The Force of Motherhood

by Harmony Hobbs
Originally Published: 

Motherhood is turning me into one tough bitch.

I used to be a mild-mannered, non-yeller who embarrassed easily and apologized a lot.

Before I had kids, things really used to get to me. I once had a female boss tell me that I’d gotten to where I was not because I was smart, but because I’d been “skating by on my personality.” I was too shocked and intimidated to tell her she was a dumbass bitch with a shitty personality, and what I’d really like to do is cram her Louis Vuitton bag down her pie hole.

Instead, I quietly nodded my way through the meeting and cried in the car when it was over.

That happened before I was toughened up by the experience of growing and expelling a human being. Is there anything more fortifying than bringing life into the world? Whatever was left of my modesty vanished; I was too busy mothering a squishy, red-faced baby into a spirited, defiant toddler to concern myself with much else.

Two more kids later, I’ve become a person who my old self would have shied away from. The version of me who cried in my car was before I bounced colicky babies for hours, and before I realized that three kids is way more than I have any business handling. Motherhood doesn’t care what you think you can handle.

The non-yelling me became a yeller when I gave birth without any pain medication, and my easily embarrassed self disappeared when I experienced the worst case of hemorrhoids, like, ever. I was in so much pain I was unable to explain to my husband that I needed to go to the hospital*. I just laid on the floor wishing I would black out so the pain would stop and he would forever be in my debt for not taking the situation seriously.

Motherhood doesn’t care about your modesty or self-respect.

I am tougher. I am bitchier. Because, let’s face it, motherhood does not care if you only had three hours of sleep. Motherhood does not care if you feel fat. Motherhood says, GET UP OFF YOUR ASS, LADY. YOUR SON IS EATING SILICA PACKETS.

If I have to run outside in mismatched pajamas to chase a naked toddler through the yard or to make sure my oldest gets on the bus, so be it.

If I have to leave a full grocery cart in the store because my kids are making a scene, so be it.

If I have to tell a stranger to back the hell away from my van or please stop touching my baby, so be it.

I don’t have time to be embarrassed.

I don’t have time to apologize for my choices.

I don’t have time to get my feelings hurt if you don’t agree with me.

I don’t have time to poop alone, so I’m probably not going to be able to have an hour-long phone conversation with you this afternoon, remember to pay the bills, or figure out where that smell is coming from.

An onlooker might assume I’m medicated.


I am shell-shocked and desensitized, with an ever-present goal of getting through the day.

Motherhood—shushing babies and wiping butts and weathering countless, psychotic tantrums—changed me. And I am grateful.

Motherhood forces me to carry on. It forces me to love when I don’t feel like it. It forces me to keep going when I am exhausted.

Motherhood is a force to be reckoned with.

And now, I am a force to be reckoned with.

* I’m happy to report that my ass did eventually return to normal, but the experience resulted in me having very little patience for my husband when he complains of a headache.

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