What We All Have In Common: Happy Mother’s Day


jammies c/o Nosilla Organics  print c/o Read Between the Lines

Recently I was asked to participate in a night of women reading essays about motherhood, called Listen to Your Mother.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I actually don’t talk a lot about motherhood. It’s because I don’t like to open myself up to the comments really. I open myself up a lot, in a lot of ways, and I have to draw some lines in this Internet sand! But it was interesting to me, to think, “If I had 5 minutes to tell every mom, one thing, what would I tell them?”

So I sat down, and I wrote this. And I wrote it for myself as much as I wrote it for anyone else. But I mean it with all my heart, and I wish each and every one of you moms a very happy Mother’s Day.

What we all have in common.
by Alison Faulkner

There are so many women who want to be pregnant, dream of being pregnant, and are suffering so much emotional and physical pain because they cannot get pregnant.

And that’s why I feel super guilty, when I say with all the fiery passion of my soul that: I HATE being pregnant.

And I tried to keep my good fortune in mind as I waddled around in constant pain, and when I got a random condition that made me itch uncontrollably and when I had weekly panic attacks, I’m still not sure why I had those. Because really, even though all that stuff is not great, I had healthy babies, and so many other women have it worse.

But honestly, pregnancy traumatized me. And I’ve noticed that when that other mother’s speak of fondly pregnancy, and its joys and fun little nuances, it makes me defensive, and if I’m not careful that defensiveness can turn into annoyance or even anger.

Yet, I just can’t FATHOM how we could have the same experience and feel so, so differently about it.

And that!

That right there is the hardest part about being a mom: We all have the same job, but we’re all doing the job so differently, that it’s hard not to assume that one of us, (and I usually think it’s me) isn’t doing the job right.

It’s starts with pregnancy, something so many mothers experience, but all experience differently. I’m fully aware that a person who doesn’t feel the way I do about pregnancy, has to think I’m just being melodramatic. One of us, must be faking, right?

And so it continues. Some mom’s think a home birth is the only way to go, and those who were ripped in two and stitched back up, are left feeling almost personally attacked for their choice of a hospital stay when a mom casually mentions she gave birth in the living room. Some moms love nursing while other’s bodies make it hell on Earth.

And no matter how cautiously we talk about our mothering decisions, it’s inevitable we’ll strike someone’s insecurity every once and while.

Another one that was hard for me, was the newborn phase. After my first child was born (and I just have two) I was baffled that so many people were dying to smell her head, and willing to hold her for more than 10 minutes at a time. I loved my baby, but at the beginning I was more obsessed with the concept of her, than the reality of her.

She cried a lot, and only liked her dad. She didn’t love napping and was super annoyed by people bugging her—and by “bugging” I mean they wanted to look at her.
And so when those other mother’s would want to hold her more than I did, or discuss how precious the newborn phase was, it made me think I must be doing something wrong. I felt guilty and self-involved. But I just couldn’t devote that much-undivided attention to a person with literally no vocabulary.

I didn’t realize it was just the hardest part of being a mom, creeping in again.

We’re all doing the same thing, but it all affects us differently.

Recently I’ve decided that if I want to continue working as much as I do, I have to hire at least some childcare. Until now I’ve gotten by with my husband’s flexible work schedule, the fact that I hate sleeping, and a generous Grandma that lives nearby.

My husband has been stretched and stressed beyond belief trying to accommodate his growing work schedule and mine. And can’t understand why I don’t want to just hire more help.

He doesn’t get that if we hire anyone to help, for ANY amount of time, I’m admitting to everyone, I’m admitting to myself, that I can’t hack it as a stay-at-home mom, and that I like working as much as I like my children.

And that makes me want to crawl in a hole in shame.

I respect OTHER working mother’s with all my heart, I don’t look down on them. But I can’t seem to give myself permission to do what I honestly feel is going to keep me sane as a mother.

And then I ask myself, why do I feel so differently than those mom’s who are happy at the park, and making dinner, and remembering to help their kid’s brush their teeth? Maybe I don’t feel that differently, I think. I’m probably just more selfish, weaker, maybe I’m just a bad mom.

And that, that right there, is the hardest part about being a mom. Because when we feel differently than others, or feel differently than we thought we’d would, we’re worried we’re doing something terribly, horribly wrong.

And so I just wanted to say to myself and every mom I could get to listen: we’re going to disagree, we’re going to feel threatened or attacked when someone who has shared our same experiences feels differently than we do.

