A Cavewoman Did This and Lived

"Just like any good motivational speaker, adopt a motto. A pretty little diddy to get you through that combines reality with humor and a positive outlook that you will survive."

I’m a big fan of moms having an outlet or built-in coping mechanism, be it your own private pint of ice cream at the end of the day or a good, long soak in the tub after the kids are in bed. But when you’re in the shit during the day sometimes you need a little motto to repeat to yourself to make it through. This guest post from Katie suggests a great one.

Anyone who has ever been pregnant, or met/knows a pregnant woman, (as in, everyone) knows that the difficulties of motherhood begin at t-minus 9 months. Yes, the joys of motherhood also begin there, but that’s not what this post is about. From the moment of conception, that kiddo is going to have you writhing in mental, physical, and occasionally spiritual pain.

And what is going to get you through?

On the spiritual level, a nice prayer may help – it’s hands-free and doesn’t require you to stop what you are doing (or should I say dealing with?). Sometimes you just don’t have all 90 minutes required to abandon your child, drive across town, and attend that daily yoga class that is supposed to ground you and keep you centered when a poo-covered toddler is ripping around your house, thinking that excrement tag is the best game ever invented, and you haven’t slept in a week.

On a physical level, a back massage from your husband is always welcome. Sometimes you might even want to upgrade to a masseuse for a deep tissue full body massage, given that everything from your stubbed toes to your thinning hair has been permanently changed by the introduction of a mini-dictator into your formerly free-will-filled world.

On the mental level, who’s got your back? When your phone falls into the toilet “on accident” when a small pair of hands steals it from your purse, it’s not your mom, or your fellow mother-friends, who used to be a phone call away. When you are writhing in agony on a hospital bed for the 86,401st second of labor that no amount of breathing practice could prepare you for, it’s not your husband, who can’t really tell what can soothe you because it changes by the minute (or anyone, really – sorry husbands, we appreciate the effort, we really do). So who’s got your back on the mental level? We all know the answer: you, and only you.

You are the only one who can ensure your mental stability as your life goes through the most monumental upheaval you will ever experience (or so they say). So what can you do to prepare?

Just like any good motivational speaker, adopt a motto. A pretty little diddy to get you through that combines reality with humor and a positive outlook that you will survive. And ladies, let’s be honest with ourselves too – if you are reading this, your motherhood experience is going to be more cushioned and luxurious than 99%+ of all mothers in the past, and many mothers today who live in developing countries. Let’s check out this motto–theory in action. I didn’t elaborate on the following situations, because if you’ve been there and done that, you know.

What got me through labor?

A cavewoman did this and lived.*

*Unmedicated, in the dark, in a cave. Or at least enough of them lived to be able to feed their babies and perpetuate human kind. Not kidding, this is actually something I told myself in labor.

What got me through the first weeks of breastfeeding?

A cavewoman did this and lived.*

*and her child didn’t starve. See previous disclaimer.

What gets me through repeated trips to the nursery at 2am to change diapers and nurse my baby to sleep?

A cavewoman did this and lived.*

*In the dark, no dimmer lights or diaper wipes, in the middle of winter. Although the cleanliness of the whole cave-diaper situation is questionable – did they even use diapers? Or maybe they started sleep-training at birth?

What will get me through toddler tantrums?

A cavewoman did this and lived.*

*and didn’t push all of her children off of a cliff. She fed some to the saber-toothed tigers.

What will get me through teenage hormone swings?

A cavewoman kicked her moody kid out and said, “Feed and clothe yourself, you ungrateful miscreant! Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Ok sorry guys, the cavewoman motto only works until teenage hormones enter the picture. But for every joint that ceases to function during pregnancy, and every nursing bra that your baby fills with spit up, and every couch that your kid writes on with sharpies, and every hair you lose from your own hormone swings, and every lost night of sleep that makes coffee run thick in your veins, remember, and repeat after me: A cavewoman did this and lived. So dammit, wipe up that pre-made, store-bought squash puree (that you didn’t have to forage for) from your walls, floors, ceilings, and face after every failed feeding and smile—because a cavewoman did this and lived.



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  • In late pregnancy I used this same logic to calm myself down about my impending birth.

    Then I developed severe PPD. I distinctly remember thinking, upon being discharged from the psych ward when my baby was eight weeks old, "If I were a cave woman, I would have been dead by now." I realize it sounds really morbid, buy I’m actually lol’ing about it now. I guess PPD is one of those things that falls outside of the cavewoman motto’s jurisdiction.

  • I love this!! I am currently 28 weeks pregnant with our first child, and whenever I get antsy about childbirth I say "thousands of women do it everyday, thousands of women do it everyday and some even go back back for more!" Very helpful. Either that or i have a cry and a Mars Bar. Both feel good!

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