In 2013, my sister and I worked on a cattle ranch in the Australian Outback. Our employers were cruel, verbally abusive, and unforgiving. I felt like Cinderella. We scrubbed floors, dusted rafters, and shoveled cow shit. Everything we did was scrutinized and we were oftentimes told to redo jobs that weren’t up to their standards. This was one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had.
Following Australia, I worked for three years back in the states for an absolute monster of a supervisor who always verbally berated me and others. She took credit for all my good ideas and put me down for ideas she didn’t like. She treated me like a child and never acknowledged my hard work and successes. After that job, I said no more horrible employers.
Well I’m here to tell you motherhood is ten times harder than either of those jobs. Now my boss is a baby who is so demanding and screams at me constantly. He is relentless and refuses to give me a break. He keeps me up all night hollering in my ear. He never lets me eat, shower, or use the bathroom.
He rewards me with smiles only to be followed by full diapers. He sleeps on top of me, so I can’t get off the couch. He reels me in with his cute looks then spits up on me. The difference between this job and any other is I can’t leave it and go home to decompress. I’m stuck at this job 24/7 for the rest of my life. I’ve never cried so much as I have at the end of each day.
Luckily, this job is very rewarding and I know it will get easier with time. They just never prepared me for how overwhelming and taxing this job could be. I feel guilty saying I need a break, because everyone expects you to love this new role. No one acknowledges how much new motherhood can be lonely, exhausting, and life changing in a very tough way. I have zero autonomy or freedom now and I just miss peeing alone. I’m exhausted! I’m overworked! I’m a mom!
Please don’t judge me. I love my child. I want to be a mom, but can we acknowledge how difficult it is to take on this new role with limited experience. There’s a steep learning curve. I haven’t slept more than 4 hours in a row each night for a month. I have lost all my baby weight and more, because I can’t prepare myself meals anymore. I’m emotional all the time. And I love this child more than myself, so much so that I barely take care of my needs anymore.
As moms we are expected to take to this role instantly and be happy about it. Dads can return to work right away and even if they help with coparenting, they aren’t the primary provider. Moms have to magically heal their child bearing wounds, dedicate their bodies to feeding their child nonstop even if it hurts or pump nonstop, deal with a huge drop in hormones, and give up all freedom to go anywhere or do anything alone.
Let’s just give it up for all the new moms out there struggling to adjust to their new roles. They love their babies more than anything, but they deserve your utmost respect for surrendering themselves fully to this job. Give them hugs when you see them. Offer them help in the form of a hot meal, a break from their baby to shower, or just a shoulder to cry on. Moms are stronger than anyone (you try pushing a bowling ball out of your vagina), but they need your support!