I’ll Admit It, Motherhood Has Made Me High Maintenance

mother relaxMarisa Siegel wrote the other day about scheduling her pregnancy around a destination wedding and a tattoo. Before I had kids, I may have thought something along the lines of This lady isn’t ready to be a mother. Now that I have kids – it makes so much sense.

Maybe there are some women who still have all the time in the world after they have kids. Maybe there are families who have the budget to pay for help so they don’t have to be with their kids all the live long day. I’m not that woman and I don’t have that family. As much as I love being a mom, I’m becoming increasingly aware of certain pangs of jealousy appearing at the oddest times.

We were sitting at dinner the other day when I overheard the couple next to us say, What should we do now? Wanna go to a movie? I immediately became wrapped in a fiery blanket of envy. I barely remember what it’s like to go to the movies on a whim. Heck – I barely remember what it’s like to do anything on a whim that doesn’t involve being “family friendly” or something I am able to rush through in time for my toddler to not completely wear my mother out.

Manicures, pedicures, movies, leisurely days drinking in the afternoon and strolling along the streets of New York – these are all things that are but a distant memory to me. Yes, I still squeeze these things in. But they are so few and far between now that I am noticing something about myself. I am becoming seriously high maintenance.

My years in the service industry prevent me from acting on the frustration that plays out in my head when one of these insignificant events doesn’t go perfectly. But now, each of these undertakings is an intricate juggling act – one that mostly plays out in my mind. How do I get the most out of every, single benign event that I get to experience that doesn’t involve motherhood? I have yet to master this.

I got a pedicure a couple weeks ago.  The trivial ritual that I used to take part in at least twice a month has now become one of the only little things I do to pamper myself outside of the home. You can imagine the kind of pressure that puts on the occurrence. I used to just be content if the pedicurist got the polish right and I managed to make it home without totally fucking it up. Now, the actual pedicure better be the best damn pedicure around. Okay, maybe not the best. But good. Really good.

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Jen

      I know your situation is a bit tough but…some parent friends of mine do a group baby sitting rotation. Meaning if say my friend L and her husband go out this weekend. K will watch their kids (free of charge), but next weekend K and her husband go out and L watches their kids (free of charge). They do this monthly, but then they have a group get together too where a couple of groups of parents will have a small get together at their house. So L has a party, K and her husband come, and they watch M’s kids. Then the next month they rotate. So that way every couple months one couple gets 2 nights out. L uses hers to sit at home and watch tv, ha. But if you have trusted friends with kids, maybe something like this would work? Best of luck!

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Wait… are your friends Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom?

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        I have to make the friends first :( We just moved here! But that is an awesome idea.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=789264713 Frances Locke

      Aww, you aren’t terrible at all, this all sounds totally normal.

      For me, I don’t get jealous of couples without kids. The people I get jealous of are parents who have a better support system than I do and take it for granted. I have an acquaintance who constantly complains about her lot in life. But she has a retired mom and grandma who watch her kids for free whenever she wants to get out AND when she goes to work.

      Obviously that doesn’t fix all of life’s problems but I can’t help but get a little jelly when I’m all frazzled from working at home with three sick kids and she’s all mani-pedi’ed up and bitching about the small stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great partner and wonderful friends but sometimes I wish I had more free time.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        Yup. Totally get that. I moved away from the city I love toward a better family support network. Two of the six movies I talked about seeing were in the last 2 months!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583777996 Siobhan Green

        Amen. My mom died over 10 years ago (she would have been an awesome hands on grandma), my dad and stepmom live 3000 miles away, my inlaws live over 5000 miles away in the other direction, and none of our siblings live near or have kids. We sorta sometimes have friends with kids who can host playdates and stuff, but my oldest has mild special needs so has been a bit of a handful in strange situations.

        Up until recently, if we want a break, we have to pay for it – and babysitters are expensive (between $15-$20/hour if you need someone older than 14). And of course, they are hard to get because they are in high demand.

        BUT – it gets a lot better as they age. Now that my kids are older (9 and 7), they are FINALLY at an age where they don’t need direct supervision at all times. We can sleep in on the weekends and they can get themselves food and get on the computer without killing themselves. We live in a neighborhood where the kids can arrange their own playdates with neighbors (we all know each other). The 9 year old can even be left alone for an hour or so.

        It is like the weight of the world is lifted. The guilt of spending an hour on a massage is gone – poof.

    • http://twitter.com/marisasaystweet MarisaSays

      So you’re saying I should get Hawaii in now, right? ;)

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        ABSOLUTELY!

    • ChopChick

      As a non-parent, I gotta tell you. This is refreshing to read. I read all the time about how amazing having children is and all the wonderful ways it changes your life, but in some ways, it’s not so great. And it’s great to see a woman who is capable of saying I love my children and wouldnt change having them for the world, but sometimes it sucks.

      My sister in law convinced herself of how perfect and fulfilling having a child would be and after a year of doing nothing else she got terrible depressed because she felt like a failure for wanting something more. Ever since admitting to herself that she needs more of a balance, she (and her whole family) have been so much happier.

      So more power to you. Sometimes, it’s braver to admit the unpopular thing.

