My heart ached as a good friend (and a great mama) confided in me: “I just feel like a horrible mom”. She has a three year old and a one year old, and her days are filled to the brim with playdates and meal prep and naps and changing diapers. She shared with me how certain days she wants to just escape from all the chaos. She longs for her husband to notice how hard she tries to keep her family together and make their house a home. She often envies his long days out with colleagues that include meetings at trendy coffee shops and late night happy hour networking at five star restaurants. She waits for him at home, sometimes with a cold tray of pasta, wondering if anything she is doing really matters.
Have you been there too? I know I have.
I tried to tell her she is not alone. I have felt the same feelings. Many of my friends have shared with me their frustration with how difficult motherhood truly is and how often they feel like they are barely hanging on by a thread. She is an incredible mother. She takes the time to sit down and color with her children. She takes them to storytimes and parks and museums. She does all she can to ensure they grow up healthy and happy. They adore her, completely and fully. I see their little eyes so full of love and adoration for their mommy. No one can replace her. I’ve tried to console her daughters, and they look right through me. When she runs to them, they melt in her arms. I wish I could put into words that she is doing an amazing job. She matters, and her sacrifices do also.
Sure, there are the good days. The days that fly by and leave you feeling proud and accomplished. The days the house stays clean, your kiddo actually listens (or really does her timeout), and things just get done. Then, there are those bad days. The days when the house is a TOTAL wreck, your car breaks down at the worst time, your kid pees their pants at the playground (and you forgot a change of clothes), and your kid wins the battle and you completely lose your crap on a three year old. Ever been there? I sure have!
I just don’t know how much I can stress this. What we are doing does matter. In a world where motherhood is so often looked at as a season to just make it through, it is important to tell other women that what they are doing matters so much, even if no one is around to tell them that it is okay to have a terrible day here and then. I cringe when I am told, “someday you’ll have your life back to yourself.” I will never have my life back to myself. My daughter is now in-grafted into my life in a way that cannot be changed. She is, and always be, a part of my life. It isn’t easy. Love is never easy. It hurts, it disappoints, it has it’s good and bad seasons. But love is always, always, worth it.
If you are having a rough day today, please know that you are not alone. We share this beautiful and difficult task to give our lives to these children that have no idea what we are sacrificing. They demand and take and ask. But one day they will see and remember. They love us through all of our grossness. Through the angry moments and the crazy eyes, they do know that we love them. They run to us when they fall hard. They cry for us when they are sick. They need us. The real, honest, authentic us that gets tired, cries…but keeps on- through the mundane, the good days, and the bad days. Just because you don’t make a paycheck for being with your babies doesn’t mean what you do isn’t worth measuring in value. Working moms trying to hold it all together and feeling burned out: what you do is incredible. If only everyone saw your most tiresome and emotional work of all starts when you get home. Some days I just need to write this down into words to program it into my thick and often flaky brain. ALL moms: what we do does matter.