Ever since Swee'pea was born, people, acquaintances mostly, and sometimes barely that, have asked me, "So, how do you like motherhood?" or "So, are you enjoying motherhood?"
I never know how to answer.
Motherhood seems way too intense and all-consuming for such mild words as like and enjoy. These questions make it sound like motherhood is a passtime, something you can pick up and put down at your whim, something you can use to while away a few hours on a rainy afternoon, then pack away into a cupboard until the next rainy day. I think motherhood is much more like a calling, a vocation; something you commit your life to, for better or for worse (and there will definitely be both).
Even if I overlook the poor word choice, and try to answer simply, I don't know how.
I just don't get what they're really asking. If they were really asking whether I like being a mother, they can't actually expect me to answer anything but yes. I mean, if I didn't like it, would I choose to confide that in the grocery line-up? To a passing acquaintance? Am I really gonna say, "No... I'd sort of like to give the kid back."?
I can't quite say I like motherhood. I LOVE being Swee'pea's mother, but the actual job is messy and intense and exhausting. It's the hardest yet most joyous and amazing thing I've ever done. And since it's always acquaintances I haven't seen since I was pregnant who are asking, I don't quite feel comfortable explaining all that.
As Mad says, "Having a kid has changed just about every thought I have and just about everything I do--not in an infantalized happy Mommy sort-of way but in a cranium-exploding in a million shards of light sort of way."
I was not prepared for this kind of change in me. I spent all of my pregnancy focusing on the birth of the baby that it never occurred to me to expect my own rebirth, as a mother. I figured we'd slot the baby into our lives and away we'd go. We have done this, I suppose, to some extent, but I really had no idea of just how much our universe would shift.
I guess the simple, and perhaps expected answer, is, "Yes, thanks. And how are you?" but that feels like a lie at worst (and like Bubandpie I can't lie) or an oversimplification at best. I feel like if I just answer yes, then I'm minimizing what it is to be a mother. Which could in turn contribute to the devaluation of mothers. If I act like everything is not only fine, but easy and likeable, I'm not helping other mothers who may be struggling, not doing anything to combat the idealization of motherhood...
Or am I overthinking this? Does anyone else struggle with this question or have a better understanding of what's expected?
1 day ago