      • Andrea

        This reminds me of something. One time, I was talking to a dad and he was whining about how no one tells you how much it can suck sometimes. How all everyone says is how amazing, and fulfilling and rainbows and roses it all is and no one tells how hard it is. So I asked him, well are you telling anyone now? And he says, HELL NO! Let them find out the hard way like I did!

        Parenting can be truly awesome, but it is very demanding.

      • Sara

        I actually think we do women a huge disservice by perpetuating the “you’re going to love motherhood from the very beginning” myth. Because when it doesn’t work out that way, and it very often doesn’t, we think there’s something wrong with us.
        My daughter was colicky, and we didn’t sleep for the first twelve weeks of her life. I was miserable for most of that time. MISERABLE, as in, I seriously felt I had made a huge mistake having a child and was deeply envious of my child-free friends. If it hadn’t been for my post-partum doula, who is an amazing woman and was able to reassure me that this wasn’t the case, I would have been drowning in guilt for my feelings. You know, on top of the sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety that I would never sleep for longer than 4 hours at a stretch again.

        As a society, we put so much pressure on women to LOVE MOTHERHOOD! from the very beginning, when in truth, caring for a newborn usually sucks for a lot of us. I can’t say I really started to enjoy motherhood until my daughter was out of that stage. Now she’s 18 months old and I love being her mother more than anything in the world, but it took some time.

      • lea

        “how no one tells you how much it can suck sometimes”

        See I totally don’t get this (I mean that I get it happens, but it hasn’t been my experience at all).

        I hear all about how much it sucks (sometimes) all the time from my parent friends and associates. Especially now that I am pregnant.
        Shit, sometimes it almost seems like (in certain social circles) it is a competition about who can hate motherhood the most!

      • Sara

        Lea, I was in the same boat as you. I just had my baby a couple months ago. Beforehand all I heard and read was “parenthood sucks blah blah blah” and I kept thinking what a horrible situation I’d gotten myself into. Even though I planned it. Lol. Maybe I know the wrong people and am reading the wrong websites? I only heard negative things!

        I don’t think being a parent sucks at all. Sure, its not a vacation, but I wasn’t expecting that. I went into expecting a little sleep deprivation and sore nipples and a lot of poop. But the vast majority of the time I like being a parent. Of course I’m settled and my party days are behind me and I haven’t bothered with much of a social life for the past few years. That probably makes a difference.

        So in the end I’m sort of grateful for all the negativity because I was expecting it to be horrible and I’ve found its nothing like that at all. Now I wonder why all those people are complaining and I can’t help but wonder why so many people are having kids when they find them to be such an inconvenience.

      • jisme

        I don’t think its so much as being an inconvenience as it is stressful. it depends on the situations and the people.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        I swear, I think some people are just built different than others. Maybe it’s because I waited so long to be a mom (37)… I don’t know. But yes, I miss freedom sometimes!

      • ChopChick

        My best friend just had a baby about a month and a half ago and was like, I feel horrible admitting it, but I cant wait to go back to work. She wouldn’t change having him for the world and loves him so much, but she also recognizes she could never be a SAHM. Nothing wrong with that!

      • Sara

        Oh my God, I couldn’t wait to go back to work when my daughter was 7 weeks old. I would be, hands-down, the suckiest SAHM ever.

    • http://www.whatwouldshethink.com/ Rachelle

      Oh woman I feel you. I feel you so much that just last weekend I called my BFF and booked us a full on spa day. And I spluuuuuuurged like I never, ever, ever have before. My kid is 5 months old, and I look like I’ve been in a 10 year war. My husband was actually happy to see me get ready for the day, because… you know… us Moms don’t always have the time to be “outting ready”. Legs, bikini, new bathing suit – I was going to milk those nordic spa baths and that massage like I’d never milked anything before.

      I ordered a mimosa with my duck confit salad, we said YES to the suggestion of a waffle with homemade whipped cream, chocolate, macaron pearls and gold flakes, we lounged in the hot tubs, I shushed my thoughts for the whole hour of massage and I happily handed over my debit card to pay for it all. (Okay, so today looking at my bank account I kinda wish I had chilled out a bit… but that’s how bad I needed it.)

      I’ve given up on mani-pedis though. It’s easier and cheaper to do them while babygirl is in bed at night, but I may have to splurge again in a couple of months… who knows.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        That sounds so amazing.

      • http://www.whatwouldshethink.com/ Rachelle

        It was so good it should be a felony.

    • jisme

      So let me start by saying I’m 20 and a beautiful bubbly little 3 yr old girl. calls me Mommy. thou me and my spouse were obviously young we were happy to have our daughter. to me newborn stage was the easiest. all they do is eat sleep and poo and you dont have to stress as much about what they are learning. my mother in law is a hands on gma and watches our daughter while we work and nights we need to get away. as she has her so much asking for an extra few hours makes me feel guilty. our job requires us to travel EVERY WEEK! (UGH) but thankfully we are together thou we don’t see MY family much. as for movies.. HA i haven’t been to the movies in months and a pedi well ive never experienced those. a night on the town is out of the question as is going outside to play some weeks as its to dangerous. friends are miles away.. all of my free time goes to my girl and i don’t regret it. but there are days when i wish i had had the chance to go to college out drinking with my friends or just to a party. But when she hugs me and tells me she loves me or gets excited over doing something herself it makes all my stress and the tears worth it…

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