One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with since becoming a mum is the contradictions, or internal conflicts that go on! It always feels like I’m being emotionally pulled in multiple directions, and it seems there’s never a clear option.
A top confliction for me personally is breastfeeding. On the one hand, I find breastfeeding painful, and it makes me feel a bit isolated and trapped, so I had planned to wean to a bottle earlier with my second baby. But on the other hand, I know breastmilk is the best, and I also do like the closeness, and that my baby needs me for something that no one else can give him. I know he gets a great deal of comfort and security from being on the breast, so I don’t want him to lose that!
I saw a post on Facebook recently that asked women to respond with what they find the hardest about breastfeeding. One response in particlar really jumped out at me and sumed up exactly how I feel:
“The hardest thing I find about breastfeeding is the attachment, that it has to always be me that feeds the baby, that I can never get a break, that only I can make the perfect milk for my baby. The thing I love most about breastfeeding is the attachment, that my baby only wants me to feed them, that I always get that gaze into my eyes, that I’m the only one that can make the perfect food for my baby.”
– Sarah Dennis, BreastfeedingNZ Facebook Page
It’s the ultimate contradiction about being a breastfeeding mother!
Another internal conflict is my need for a break. Being a mother (and of course a parent in general, or father if you are the one who stays at home) is a 24/7 job. Especially when they are very little, and if you are exclusively breastfeeding. Its extremely difficult to get a break or some time to yourself. I go through times when I just crave some time to myself, to go shopping, just hang out, or to spend some quality time with my husband. And the contradiction is when you finally get that time to yourself, you miss the children like crazy and just want to be with them again! You can’t win!
Possibly one of the ultimate conflicts is just parenthood itself. Being a mother/parent is one of the hardest, and most challenging things you will ever do in your life. No one can prepare you for what’s to come. But it is also one of the most important, and most rewarding things you will ever do. When you see your child achieve milestones, succeed, or when they just need you and want a cuddle, or tell you they love you, it makes all the hard times seem worth it.
There are so many internal battles that go on when you’re a parent. We are pulled in so many directions. I struggle every day with being a good mother, a good wife, and also being my own person and not losing myself. I think its really important to not lose yourself amongst the craziness and the various roles you have to fulfil, and finding a good balance can be hard. Thats why these internal conflicts are so challenging, because often they mean neglecting one or more of the roles you hold, or ultimately neglecting yourself.