Home / Parenting To the mom who loves motherhood—but misses her freedom, too Motherhood is a catch-22 By Colleen Temple Updated April 22, 2022 Twenty20 Hey you. The mom who is overwhelmed. The mom who is tired. The mom who needs a hug. It’s okay. It’s all going to be okay. I’ve been thinking about this lately…motherhood is a catch-22. Some days your kids wake up at 5:45 a.m. and you’re not sure how you’re going to survive the day and you know “the days are slow, but the years are fast” and all that jazz but dang(!) you’re tired. (Coffee, please.) Then, some days the kids sleep until 8:30 a.m. and you sip coffee in silence and answer emails and take a shower and you’re ready to conquer the day with a positive attitude because you’re the best mom ever and you’ve already had three coffees because you were so excited and didn’t know what to do with yourself. Related: How to realistically make self-care a priority when you have no time It’s all about the back and forth, the ups and downs. It’s feeling guilty, then feeling victorious. It’s being tired, but somehow mustering the energy you need to smile and get through the day. And I just wanted to say, that I think it’s okay to yearn for the day when a quiet, peaceful shower is the norm instead of setting up an army of toys and snacks in the bathroom to occupy your little one or spend the 8 minutes worrying that you accidentally left scissors out and your three-year-old is going to have a new ‘do because you had the audacity to take the time to shave your legs. Like, sometimes you just have to shave your legs. It’s also okay (but, to be honest, kind of annoying) to hear a child crying when you’re in the shower even when your child is sleeping/being watched by someone else/not even with you. That’ll probably stay with us for a while, mamas. It is okay to want to be able to sleep through the night, but also to run right to your baby when she wakes up crying at 2 a.m. It is okay to swear “tonight is the night we cut off bedtime nursing” only to give in because it’s easier and you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to stop just yet. It is okay to want to wear makeup and a regular outfit (yes, including jeans—not yoga pants!) on a regular basis. But also very much okay to rock yoga pants like it’s your business on the daily. It is okay to order Hello Fresh for the week instead of doing a full grocery shop. It is also okay to feed your children chicken nuggets for dinner because you feel like you have nothing left inside to give and you just need to survive bedtime so you can watch Jane the Virgin in bed when it’s over. It’s okay to want the whining to stop, but to also know you’re going to miss feeling needed like this one day. It’s okay to have to close your eyes as you walk out of the house so you don’t see the mess. If you start now, you’ll never leave… Related: Woke up wanting to push the restart button? You’re not alone, mama It is also okay to take the time to clean up, to do the dishes, to vacuum, etc. while the kids occupy themselves. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and they need to fend for themselves. And a clean house makes for a clear mind. (Or at least semi-clear.) It’s okay to simultaneously want to be with your kids in the moment but to also want to be on a beach somewhere without your kids alternating between sipping a margarita and frolicking in the sand shouting things like, “I’m free! I’m free!” It is okay to want to run for the hills once bedtime approaches, but also to be sad when you were out and missed bedtime stories and kisses. It is okay to miss your ‘pre-motherhood’ self and the independence you often took for granted, but at the same time, to not even be able to fathom who you would be without your children. Or what you would do. Or whether it would be acceptable or not to watch Disney movies all the time if you didn’t have children. (I mean…could you really live without Moana? Simple answer…no.) It’s okay to be a person—a woman—and a mom. And all the other things. To wear lots of hats—sometimes multiple hats at once. It’s okay to have dreams and goals that involve your family and children, and dreams and goals that are for yourself. It’s okay to be tired and wiped out and emotionally drained. The second your three-year-old grabs your hand and says, “Mom. You’re a really great mom!” you know it is all okay. It’s going to be okay. These moments will always be there to remind us of that. A version of this post was published August 31, 2017. It has been updated.