It seems that young motherhood is often characterized by mindless monotony. And yes, I would agree that monotony is part of it, but by no means is the whole job boring and monotonous. I feel like I am always desperately trying to solve intellectual problems.
Being a mom makes my brain hurt. And the problems that I’m struggling to solve are urgent. They require 100% focus and 100% effort. It’s tiring work.
From the seemingly simple (Why is my baby crying?) to the confoundingly complex (How do I get my toddler to stop being destructive?), these questions are the backbone of my day and I can only solve them by observation and trial and error. I’ve never felt as stumped by a question in my academic career as I have in motherhood–and I did some pretty rigorous academic things!
Motherhood is stressful in ways that AP Calculus is not. In Calculus, if you can’t solve an equation, you can always check the back of the book, ask a friend, or go to the teacher for help. But there are no answers in the back of the book for raising your child. Your life is the book. You are writing the answers.
In becoming a mother, I haven’t set aside my intellectual life. Instead, I am expanding it. I am learning what children need to flourish. I am learning how to help babies sleep and how helping toddlers sleep is slightly different. I am learning how to teach principles and manners and skills to my toddler and how to give my baby room to explore. I am learning how to take care of myself psychologically. I am learning what I need to do and not do to be the person and mom and wife that I want to be.
This job is incredibly fulfilling and incredibly intellectual and I’m thankful for it.
Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.