Well, I found Gwyneth Paltrow all over the Internet after her interview with E! News where she said that being a movie star mom was harder than being a mom with a regular 9-5 job. You can imagine all of the backlash and "open letters" and Facebook rants that has caused.
It got me thinking. Being a mom is hard. Period. I can't really imagine any scenario where being a mom is easy. Then you mix "the grass is always greener" with being a mom and you're toast! I bet that at one time or another (some of us at more than one time) truly believe that "if only I _______" then being a mom would be easier and I'm sure that all of us have thought that being a mom is harder than we imagined at one time or another.
I think everyone is right!
I think Gwyneth is right. I know it is hard to be a mom. Period. I'm sure it is hard to be a mom when you are working 14 hour days on several different continents, especially when you're the type of person who wants to be hands on and be a consistent person your two children can count on. I can see how that would be hard.
I can also see why everyone is enraged by this because we see her life of luxury and chefs and nannies and personal trainers and date nights with her (now ex) hubby and jet setting and we probably day dream about how easy and fun that would be. We probably have all "if only-ed" her lifestyle at least once. I know that I "if only" certain movie stars and think that with that money and that lifestyle I'd probably have an easier time being a mom.
But being a mom is hard. I know it is hard for all kinds of moms. I see the great stay at home moms and great home school moms and great moms who work "regular" jobs and great moms who work less than "regular" jobs and great doctor moms and great teacher moms and great camp director moms and I know their back story. I know that there is loneliness. I know that there is "not good enough" stress. I know there are days crying on the bathroom floor and days crying out to God. I know that no matter what being a mom is hard. I know that we have all fallen into the trap of thinking "if only _______, then it would be easier." We, moms, are all in this together whether we are you or me or Gwyneth Paltrow.
I work really hard. I think I have a pretty great mom life. I work several jobs, I volunteer at the mountain, I'm getting my Masters--I'm busy. I for sure have my "if only" moments (mostly involving more money, less work, more jet-setting, a chef and a personal trainer and a maid), but I know in the bottom of my heart that no matter what, being mom would still be hard. We moms work so hard trying to be great moms!
I get up early to start the laundry and unload that dishwasher so I can snuggle with Dax before my non-smugglers wake up. I hustle them to get through their morning routines while I make lunches, clean up breakfast spills, make sure child A isn't in the room with child C because mornings are tough and one is grouchy and bossy and one is annoying and that combination in the room before 7 a.m. doesn't work. I make sure everyone has everything they need and that I am dressed before we all straggle out the door a few minutes late. Then I drop them all off at school with a hole in my heart because I am feeding them to the wolves of bullies and girl drama and whatever each specific child's "wolves" are. Then I stuff multiple 8 hour days into one 7 hour day and pick them up. Sometimes I pick up tears, sometimes I pick up bickering, sometimes I pick up silence, sometimes I pick up a list of "things we need at Office Depot", sometimes I pick up happy. But this pick up leads into my few waking hours with my kids and we are all getting one another's "left overs." We've all given our all at school and work with friends and teachers and jobs and assignments and we give each other our left over energy and many times that 4:00-6:00 time is a nightmare as a result. That is when the "glory of motherhood" is the darkest and those "if only" moments creep in. In the midst of the tears and homework and fighting and needs there is dinner to make and a kitchen to clean up and before I know it, bedtime. There isn't enough time for 30 minute tuck ins each for five children and eventually I flop down completely spent and feeling like a total failure! If only I'd been kinder, if only I'd been more patient, if only I'd said this instead of that, if only I'd done this instead of that. . . if only, if only, if only. Then I start to compare myself to the movie star moms with all of their help or the Pintrest moms who do everything perfectly or the home school moms who get so much quality time with their kids or the rich moms or the poor moms or the sweet moms or the whatever moms who are not me and then I start feeling like a failure. BEIGN A MOM IS HARD!
I haven't even described the love and devotion and work that we each put into our kids to be shut out emotionally at times by teenage hormones. That's a whole other blog post! (Or planning a great stay cation only to have them opt out of the fun for the "stay.")
So, Gwyneth (and myself), it doesn't matter what job you have or how much money you have or whether your kids go to school or stay at home. Being a mom is hard. It isn't glamorous. It isn't perfection. It isn't white dresses with monograms playing in perfectly green grass inside a white picket fence. It is hard and it makes me feel like a failure and a monster. It is a making it from one minute to the next without losing your sanity kind of day that seems like a success often.
But. . .it is SO REWARDING. Being a mom is great! Being a mom is fun. Being the person your teen texts from school because she's crying over something a nasty girl said is a high. Being the person your little one comes crying to because you're always there is the best. Getting a hug in the morning is worth more than millions of dollars. Getting an "I love you" at night is better than a promotion. Making memories and laughing and dancing in the kitchen is better than jet setting. Serving Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese for the third time this week instead of having a chef is what legends are made of. Sitting on the couch surrounded by your kids watching a Disney movie is better than any night on the town could be. Playing Sorry and Blokus with your kids and your hubby is better than the best planned vacation on earth. The laughter, the love, the snuggles, the dried tears, the notes. . . .
Is being a mom hard? You bet! Is it worth every three a.m. throw up on the new carpet? Is it worth every feeling of failure? Is it worth every load of laundry started before the sun rises? Is it worth the missed job opportunity? Is it worth the missed exotic trip? Is it worth the heartache? Is it worth all of the yucky? You bet! There truly is nothing in the world harder or better than being a mom (for me). Do I feel like a failure? Often. Do I think "if only"? Daily. Do I have areas where I can improve? Several. But I love being a mom to my five kids and I am so thankful that they are in it with me for better and for worse and that we can laugh and love and cry and hug together. They're my team and I love it.
So, Gwyneth, you and I both long to be there for our kids. We long to give them consistency and love. We both think it would be easier in another's shoes at times. We both get taken away from our children because of work and other commitments. We both believe that being a mom is hard, but totally worth it. What you said caused an uproar, but we've all said it at one time or another (most of us just don't get the chance to say it on E! News). Being a mom is hard. We think it would be easier "if only". But we wouldn't give it up for the world! Sorry you're getting so much ranting for saying what we've all believed at one time or another! Now I'm off to clean up that first spill of the day!