are doing a great job!

  3. Ladies, you are echoing my thoughts in words much more eloquent than what I could put together. It does get easier and harder each day like you say, Melissa. We are up to about 10 minutes. That’s how much time she can entertain herself without needing me to participate. But on the other hand, she’s showing her mama’s level of patience (i.e. NONE) every time we sit down to eat dinner. Sigh.

  4. Mary Martin

    I always wanted to be a momma. When I was little I had a thousand dollies with names like Pamela and Vanessa. It was the only thing I wanted. Ever. Then I found myself 7 years into my marriage and not able to be a momma. I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a process that did not yield a baby. My life was consumed with having to be home at a certain time every day so I could administer a series of shots into my abdomen. They stung. They left bruises and it totally sucked. It was heartbreaking – going to the doctor three times a week for months on end without any results. I thought God had forsaken me and we would need to adopt or figure out another course of action. I looked into adoption in Poland – you need to stay in the country for a month before they let you walk out with one of their babies. And the waiting list is, at minimum, 24 months. I planned to saved up some more thousands of dollars and look long and hard at my family leave options for work. Then, on Christmas morning, I laid in bed crying and talking and crying and laughing with my husband. He said, “you should just take a test for fun.” What the hell. We were told on Nov. 15 that our process was done – no baby in sight – but they could “recruit another group of eggs within a few months, but that may not address the embryo quality issues”. GIANT middle finger to the world. Well, I had a box of 50+ tests that I bought on line from some weird fertility site that keeps sending me unwanted spam emails telling me the best way to conceive, so I took a test. A positive test. My heart dropped into my stomach and I haven’t been the same since. I want for nothing because I have my son. Everything else is secondary and nothing else matters. That is a lot of pressure for a 13 month old baby, I know. He is a miracle. But, isn’t everyone?

  5. I chose to become a mom and I fear for not the right reasons. Since I was little I had the urge to become a mother. I love to be the caregiver even though I was the tomboy who hated dolls. I was always the one taking care of my friends at parties and being the responsible one. So for that reason, I believe it is in my nature to be a mother. The reason I chose to become a mother when I did wasn’t because I just purely thought “it was time” or the “the next thing to do”. I was 22 turning 23 the month after the birth of my first what the hell did I know? all my friends moved away to college. I chose to stay back for my high school sweetheart (whom I married at 21 and am still madly in love with) I feel I chose to be a mother at that point in my life because I was bored. Horrible but I think it is the truth. I love my kids and wouldn’t change anything knowing how it has turned out, but looking back I believe the timing I choose to be a mother was a poor choice but my ultimate choice to be a mother wasn’t a choice but a calling.

    When they were younger I questioned my choice to have kids. The electronics the same toys the hatefulness in the world will always be a concern; But as they grow more independent I am finding myself again and realizing I love who I am and I wouldn’t be who I am without my kids. So I chose to be a mom and in turn it has made me a better version of me.

  6. Mary and Kristi, thank you so much for sharing your comments. Y’all are helping me get to what should have been my hypothesis in the first place. My plan is to take a second shot at this topic for a post next week when I’m more articulate with my thoughts. In the meantime, thank you for being the mommies you are, no matter why or how you got there!

  7. Pingback: Living It Your Way - Truly, Margaret Mary

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