‘Why couldn’t I just be the mom I’d pictured and do it right?’ I was going to love motherhood, every single second.: Mom suffers from depression/anxiety, finally realizes ‘I’m the mom I’m meant to be.’

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“I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to have children, it’s just always something I planned to do. As I got older, my ‘maternal instincts’ held strong and I loved holding babies anytime I got the chance. I was a pretty popular babysitter because I loved kids and they loved me. It felt natural. I married a great guy who also wanted a family, and I was so excited to become a mom when the time came.

Courtesy of Aryn Hinton

After almost 2 really long and frustrating years of trying, I became pregnant with my first son. I had Pinterest boards full of decor, clothes, parenting articles…I knew just what I wanted and what things I was never going to do as a parent. I was going to love motherhood, every single second of it. I set myself up with some crazy expectations. I don’t think I once thought, ‘What if motherhood isn’t anything like I imagine? What would I do if x, y, or z didn’t go the way I expected it? What is plan B?’ I didn’t really talk to my husband much about it either. Sure, we discussed the big and important things, but not so much the little expectations we had placed upon being parents.

The day we brought my son home, my husband and I got in a fight over the thermostat. Really, it was a miscommunication, but it happened over the temperature of the house. It seems so silly now, but at the time it was real. And as the days went on, as much as I loved being a mom, I was surprised and confused at how I was feeling.

My son cried a lot. A LOT. Moments of sleep seemed few and far between. I expected sleepless nights but I didn’t expect to be frustrated with my little guy and the way he expressed his needs. I expected to be overwhelmed, but I didn’t expect to feel drowned in housework. I expected mood swings, but I didn’t expect to lose it over the thermostat or how my husband changed a diaper. I just wasn’t the mom I expected to be. I remember looking at my son one night, exasperated and thinking, ‘Why does this feel so hard?!’ I cried almost every night for 2 years because I wanted this so badly and then I didn’t like it at all. What is wrong with me? Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Duh, everyone knows motherhood is hard and much different than you expect,’ but I guess I just didn’t realize how MUCH it would be different.

As my son’s first year went on, I struggled with feelings of confusion and inadequacy. Yes, a lot of it was the postpartum depression and anxiety talking, but it’s not all it was. Or maybe it was, but I think some of these feelings were different than simply anxiety or depression.

My little guy was turning into a toddler, and it was so fun watching him learn and grow. I would read to him, talk to him, and we would play hard and love harder. But, I still got frustrated easier than I wanted to. I still needed a break more than I thought I would. I still argued with my husband over every tiny detail. ‘Why was this happening?? Why couldn’t I just be the mom I had pictured all those years? Where had I gone wrong? Why couldn’t I do it ‘right’?’

Courtesy of Aryn Hinton

My husband was ready to add to our family before I was. I needed time, time to figure out what was going on in my head.  When my son was 19 months old, I felt like I was ready for another baby. My son was rapidly changing into a big boy, and I was ready for a tiny baby. Being pregnant with a toddler was an exhausting experience, but I really did love watching him process everything. During my pregnancy with my daughter, I was actually feeling pretty good about myself as a mom. Or maybe I was just too exhausted and too busy growing a human to dwell on those flaws, I don’t know.

I had no doubt there would be room in my heart for my daughter, but once she was earth side, I was nervous. Had I learned anything from the frustrations I experienced with my son? Or was history just going to repeat itself? I’ve had many sleepless nights where I replay scenarios in my head and think, ‘When this comes up with his little sister, will I handle it better?’ Things were better, I understood normal newborn behavior and had more realistic expectations. Still, at the end of the day, I wasn’t the mom I thought I would be and it ate me up inside. As my daughters first year continued on, I continued to be disappointed. No, not every day, and definitely not at my children or at being a mom in general. But I was so focused on the mom I WASN’T, I didn’t take time to focus on all the things I was doing RIGHT.

Yes, I need a break sometimes, I am not the mom who can be around her kids 24/7 without taking a breather. I am not a naturally crafty mom; boy am I grateful for the Dollar Spot. I am not always a calm mom or a ‘good at decorating’ mom. I am not an on-time mom, I am not a fit mom, and I am not a very organized mom.

Courtesy of Aryn Hinton

But, I am a fun mom, and I am a mom who isn’t afraid to try new things. I am a mom who loves hearing her babies laugh, and a mom who takes way too many pictures. I am a mom who actively looks for experiences which will excite my kids, I am a mom who tries really hard and I am a mom who is growing and evolving. I am a mom who loves way too deeply. So no, I may not be the mom I thought I’d be. But that’s okay, I am the mom I was meant to be.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Aryn Hinton. You can follow her journey on Instagram. 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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