One thing no one told me about (among a million things), was the invisible weight of motherhood. The mental load a mom carries around, the stuff you can’t see, the stuff she tries to hide from most people, even herself.
After the baby is born, there is a pressure to “bounce back” and “loose the baby weight”. Trust me I wanted to “bounce back” as much as any new mom. I thought if I bounced back and lost the weight then I was able to “do it all”. If I could get back to looking like my “old self” then I wouldn’t be fighting myself to be a mom. I would be a mom and exactly who I was before.
Except that’s not the way it works, motherhood defines you, it changes your DNA and your heart forever. All of a sudden you have a thousand things to worry about everyday, stuff that never crossed your mind prior to having a baby. Sure, you read the books about giving birth, took a breast feeding class, bought the best diapers and perfect bassinet for the baby. Heck you probably spent HOURS talking about the perfect name. Then, the baby is in your arms and a handful of nurses are doing their thing, the doctor, is most likely stitching you up somewhere and you are elated. The baby is finally here, you are no longer pregnant and you are finally meeting your baby!
A few days later you are home, sleep deprived, confused but slowly figure it out along the way. Each day you learn something new about yourself, your baby, your partner and have probably spent countless hours in the middle of the night researching random baby topics from breastfeeding, reflux, baby sleep, teething, newborn poop pictures etc. Oh and the online shopping…Nordstrom anniversary sale was going on right after I had my youngest. Not the best idea to buy a bunch of clothes you can’t actually fit into.
I digress, but all of a sudden you have a million things on your mind that you never had to even think about before. From teething, sleeping routines, dating, college etc., I mean everyone worries about the cost of college right away…right?!? It never seems to end, there is always something to worry about, plan for, think about, research. There is a never ending list in my head, not to mention a dozen or so notes on my phone of things to do, to take care of, to plan for. Even when I finally sit down at the end of the day, half the time I’m thinking about those lists, or the dust bunnies that some how I missed or worrying about how much sleep I will get tonight.
Just writing this is making me anxious. I don’t have all the answers, maybe some advice, but I am a work in progress. I hate going to bed with a sink full of dishes so I am not able to let that go cause the next morning I will just get mad at the dirty dishes. So I stopped folding my daughters clothes, I organize it but don’t fold it for the most part. I let my toddler dress herself, sometimes this means a dirty dress or unchanged underwear for a day or two. I write stuff down so I can “forget” about it till later, because lets be honest my kids will always be fed, loved and taken care of. Still unsure of how to fully lighten the mental load I carry around, but talking about it is the first step.