But it’s all ok. Because all of us moms, the ones who are worried they are doing a terrible job, have one thing in common, we’re all doing the best we know how.

So without getting preachy, maybe just cut yourself some slack, I’m going to try to do the same, and cut that hippie next door who let her children watch her water birth some slack, because we’re all in this together, we’re all at times feeling horrible about it, and we can all turn to one another, a little more often and say, “Hey mama, you’re doing the best you can. And your best is good enough.” And that’s one thing we all have in common.

Happy Mother’s Day!

If you’re feeling mother-y here’s an adorable video from Small Fry, and it’s never too late to download some of these printables from my Mom’s Rule Mother’s Day brunch!


  1. Alexis McCracken

    I LOVE this. Thank you so much! I went back to work when Hostess closed and my husband became a stay-at-home dad overnight. It’s been hard. It’s been hard to not feel guilty when all of my friends are taking kids to the park or the zoo and I’m like, “Sorry, yo. I work graveyards to support my family. 11 am? I’m dead asleep.” My mom and I differ greatly on our parenting styles. She had c-sections, I had vaginal births. She formula fed from day 1, I nursed for 12+ months. This doesn’t mean we love our kids any less, we just see and experience things differently. And you know what? That’s okay. 🙂

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  2. I love this so much. Especially because I do feel the same way about working, new babies, and being a sahm. But I do try and remind myself that everyone’s experience is valid. There is no one way to be a mother, and not all these differences *mean* something. We are all (and that means me) doing our best. Thanks for the reminder.

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  3. Megan

    Beautifully written! Thank you.

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  4. Right before I read this blog post I read this one http://www.offthebeatenpathministries.com/2014/05/wonder-if-youre-doing-it-right-walk.html?m=1
    Which ties in perfectly to yours! Usually if we think we are doing it wrong that means we are doing something right…. Or at least we care enough to let it bother us and hopefully fix it. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  5. I am sitting here at work trying not to cry. I just had my first baby, and I work. I had some insane itch too – like nothing I can describe to anyone in this entire world. It was awful, but when I came back to work it disapeared. I moving into a huge partnership at my firm – negioating insane deals all while my baby is being babysat, and I feel awful about it every single second of every single day. I am printing your post of and reading it every single morning. I’m okay. Thank you for helping me realize that today. Thank you for helping realize I can LOVE my son so much and my life and thoughts can be centered around the family, but not want to stay home. Also, I HATED being pregnant too.

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  6. This is lovely Alison! You are so right-we are all doing the best we can. Not every day is awesome and amazing but hopefully we will get a chance to do better the next day. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

    p.s. I am totally with you about being pregnant and the newborn phase. I was terrible at both. My son’s neonatologist told me tht my uterus is a hostile environment for a baby, which was both disconcerting and strangely reassuring…it wasn’t all in my head. :/

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
    1. HAHAHA such good bad news! amazing!

      May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  7. Danielle

    Seriously thank you for being so honest. I don’t have an children (yet) but the self talk you describe is so relatable. I admire you and all your creative talent. I recently quit my job to put all my time and hard work into being my own boss. Every time you post things like this it reminds me I’m not alone, other people struggle too. But your posts give me so much motivation, cause look at you..you’re fabulous!!!

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
    1. oh thank you! that is so sweet. I appreciate it.

      May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  8. Great post! I feel the same way about pregnancy. Just the other day someone told me they loved being pregnant and I was dumbfounded. I loved that I could feel him move and kick and that he was healthy after suffering years of recurrent pregnancy loss. But love it? No way. The thought of hopefully having another child makes me so excited. Until I think about the pregnancy months and then I get shaky!

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
    1. yes! I’m done, but if I got pregnant by accident I would for sure need counseling!

      May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  9. Erica

    That is totally the hardest part! And also the most beautiful part. When you have your own children, you get to do whatever the hell you want with them! And if someone thinks it should be done a different way, they can have their own kid and do whatever they want. There are so many different parts that play into raising a child into a successful adult and so many different definitions of a successful adult. To each their own! You had a baby now it’s your turn to experiment! Chances are low that he will turn into a serial killer.

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
    1. haha love it! thank you!

      May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  10. Oh I loved this Alison!! This is just perfect and inspiring and so true! I, too, love to work as much as I love mothering. I think it’s healthy to admit that and do our best to balance it all. Like you said, we’re all just out here doing our best! Thanks for the smile today. It was a blast being in your video discussion at Mom 2.0. Glad to have found you.

