So many of us grow up dreaming of motherhood. Of looking down and bonding with the tiny human we created, cradled in our arms, relying on us, their mothers, to keep them alive. We dream of how we’ll teach them to share and be kind and sing their ABCs and tie their shoes. We imagine their tiny fingers wrapping around ours for comfort and how our heartbeats will beat together, mother and child, as we forge through our adventures together, learning and growing and figuring out this thing called life.
That’s an idyllic picture, isn’t it? Only for many of us, it’s not real. The real picture is of a screaming banshee flailing about, not comforted by Mom’s heartbeat, but only by gnawing on her 20 out of 24 hours a day. The real picture is not of a proud mother, soaking in the bliss and glory of bonding with her tiny human, but rather, of a frazzled, exhausted shell of a woman who used to get dressed, shower, and wear pants that button, but now counts the minutes until bedtime, lives in sweats covered in spit-up, and cries in her wine at nap time because she feels like she’s failing.
The truth is, many moms hate the baby and toddler days, mostly because each one lasts for 8300 hours. And because they’re trapped. And because they feel like all of their identity outside nourishing this small, needy human has been stripped away. But they’re not bad moms. In fact, they’re pretty amazing as they get up again, day after day, doing the work needed to make sure those hangry banshees do grow into fun little people who can eventually feed and wipe themselves and allow Mom to find herself again after years of feeling invisible.
“Im so tired of always being stuck with the baby. At the beach Im sitting in the sand the with the baby. In the winter I am at the bottom of the sledding hill with the stroller. H is taking the oldest out. I am sitting at home cause the baby is in bed.”
“I have an “easy baby” and it’s still too freaking hard.”
“My baby and toddler are so fucking needy. If I see anyone with school age kids complain again, I'm going to send them a nastygram.”
Moms of littles are so tired of feeling trapped. So tired of everything being so damn hard. And so tired of feeling jealous and resentful of friends with older kids who get to drink hot coffee.
“Why do I have to hold the baby all day long? If i put him down he throws up, if i hold.him he's happy and i get nothing done. Can't wait until he can sit on his own... Neither my arms nor back can handle this”
“I don’t feel like holding my baby anymore today.”
We feel like epic failures when we just can’t hold the baby for another minute. But we’re broken in mind, body, and spirit, and need to step away.
“3 weeks away from having another baby. I don’t feel ready, I despise having newborns. Once they get about 12 months old I really start to enjoy them. But newborns suck the life from me in ways I can’t accurately describe. I hate them.”
“I hate hate HATE the newborn stage. It's a constant struggle to keep baby alive, and sure they're cute, but it sucks so much having to perform almost every bodily function for them. I just had twins, and I can't wait til they can walk and feed themselves.”
“I hate the baby stage. They say it goes by so fast, I say not nearly fast enough. I'm on my last kid, 9 mos. CANT WAIT until he can walk & talk. Don't miss it with my older kids either. It fucking sucks. I'd love to get 6 hrs sleep in a row for once.”
Some us truly just hate the newborn stage, can’t wait until it’s over, and don’t miss it at all. And that’s okay. Not everyone is cut out to be a baby-lover. Some of us really hit our stride when our kids are older, can speak in sentences, and have stopped using us as chew toys.
“Beach vacation with a toddler. Hell. Enough said”
“I miss vacations with just me & my husband. No schedule, drink all day, sleep in, stay out on the beach at night, ect. Our family vacays with my toddler is miserable. I didn’t relax 2 seconds.... just not worth going until he’s older.”
We might foolishly still try to take a “vacation” with our tiny piranhas, which ends up being exactly what vacationing with piranhas sounds like it would be.
“Being trapped in the house with a toddler is my nightmare come to life”
“With two toddlers, the only alone time is when I go to the bathroom. Just need to BREATHE!”
“I have 2 toddlers and I'm too tired for anything else. I have no hobbies, no friends, no money, no energy, and no fucks. So burnt out and don't know how to be myself or even who that is anymore...”
Toddlers run our lives. Their nap, bedtime, and pooping schedules dictate when and where we go. They strip us of all freedoms, like seeing friends, sleeping, and having hobbies. And we can only escape them when we hide behind a locked door.
“DS16mo is cutting SIX MOLARS at once. FML. And I thought the first few months of having a newborn about drove me crazy!”
“My 19 year old is further up my ass than a newborn. It’s driving me crazy”
“Im hiding away, sitting on the toilet in the dark, eating chocolate while my toddler is screaming bloody murder outside. That's how well my day is going.”
The baby and toddler days are brutal for many of us, and if you find yourself feeling trapped and exhausted and unable to breathe as you fight all day long to keep your baby honey badgers alive, we get it. So find some chocolate, or some wine, pop those babies into the pack and play, and go hide for a bit. You deserve some peace and freedom and a reminder that you are a whole, beautiful, amazing person outside this 24/7 job called motherhood.
And remember—they won’t always be babies. And they won’t always be toddlers. It’s okay if you don’t love this stage. You’re doing great.