Child-Friendly Parenting

An Excerpt from The Childbearing Woman: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Nursing, and Motherhood by Tiffany Tyndall — The Entirety of D.6. Motherhood Aches and Pains

In the daily life of my role as a mother, I generally have aches and pains in my back, shoulders, and feet.  It’s nothing completely serious or debilitating; it’s just something that has become a way of life for me because of the kind of work that I do.  I don’t wake up in pain or anything, but by the end of the day, I am ready for a good night’s sleep.  After being on my feet for most of the day and after being so “active” with my hands and arms, my body is tired and I need to rest.

For anyone who thinks that the work of a mother is “easy” or “leisurely,” they really have no idea what they are talking about.  It is my opinion that any stay-at-home mom who would say that their position in life is “awesome” or “boring” or “breezy,” or whatever, is not working hard enough.  It is easy to do this job with little care or effort.  But it’s very difficult to do this job well and with excellence.  You should have some aches and pains by the end of the day, or at least every now and then.  You should need to sit down and rest periodically throughout the day.  You should feel overwhelmed and stressed out at times.  The work of a mother is hard work, and no one really understands this entirely unless they’ve actually done it.

Now with that said, part of my goal in the way I work is to get to the point where what I do is primarily upkeep and maintenance, not catch-up.  This is the way to live!  My life has become relatively great because of the wise way I’ve done things.  You’ve got to have a sense of order and balance, and you have to keep your eye on things and take care of things as soon as they need taken care of.  I find that I am able to rest and recuperate as much as I need and that I really don’t have true aches and pains like I first did when I began my life as a stay-at-home mom.  I’m always looking for new ways to improve and expand upon what I’ve done so that things just keep getting better and better, and this is where a lot of the harder work comes from now.  It’s also what keeps things interesting and varied.

The main thing with aches and pains in the life of motherhood is to learn how to really and truly rest and relax.  A lot of the neck and shoulder pain comes from tension and from being hunched over counters and from carrying kids around all day.  When you are hurting, take care of yourself.  Better yet, take care of yourself always so that your hurting happens at a minimum.  Also, when you’re sick, give yourself permission to drop all.  Return to things when you feel better.  It’s not worth pushing yourself until you collapse or until you’re beyond the point of a quick recovery.  Your body can only take so much, so just learn how to balance your work with your rest.

The last thing I’ll say about aches and pains is that you are bound to experience some (if not a lot of) emotional pain as a mother.  Children can’t always appreciate what you do for them, yet it often feels like you are giving them everything you have, every ounce of love in your heart.  And then they still have meltdowns and throw tantrums and carry on as if you don’t care about them.  So you have to know that you are giving your best and your all so that when these times come, you don’t have to get swept up in the tantrums.  You’ll be able to handle yourself with poise and peace even if you child doesn’t know how to do that yet for himself or herself.

The Childbearing Woman: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Nursing, and Motherhood by Tiffany Tyndall is available for purchase here.

This writing is also included in Loved: Writings on Motherhood and Caregiving, a collection of reflective and expository writings by Tiffany Tyndall.