I’m Still A Struggling Mom Even Though My Kids Are Older

Aug 26, 2019

The first time I was pregnant, I devoured any article and book I could find.

I wanted all the nitty gritty details of pregnancy, childbirth and what the newborn stage would look like.

I wanted to know what my body was going through and what it would go through. I wanted to know that my baby looked like a little bean.

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I met other moms to-be who were expecting and we connected over our shared experiences, answering questions and reassuring each other that all those aches and pains were normal.

The mental workload of motherhood doesn’t get tossed out when the diapers go.

We shared some of our deepest fears and worries, and when we were struggling we offered emotional support — or even just an ear to listen. I still remain connected to many of those women.

It was my first baby and I needed all the help I could get.

Fast forward a few years; I now have two of them and my babies aren’t babies anymore. They may be older, but I’m still struggling as a mother.

Even though it’s been over a decade since I got that first email telling me that my baby was now the size of a bean, I still don’t have all the answers.

I’ve definitely learned a few lessons along the way. I am more confident in trusting my instincts as a mother and I am no longer on the receiving end of unsolicited advice. 

But this parenting thing is still hard and most of the time I’m just winging it.

New Worries

I’m not worried about the consistency of poop or how to get my baby to nap. Now I’m concerned with bullying and screen time, their grades and if they are being overworked in sports.

I’m no longer waking up to dream feed a baby or soothe a crying toddler. Now I lay awake analyzing every single decision I make.

After the toddler years, those easy access resources start to dwindle. 

The world isn’t as forgiving once you’ve been in the parenting game for a few years.

In the age of social media, many of those supportive moms-to-be have morphed into mom-shamers who think they have it all figured out.

When I had a baby, if I had an untidy house or needed to leave a dinner party early, the world gave me a pass. The world isn’t as forgiving once you’ve been in the parenting game for a few years.

My scattered thoughts can no longer be blamed on baby brain, but trust me when I say my mind is still racing. All the time. The mental workload of motherhood doesn’t get tossed out when the diapers go.

I Thought It Got Easier

The diapers are done, the kids start to become more independent and I’m getting more sleep. I’m supposed to be in a groove.

Then why do I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water?

The truth of the matter is that things do change. But easier doesn’t mean it’s not hard.

My kids may be in the sweet spot, but I’m still a struggling mama.

I still need support. I still need understanding. I still need forgiveness. I still need answers.

I have less free time now that my kids are older than I did when they were babies. I didn’t have to worry about monitoring homework or getting a kid fed and to soccer practice on time in those early days. I didn’t have to break up arguments between siblings or help a child study for a math test.

Sometimes I long for the days where I could rock them in the quiet darkness of their nursery, inhaling their sweet scent that made my heart skip a beat.

The world seems to think I should have it figured out. But I don’t have it figured out at all. In fact, sometimes I feel like I’m dropping every single ball. They’re all hitting the ground with a great big splat.

I still need support. I still need understanding. I still need forgiveness. I still need answers.

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Finding The Energy To Mother

Yet I keep going. I wake up every morning and tell myself that I’ve got this. Even if I don’t fully believe it, I still tell myself that all is going to be OK.

I try so hard to live in the moment. Because I know these years are short, even though each day feels so long.

The most important thing of all is that I’m learning to forgive myself. I don’t have to be a perfect mom to live my best life. My best life is filled with all sorts of ups and downs. It’s OK if I don’t love every second of it.

What I hope is that through all of the chaos that envelopes us, my kids can see how hard I’m trying. I hope they know that my love for them is in every breath, every bead of sweat and every single tear. I hope they learn that in life we all struggle and even the most well-intentioned mama doesn’t have all the answers.

Article Author Natalie Romero
Natalie Romero

Read more from Natalie here.

Natalie’s passion for writing was reignited as she blogged her way through the pain of her son’s health issues and NICU stay. She is the wife of the world’s greatest foot rubber and mother to an amazingly loyal little boy and a fiercely independent little girl. An HR professional by day and a freelance writer and blogger by night, Natalie is getting a crash course in the juggling act that is the life of a working mother, though she does occasionally drop a ball or two! After spending much of her life trying to be perfect she has learned to rock her shortcomings and is not afraid to admit when she’s failed. This parenting thing can be tough and Natalie believes the best way to survive it is by keeping it real and by leaning on your tribe.

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