Published in The Broomfield Enterprise, 3/2/08

It’s hard to tell which is the culprit–the dark, indoor days of winter, the long work hours of her husband’s busy season, or the hormonal shifts of her third pregnancy. Cherries

These feelings of isolation are ones my girlfriend is experiencing for the first time in her life, and boy, do they bring me back to the days of my own life as a new mother.

Those days were magical and sweet in so many ways–showing off my new babies, feeling my heart burst out of my chest with undying love for these new creatures, and realizing my own fortitude as I took charge of three human beings out in the world as I visited the grocery store for a whole hour—and brought them home alive. It was a great test to determine who I was as a person.

(Of course, having the check out woman on lane four ask me when my next baby was due as she pointed to my un-deflated belly bump bulging out underneath my 4-week-old in a Baby Bjorn on my chest was not magical at all, and I would, from that moment on, avoid lane four no matter how short her line was and how much of a hurry I was in.)

But those endless days, cut only by the trip to the grocery store, were also desperately lonely at times and begged the rhetorical, “is this my life?” query over and over again.

I vividly recall those eternal days, gated into my own living room by baby-proof plastic grids and ottomans rearranged just so, moving in a constant loop from changing table to nursing chair to bottle cupboard to snack pantry…and immediately back to changing table. I remember all three children finally falling asleep and sitting back into the cushion–my hamstrings at last letting go of the only remaining ounce keeping me up-right—and wincing as the dogs began their daily argument with the squirrel who taunted them from the windowsill.

Those days were exhausting. They were lonely. And they were hard. While in the thick, it is so very difficult to see that this is only a moment in time, that this reality, too, shall pass.

Motherhood is, in fact, the most fulfilling and wondrous adventure one will ever be on. But in our culture, the great lie is the assumption that all of the surrounding stuff is a bowl of cherries, too.

Even a bowl of cherries has a rotten one every now and then…

And like Carol Channing singing “Your mommy hates housework…your daddy hates housework…I hate housework, too…” on the “Free to Be…You and Me…” album, there’s some stuff in there that stinks. It just does.

But it’s okay to feel that way.

Here’s a news flash—everyone else feels that way, too.

It doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our husbands and our lives. It doesn’t even mean that we don’t love doing our household chores every now and then—we do.

All it means, in the midst of all the wondrous, happy, fulfilling things about raising a family there are, is that some days are just hard.

And the more we women can unify in the acknowledgment of these feelings, the better off we will all be—us, our kids and our spouses.

Talking about these feelings allows us to see that, even if there are a few rotten cherries in there, it’s still a pretty darn good bowl.

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