“Motherhood doesn’t come with a handbook. It doesn’t come with a neat little instruction manual full of detailed diagrams dictated in multiple languages, telling you exactly how to raise your child.
You find out you’re having a baby.
You read all the books.
You buy all the things.
You follow all the advice.
You have the baby.
You read more books.
You Google like it’s your job.
You buy more things.
You follow society’s carefully concocted recipe for a well-adjusted, happy, healthy child, and all is well in the world.
Until it’s not.
Until you’re sitting on the bathroom floor, defeated, the gentle womp womp of your trusty Medela filling the space as you painfully pump, wondering if you’ll ever feel like yourself again.
Until you find yourself pacing back and forth in the middle of the night, wearing a track into the carpet of the nursery, endlessly trying to rock your infant to sleep as the cacophony of their cries drowns out your own.
Until you’re walking out of the grocery store, cheeks burning with embarrassment as your toddler thrashes and screams in your arms.
Until you find yourself in a sterile room with stark white walls, paralyzed in fear, helpless, as you watch your baby get poked and prodded with needles, waiting for answers.
Until the first time they come home from school in tears, throw their backpack onto the floor, and run into their room instead of running into your arms.
Until the pacifiers stop working.
Until their sleep pattern changes.
Until you give into screen time.
Until the terrible twos turn into teenagers.
Until you feed them Cheerios for every meal because it’s all they will eat.
Until puberty hits hard.
Until you find yourself up all night again pacing that same carpet, only to realize it’s not because they won’t sleep but because they are fifteen minutes past curfew.
Motherhood doesn’t come with a handbook.
It’s not one-size fits all.
It’s messy and unpredictable.
It can bring you crashing to your knees and lift you up when you need it the most.
Sometimes you get it wrong.
And sometimes you get it so right.
Motherhood is a merciful mirage that glimmers in the horizon of your hardest days.
It changes every minute, and it changes you.
Sometimes for the better.
Sometimes for the worse.
And that’s okay.
You see, you weren’t meant to follow the handbook. You weren’t meant to follow society’s carefully concocted recipe for a well-adjusted, happy, healthy child,
You were meant to write your own.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mari Ebert. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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