11 Paradoxes of Motherhood


Ah, motherhood. It’s an immensely joyful, heart-warming experience that we mamas wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. But it can also sometimes be unimaginably crazymaking, turning even the most put-together, self-confident woman into a neurotic mess flying through her day on a wing and a prayer. And perhaps the most crazymaking quality of motherhood is the endless list of contradictions ruling our day-to-day lives. I crowd sourced my moms group to ask for examples of some of the most frustrating paradoxes of motherhood, and here’s what they had to say:

  1. Your OB/GYN instructs you to eat lots of veggies, protein, and good carbs during your pregnancy, being careful to limit sugar. However, your terrible morning sickness forces you to subsist on crackers, bagels, ginger ale, and Sour Patch Kids.
  2. Pregnancy insomnia keeps you from getting any kind of decent sleep, and the only cure is popping out a newborn who will wake you at two-hour intervals for the foreseeable future.
  3. The societal message of “Breast is Best” encourages moms to breastfeed if possible, citing numerous benefits for both mom and baby. But don’t dare do it in public, because then you’re being provocative and begging for attention! At least have the good sense to act like you’re ashamed.
  4. Most of the time, procreation requires sex. Well, having a baby pours a bucket of ice water on that fire real quick.
  5. They tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” By the time you’ve fed the baby, changed her diaper, gotten her down for a nap, put in a load of laundry, taken a quick shower for the first time in two days, and eaten something more substantial than cereal and yogurt, you have just enough time to lay down and drift into a blissful nap before being jarringly awakened by a hungry scream. Or worse, you’re so anxious you can’t get your mind to relax enough to fall asleep, despite experiencing the most intense exhaustion of your life.
  6. Your milk-engorged boobs look like something out of a Japanese animator’s dream, but hands off, hubbies! These puppies are crazy sore.
  7. You’re up all night with a fussy baby, leaving you so exhausted you worry you’re incapable of driving yourself to work. A steady stream of iced coffee might make the day at least somewhat bearable, but you’re breastfeeding and need to keep an eye on caffeine intake. Womp womp.
  8. You spend lots of money on expensive baby toys only to find your baby goes crazy for a spatula.
  9. The car is packed. The baby is in his cutest outfit. He’s strapped in his car seat, happy as a clam, and you’re almost on track to be on time to your important destination when…. MASSIVE BLOWOUT.
  10. You can’t do fun things spontaneously because the baby needs to nap and stick to his schedule. But you can’t make firm plans, because who knows what kind of day the baby will be having.
  11. No one wants to be around your poorly-behaved toddler. But if you try to enforce some structure and discipline, you’re “being too hard on him.”


At least we’re in this together, right?

Any other paradoxes of motherhood to share?