Today marks 6 weeks until I go back to work after my maternity leave. I get that in the USA I’ve had it pretty great with 6 months of maternity leave because of the timing of H’s birth. And I’ve been told that by 6 months I’ll be ready to go back to work and entrust her to daycare. But it’s still not enough. It still completely sucks to think about a world where I don’t spend every second of every day hanging out with that little lady and smooching that ridiculously precious face.

I went to a mommy group for a while, and I follow my mommy Facebook friends to see what they’re up to, and I read a lot of blogs and articles about motherhood. And I feel like the following admission is something I’m kind of supposed to keep to myself in today’s hyper critical and stressed-out mommy universe: I absolutely love being a mom, and it hasn’t been super hard for me so far. I have an awesome kid, an awesome husband, and life is about as happy as it could be right now. We’re a great little family, and I have a lot of trouble relating to the stories of moms whose children seem like alien creatures come to rob them of their former lives. My heart broke for the moms in my group comparing horror stories of their babies’ early days…and some of them were doozies. But I found kind of a weird reverse pressure there; I felt almost like I should invent problems with H to fit in. I didn’t feel of the group, and I saw that those moms were doing such amazing jobs with all of their kids but were still so stressed and full of doubt. And the articles I read reinforced a lot of that push back against a culture of women who have been told for a few decades now that they can have it all, it’s really not that hard. I read about women wearing their difficulties with motherhood like a new badge of honor. My experience is more difficult than yours, that kind of thing.

I’m not dismissing women with postpartum depression, or moms whose children never sleep or are constantly upset. It’s something I was worried about throughout my entire pregnancy because my family has a long and horrific history with depression. My moods were monitored closely by my OB, and I was prepared for the extremely likely possibility that I would suffer from it myself. So I have nothing but empathy for those difficulties. I am grateful to have avoided all of that so far. But my struggle has been with this kind of us vs. them attitude in this one facet of the never-ending Mommy Wars phenomenon. Sometimes it feels like if you’re not at the end of your rope as a new mom today, you can’t be part of the club (and should probably just keep that information to yourself). Women (and some men) love to tell new moms how crazy their own kids were and compare war wounds. And if your baby is well behaved they jump at the chance to tell you to “just wait” until she’s older, because then she’ll really be difficult. H might start teething any day and turn into a completely different child, but why can’t I just enjoy how awesome she is now without the threat of a future horror show? And why isn’t it okay to just trust that no matter what she might start doing someday, Adam and I will get through it like we always do–with a sense of humor and a lot of love for each other in our little family? Bonding over the difficulties of motherhood sometimes shuts out someone who’s actually doing alright with motherhood so far. By no means a perfect mom, but just a content one.

I felt the same way when I was pregnant. I freaking loved being pregnant, and everywhere I went moms wanted to tell me how awful it was for them. I wondered if some women were waiting for me to have a problem so they could pounce with I-told-you-so’s and advice, and that’s how I feel as a new mom, too. I had a helluva time getting H into this world (2 inductions, 50+ hours, epidural, C-section, and on and on), but even then Adam and I were cracking jokes with the nurses the whole time. So far whatever we’re doing is working for us, so I’m confident we’ll all grow up together just fine. We’re raising a baby, not under fire in Fallujah or building the atomic bomb.

Am I sleep deprived and forget what I was saying halfway through a sentence? Absolutely. Have I stopped dressing like a functional and contributing member of society most days? You betcha. Do I daydream about a time when I won’t be knee-deep in baby fluids, laundry, and the paraphernalia of infant life? You have no idea. At this point I’ve accepted that my kid might have a flat dent on the back of her head because trying to get her to accept tummy time as a reality just ain’t happening. But I can count on just one hand the number of times I’ve had to walk out of the room to take deep breaths when H’s lost her sh*t. Even at her absolute most melted down moments (and she’s had them, trust me) I feel pretty calm and ready to drop everything and do whatever it takes to make it better for this little person who can do absolutely nothing for herself. That is the basic guiding principle of my life these days, and that doesn’t feel so hard. I was put on this earth to be that little girl’s mommy. This is it to me; I’ve made it to the Big Show.

Leaving her in September is what’s hard.