“I have two boys who are complete opposites of each other. If I’m being honest, my oldest son, Jackson is my difficult child. He is extremely stubborn, so physically strong that he can come off aggressive, and sensitive. But he is also affectionate, protective, and humorous.
I often hear people say your first child is an angel (easy) who tricks you into thinking you know everything about parenting. Then your second child is a slapping soldier who humbles you not to judge other parents. That was not the case with me. If anything, I was most traumatized as a mother with my first child. I couldn’t get anything right. NOTHING. I believed I was a sh**ty mom because my firstborn cried all the time—ALL THE TIME. You held him, he cried. You put him down, he cried. He was a colicky and needy baby.
Transitioning him from breast to bottle to whole milk to potty training was h*ll. I spoke to different doctors about my son, and it was ‘normal’ for my son. Jackson never slept through the night until he was 2. I dreaded every night putting him to sleep because he would cry for hours. Nothing could please him until he was done crying and being upset. As he got older, I also learned he had speech delays and other complications. He was always aggressive and angry because he couldn’t communicate his needs to us. I was often judged as a ‘bad mom’ because my son would hit other kids.
My son was not ‘normal and nice’ like other kids. My son was not talking like other kids. As a first-time mom, I felt defeated, incompetent, and like a failure. I started to believe I was a bad mother and that everything ‘bad’ about my son was my fault.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, I was scared to death. What if he turns out exactly like my firstborn? I can’t do that s**t again. I felt so guilty and ashamed for even thinking that, because I love my son so much, but I was exhausted and traumatized. I prayed to God, ‘Please let this be a girl!’ Nope, it was another boy. I’ll admit I was disappointed. I even cried. Throughout my second pregnancy, I was just preparing myself mentally to deal with another difficult and colicky child. I told myself I could do it again because that’s what a ‘good’ mother would do.
My second baby was born, and he changed the way I view motherhood. He was the calm I needed in my life. He was my ‘angel’ baby. He was not picky with breastmilk, formula, or bottles. Transitioning him through anything was easy. He slept through the night when he was only 2 months old. He was a mellow, calm, and happy baby. He was so different from my firstborn that sometimes I was in disbelief. He made me realize I needed to stop comparing my children. I needed to accept and love them for who they are, so they could flourish and become who they’re meant to be. He healed the trauma I experienced with motherhood and helped me understand that all children truly do have different temperaments and personalities.
People say having your second child will make your heart have more space to love him, but my second child made my heart bigger in loving his big brother more…in the way he needed to be loved. The truth is, we don’t love all of our children the same. We can’t because our children are unique and have different needs. They have different love languages. Even today, my oldest still requires more attention and care from me. But I make time for both of my boys and give them different love that makes them feel heard and loved.
We need to normalize that motherhood is so hard. And that sometimes and most times, motherhood brings the worst out of us. Are you even a mother if you don’t yell at your kids? Or feel overwhelmed with mixed emotions and want to hide from all the mess, fighting, and crying? Sometimes I just picture myself driving off in a car and going somewhere far away to find my sanity. But we’re f***ing tough. We are MOTHERS. We take the good, bad, and tears. We deal with the hard s**t, go to sleep, and do that s**t again because we love these little humans to pieces. We love hard because we know it’s worth it. Soo worth it!
You’re not a bad mom for having a difficult child.
You’re not a bad mom for having a different child.
You’re not a bad mom for feeling overwhelmed.
You’re not a bad mom for feeling tired and over it.
You’re not a bad mom for wanting a break from the kids.
You’re not a bad mom for not knowing everything to parenting.
You’re not a bad mom for taking time to yourself.
You’re not a bad mom for buying s**t for yourself.
You’re not a bad mom for not liking motherhood at any given time.
You’re not a bad mom for not fitting into the narrative of being a ‘good’ mom.
I see you, mama.
I know how hard you’re trying. You’re doing your best to teach your child to be kind and gentle. You’re reading parenting books and watching educational videos to help you understand your child. You’re trying different methods of disciplining your child. You get anxiety when going out with your kids. And when you watch them sleep at night, you cry and ask yourself, ‘Was I good enough? Did I do enough? Why did I yell? Why didn’t I choose better words at that time? Why did I get angry again? Are they happy? Why can’t I just do things right?’
When you start to doubt yourself and talk down on yourself, I want you to remember one thing. Your child chose you to be his mama. When he’s excited, he looks for you. When he’s afraid, he cries for you. When he’s hungry, he asks for you. When he’s sad, he wants you. In the most happy, sad, and difficult times of his life, he only wants you…because to him, you are ENOUGH.
Your child sees you for who you are and still loves you. Remember you’re a great mama. If those kids are bad, they probably got it from their dad!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Bad Modern Woman. You can follow her journey on Facebook. 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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