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
    1. aw thank you so much! that is so great to hear! you’re awesome!

      May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  11. I’m pregnant with number two and this was like a breath of fresh air!! I’m grateful for my babies but GOD is being pregnant awful. I cry to my husband all the time that I wish I was one of those other pregnant moms that was embracing all the beautiful moments, but I just can’t seem to see past all my pain and anxiety to totally embrace it. Long response short, thanks for making me not feel completely alone!

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  12. Brittany

    Loved this. It reminded me a lot of the “you are enough” movement, as well as this post: http://momexploresmichigan.blogspot.com/2014/03/no-leprechauns-no-valentines-boxes-no.html (even if she’s on the OPPOSITE side of party-mom central…). I think women are too mean on themselves and each other. Love yourself – love your spouse – love your kids. Things will work out. You have to assume strength in yourself and in your kids, rather than fragility. (co-opted from the Tiger Mom…who I have a little bit of a crush on…)

    May 9, 2014   |   Reply
  13. Meghan

    I really never comment on blogs that I read but I wanted to say thank you.
    My son is nine months old and I constantly worry that I’m doing it wrong. My planned home birth didn’t work out. I had the drugs (loved them!) and a healthy but fussy boy. He wasn’t colicky but just high needs. Lots of energy. Loud. Doesn’t like to eat or sleep. Lots of fun. But also exhausting.
    I would feel terrible that it wasn’t always an easy job or when I was struggling. I would feel worse thinking that I might be ok with just having one baby. I didn’t want to look like a bad mom, that I can’t handle more than one… It’s almost like I am admitting I’m a bad mom and shouldn’t inflict my terrible parenting on any more children.
    But I know that’s not true either and God didn’t bless me with my amazing boy to have me fail. To challenge me, yes. To teach me, yes. To show me so much more about what love is, absolutely.
    Thank you for reminding me of all this. I’m not failing I’m just doing things differently and that’s ok.

  14. This is just what I needed to read today, thank you for being so encouraging and so honest about your experiences!

  15. I’m strongly in the camp that if you think you’re doing something wrong or feel like you’re a bad mom, you’re most definitely a good one. The mere fact that we think about these things means we love our kids and care about them. And that’s basically all that matters anyway! Thanks for this Alison!

  16. Stephanie Whiting

    I so so LOVE your message! You HAVE to read the book Motherstyles! I read it about a year ago and it helped me come to these same conclusions that we all mother differently and why and that it is ALL good. It also touches on the similarities and differences you have personality wise with your children, mother and mother in law, even your spouse. SO GOOD! After you read it I’ll be wanting to know what personality you are, so let me know! I am an ESFJ (extrovert, sensing, feeling, judging) mom.

  17. Brooklyn Norton

    Such a great article! I’m a working mom and feel like every one judges me all the time! We women need to stick together and lift each other!! The only concern I have is when you complain about pregnancy that cuts my heart because there are so many women who can’t get pregnant or have children and it hurts my heart when healthy women complain – nothing personal just be careful in that regard 😉 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yes I think I actually said that verbatim in the article, that I know so many women cannot get pregnant, and that I’m lucky and try to be grateful. So maybe you just missed that part! THanks for your comments!

  18. Emily

    Alison thank you for this post. I love how you mother as your authentic self. It’s a great reminder to me that being mom is not a hat I put on every morning, but rather a consistent extension or expansion of my authentic self. So I am enough now, not tomorrow or in 10 years when I feel I’ve got it figured out. I am enough now. So thanks.

    1. WOW that is like the best insight ever! I love that SO much, thank you! It is what I’m saying but I love the way you worded it!

  19. Alison! I clicked through to read this because after your announcement of baby #3, I became curious as to why pregnancy was so bad for you, or how you felt… I 100% AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAY HERE. I hate being pregnant, and felt so convicted for those feelings… Like, how DARE I. And I didn’t bond with my newborns until WEEKS LATER. I didn’t have that overwhelming “I have never known a love like this” moment until way way later, and I felt terrible about that too. Especially as my babies are a little older now and it horrifies me that I felt anything less than obsessed with them. Thank you for your transparency! You helped me so much (especially as I mentally begin to prepare for the consideration of a third baby!)

    1. I am so glad!! thank you so much for sharing your struggles too! I am so so so so obsessed with my kids and I mean I LIKE the newborns but I for sure understand what you mean! Hormones man! WE can’t discount them! And all the feelings and expectations! they add so much to everything. Best of luck to you and so much love!

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