To the mom who feels burnt out (and to myself when I need a reminder),
I see you. I see you struggling. I see you up to your eyeballs in to do lists and expectations. You are tired. Empty. You go through the motions of your day, waiting for someone to tap you out and give you a much needed, and deserved, break. You haven’t slept a full night in years. Your home is in constant disarray and it gives you anxiety. You look back longingly at the days when you felt like another person. A woman with interests and hobbies, a woman who was more comfortable in her skin, who was even sexy sometimes.
“It’s A Season”
A mom friend of mine gave me this mantra, “It’s a season,” to help get us through the nitty, gritty, spit-up soaked days of motherhood. I repeat this to myself all day, every day. “It’s a season,” means that the bad will pass. One day, I will sleep again. I will poop unaccompanied. Maybe I’ll have a fulfilling career. I’ll be able to go out with a friend with less anxiety. Hell, maybe sex won’t feel like another thing on the to do list. One day, I will wake up and my sweet little babies who never leave me alone will be big enough to get their own breakfast on Saturday morning.
But, “It’s a season,” also applies to all the good things. Sometimes I get so caught up in that feeling of anxiety and overwhelm, that I forget how insanely precious every day with my babies is. My son is three. His mind is a magical place of imagination. Having conversations with him is my favorite thing to do, and he LOVES me. He loves to snuggle and sing lullabies with me. One day he won’t do those things anymore.
My daughter is a year and half. She is the perfect snuggle size. She just learned how to say, “Mommy!” instead of, “Mama,” and it’s the cutest darn thing I ever heard. She learns something new every day. She has the best voice and the best laugh. And my kids love each other in the purest, most heartbreakingly beautiful way. And this innocent time of their lives won’t last.
The Struggle Is Real
Motherhood is so multifaceted. As moms, we wear so many hats. We are nurses, cooks, housekeepers, tutors, counselors, gladiators, accountants, managers, taxi drivers, and entertainers. Our families can sometimes pull us in so many directions that it becomes overwhelming. Motherhood has the potential to be a lonely vocation. You are a fucking superhero. And no one is giving you a cape or a parade.
Yes, we all go through these struggles. But they look a little different in every family. Why don’t we talk about it? Why don’t we cry for help? We slap a smile on our face, and when people ask how we are doing, we lie. We say we have never been happier, being mothers gives us such joy and purpose. And maybe this is true.
But maybe, we are also dying a little. We gave up our sense of identity and slipped into this mother skin that feels a little suffocating sometimes. Yes, sleeping with a tiny baby in your arms is impossibly sweet, but so is sprawling out in your king size bed and sleeping til 10 on a Saturday. While I relish the pride that comes when my son sings his ABCs or my daughter learns a new word, I miss having intellectual conversations with friends. I have noticed that I say, “Um,” more often than I ever did before. I attribute this development to my lack of adult conversation for sometimes days at a time.
Let Shit Go, Girl
One day my home will be clean again. It will be quiet. I will be able to decorate my home with fragile things. I will have your own life again one day. And on that day, I am positive that I will long for this day. Last night, both my babies slept in my bed. My son took up the majority of the bed, and my daughter slept with her feet tucked into my throat. I am tired and grumpy and haven’t had a second of peace all day. But my life is full of love. It’s full of these sweet, perfect little people, gifts from God handpicked for me, who show me what real love is every single day.
So I try to let it go when the dishes don’t get done, or company arrives for dinner and grocery bags are still littering the counter. My life is full of love. The rest is small, stupid stuff that won’t matter tomorrow. Some days it is easier said than done. Some days I just want five extra minutes in the shower to shave my legs. But, on all of the days, I try to take a few minutes before I go to sleep, to reflect on how incredibly blessed I am. If I have nothing else but these sweet smiles, I have a pretty amazing life.
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