Do We Trade Happiness for Motherhood?

Originally Published: 

As I approach mothering once again, as I feel it creeping slowly as life rises up into my ribs, I have the same twinge of self-doubt that I’ve always carried, slightly magnified as my child’s entrance to the world grows near.

I keep wondering what my life is going to look like with two children. Will it be easier or harder? Will it suck every last ounce of my energy and my patience? Will it be worth it? Maybe it’s selfish, but I often wonder if I will be happy.

If caring accounted for being a good parent and a content mother, then the answer would be a resounding yes; I’d have it in the bag. Motherhood has filled me up with endless amounts of love, but love does not always equate to happiness, no matter how much I want it to.

Though I’ve never held the belief that parenthood should make you instantly overjoyed with bubbles coming out of your ears and stars in your eyes, I didn’t know it would hit like a train. I also didn’t think the train would be so loud and so long. On most days, I don’t know if I’m doing a good job because how do we ever really know what a good job is? I do know that I try and I know that my daughter is a happy child but that’s about all I know. More or less.

But what about me?

I’ve fought for happiness like any good warrior. I’ve spent years digging through all the muck to get to it. I went to yoga religiously, I started a blog, I tried to get centered. I even saw a therapist, though that was short-lived. I learned to breathe, to spill my guts (maybe to a fault) and I learned that I love being a mom. I learned to accept that it may never be easy. I stopped needing and wanting ease so badly and I started accepting parenthood for it’s inherent qualities. I embraced them- the messiness, the chaos and the relentless late nights and early mornings.

So, why aren’t I happier?

Do I miss the old joys? Margaritas and beaches and sleeping late. Driving with the music turned up and having no where to be. Those moments are so rare they are almost mythical. They are the things of fantasies and to a mother, they sound like pure bliss. From afar, they might even look like happiness.

My happiness comes in a different shade now, and I often have to search for the magic like a bloodhound. Some days, the days when it’s no where to be found I wonder; have I traded it in for motherhood? Or am I just not looking hard enough?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know that I will keep searching.

Are you happy?

This article was originally published on