Updated: Nov 9, 2020
I was 20 years old when I found out I was having a baby. I was excited, scared and everything in between. This was it! I was put on this planet to be a mom! I am going to rock this! I am going to be the cool mom who let's my daughter shave her legs at 10, or let my son play in the dirt... who cares if we are heading out for a nice dinner? They are kids.
Then... I go home. "Hey babe, I have something we have to talk about. I'm pregnant."
The silence was so loud. "It's not mine". That is what was said to break the silence. The tears started. What?! This isn't how this was supposed to play out! He was supposed to hug me and be as excited as I WAS! I was devastated!
9 months later, he was here. Our little peanut. The one I was going to love every minute of every day. The one who instantly turned me into wonder woman! This is going to be great! Ummmm??? Not!
I was exhausted. Dad, who was in university at the time, was away most days, and frankly most evenings. I was alone, with this little human; who cried, crapped his pants, ate and slept. The naps were not long enough for me to get much done. You know, because I am wonder woman. I can be a new mom, do all the laundry, dishes, cook dinner and solve world hunger. You know, just a normal day. Ugg.
At age 2 the tantrums started, bribery came into effect, and all I wanted was a beer. Many beers.
Ages 3, and 4... yep! Still want alcohol! Something harder than a beer would be nice. But I press through sober. "I'm a great mom. I'm a great mom". I repeated to myself. FREAK!!!! How do people do this? Why did I WANT to be a mom? I suck at this!
I haven't peed in private for FOUR years! My space is not even MY space. My belongings are not even mine! There is chocolate stained on my couch, black sharpie marker on the wall and black streaks that I can only chalk up to rubber wheels from dinky cars on every wall and door. *sigh*, but they are kids, right?
And the negative self-talk set in... DEEP!
And THEN... I met Andy! This was it! He was super hot, he had a job, he was sweet and charming. And... he came with 2 more kids! OMG! I can't even handle one! Now 3? I'm going to check myself into the closest hospital, with a padded room and hard meds.
But I am wonder woman, right?? So of course, FULL STEAM AHEAD!
Being a mother is hard enough, but being a step-mother? I never imagined life could be such a shit show.
Normal life, to "Disneyland" weekends, to freak outs that I can not even put into words, crying alone in the shower, I started losing my hair, lose weight (which I was okay with), I was tired ALL THE TIME and my nerves were shot.
But... I am wonder woman I told myself. I picked myself up, wiped the tears, poured myself a tea and embraced the chaos that was my life.
My experiences could go on and on. Collectively we had 3 boys, so you can imagine how creative we had to be as parents.
Then there was hockey. Good God! I know. I look at Facebook and see pictures and post about moms who are so excited to attend these games. I too went and cheered. But if I can be completely honest, I hated it!
I was there in body, but my mind was thinking about all the other things I'd rather be doing. Sleeping! I'd rather be sleeping! Not putting equipment on a screaming child at 7am, followed by observing them Superman across the ice rather than listening to the coach.
But I did it. And I never told them how much I hated it. I smiled, encouraged, and laughed at the flying kid on the ice. I did the same with soccer, and every other activity they wished to participate in. That's what moms do right?
Let's skip to 2009. Baby #4 is born. And for me, this came with PPD. I didn’t even know what that was, all I knew was how I felt.
Sad, irrational, irritable, uncontrollable anxiety.
I honestly felt like I was losing my mind. I was snapping at family members who called my son chunky (he was), I cried harder, I slept longer...I had lost ALL my super powers.
Some days, I was able to fake a smile or a laugh. But what I really wanted to do, was climb under my blanket, alone.
I struggled for years. Alone.
I did my best. But everyday, some event would validate ever single negative statement I said to myself. I felt like I had no one.
My first son turns 16. Oh. My. Gosh!
Girls. Drugs. I was not ready for this. I was reactive, destructive and really? Just a horrible mother. I spoke to the mother of the boy who was selling drugs to my son, I kicked him out of the house, we fought, flung angry word at each other... not my finest moment. I asked myself multiple times a day "what did I do to deserve this life?". NOTHING. I DID NOTHING. My mother always wished upon me a child who was just like me. And I got it! He has my attitude, my wisdom, my smart mouth and my good looks (wink wink). He also inherited my need to negotiate. Dang! Great skill to have, but not to be used on me!
I did nothing to help myself! Self-care? What was that? Like I already said, I can't even use the washroom in peace, how am I going to leave the house...with NO kids?! Haha! Never going to happen!
Andy was great with the baby but snuggles from mom were always the cure. Sounds great doesn't it? You know? It was great! But sometimes, I just needed a minute. A minute to think. A minute to process whatever, a minute to pee or shower or read or do what ever I wanted to do.
There was no time for that :(
I am sharing my story to show you that you are NOT ALONE!
To all the Mamas out there, you are a warrior! You are wonder woman!
Through all the struggles, and tears, you wake up each morning, pour yourself some caffeine and get through your day. It may be a messy day, but YOU DO IT!
You are strong! I am strong! WE ARE STRONG!
We are human. We are not perfect, and frankly, life would be boring if we were.
We are not ordinary! We are the bomb baby! No matter how you became a mother, know this... you got this! You will call your child an ass in anger, you will ground then for a year and let them off after 3 days, you will cry and that's okay.
We are strong because we don't quit. We are winning at parenting every day we continue to do our BEST.
Remember this, people can portray any life they want on social media. Everyone has a story. Everyone has struggles. The question is, how are you going to use your experiences to move forward in your life?
Surround yourself with positive people, seek professional help (it works!), take care of YOU, set achievable goals and love with all your heart.