Mama, I see you heavily sighing in the grocery store. You look exhausted. You look frazzled and on the verge of tears. Maybe the baby was up all night. Maybe one of your kids has nightmares and didn’t want to sleep in their own bed, so they climbed into bed with you, (only for them to kick and smack you all night long). You probably only got about four hours of sleep between it all, and are praying the kids to fall asleep (and stay asleep) in the car on the way home so you get a break.
The other two kids are running amuck, adding items to the cart that will accidentally make its way home. You look up embarrassed at the volume of your children, running around the cart, blocking the other patrons from getting their spaghetti and other pasta products. They walk past you, annoyed at the noise and the distraction from their own grocery store trip. They roll their eyes, maybe even make a comment under their breath, but have no idea how hard you are trying to keep your cool. Never once do they think about how hard you are working to keep it together.
They have no idea how many times you’ve asked your children to quiet down and stay near the cart. They don’t see your face when you overhear their hushed comments. You’re defeated, and frustrated and I can tell you are doing your best not to fall to the ground in a pile of tears. Yet you push on.
It's not because you like shopping with three sleep-deprived children who listen as well as their father in front of a Super Bowl game. It's because you have to. Your family needs food; there are lunches to pack and dinners to plan. You need to get home because you have a mountain of laundry calling your name. And you can’t fall apart, because you have to be strong, of course. Your kids need you to be strong.
You think about the rest of your evening. Your husband is working late, again. So it’s up to you to get the kids fed, bathed and into bed before you get a moment of peace to yourself. Just thinking about it causes you to frown, because it’s hours away and you need that moment now.
I pass you, smiling back you, trying to catch your eyes to let you know you aren’t completely lost. I see you, mama. It’s a secret mom code. It’s an “I get it, my kids are in aisle 3 knocking all the cereal off the shelves,” kind of look. I understand what she’s going through. And It’s okay, Mama, please know that you’re doing an amazing job.
Being a mother is the hardest job that I personally have ever done. I’ve worked my way through both high school and college, creating a long-lasting career for myself over the past fifteen years. But becoming a mother has challenged me more than anything else I’ve ever encountered before this. I have never been so utterly exhausted and anxious for a job I constantly feel like I am failing at, yet loving those kids more than you even love yourself most days. It’s not all about a mother’s intuition. It’s not all about listening to your guts or how natural of a parent you are (or make it look). It’s about winging it and hoping you don’t screw them up. It’s wondering every minute of every day if you are doing it right, and completely believing you are failing as a mother.
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If you’re struggling today, mother or not, 🛑, read this, please .. I hope maybe today I can help just one person feel a little bit better. So I took this photo while the boys were playing happily for a whole .. 2 minutes maybe. Amidst one of the hardest mornings of my life. I tend to say that a lot. Almost like each hard time I have outweighs the last. But that’s nonsensical, right? You just kind of forget those other really really excruciatingly hard mornings, or hard moments, or hard days, or hard entire phases. Hey? Because as life goes, there are ups ☝🏼and there are some big, massive 20-feet under downs - and it’s in these moments we forget about the good. Do you know what happened this morning? Well I have 2 sick kids, and I’m exhausted, and my 2 boys were screaming and yelling and fighting and NO ONE was listening to me ... I did the best I possibly could ... with the little patience & energy I had. NOTHING worked. My chest started hurting .. I was sure I was going to have a heart attack. I was at my WITS END - I don’t mean that lightly. I said and did things I regret. I was reactive. I couldn’t control myself. I grabbed a packet of baby wipes, walked into Dustin’s bedroom, shut the door, and smashed the baby wipes again and again and again on his set of drawers, until the pack exploded. So... after all of that ... both babies are a sleep and Tatums watching ABC. Some days surprise me, sometimes in good, and sometimes in really bad ways. Today I’m living minute-by-minute. I’m going to a #positiveparentingprogram on Wednesday that focuses on disobedience .. and I’m seeing my doctor on Thursday. I need help. I’ve done something about it, right, that’s all I can do. I’m going to forget this morning. & remember that better times are ahead, for all of us. 🌸 Some moments are just really damn hard, and you only have what you have, and you can only do what you can do. 💞~ . . . . . . . . . . #mumsmindmatters #motherofthree #mumof3 #mummyof3 #angrymum #strugglingmum #parentingishard #struggling #postnataldepression #postpartumdepression #ppd #betterdaysarecoming #betterdaysahead #mentalhealthmatters #motherhoodishard #mentalhealthformums #mentalhealthsupport
It’s not glamorous. It’s work. Hard work. It’s changing diaper after diaper as your newborn fills it faster than you can grab the next one. It’s sitting up in bed, breastfeeding every hour of the night as your husband sleeps soundly beside you. It’s kissing boo-boos and being their source of comfort when they fall. It’s also about your arm being used as a tissue or catching throw-up in your bare hands.
It’s worrying about everything from the moment you find out you are pregnant. It’s searching the internet at 3 am to find out if your newborn hates you because he never sleeps. It’s sobbing on the floor when you’ve lost all control. It’s finding those kids staring back at you as you tuck them in at night, as they sweetly say, “I love you, mama.” The job of the mother is never done. Even when the physical work is done, the mental work is always running. It’s why you’re exhausted. But every day you get up and do that job. Some days may not be pretty. Some days you may not ever get out of your pyjamas, questioning how long it’s been since you last showered or even left the house. But you are there, being the glue that holds the family together, even while you are struggling to keep it together.
To the mama barely hanging on, I see you. You are not alone. I know you. Because I am you.