A pile of clean laundry sits in my laundry room, the loads need to be switched. I’ve collected several empty laundry detergents that need to be rinsed and dropped off to recycling – I put it on my to do list weeks ago. I need to unload the dish washer and reload it with the dishes that not only fill the sink but the table and counter. There are toys on the floor that I’ll kick to the side as I rush from room to room getting the kids up, breakfast made, diapers changed, baby fed, kids dressed, snacks packed, lunches made, homework back into backpacks, and if I remember – grabbing a shirt so I don’t look a complete mess going through the pick up lane. Next is coaxing my two year old into a car seat and buckling in the other three. Then off we go to school.
This is my morning. I always say I’m going to pack snacks the night before, lay out clothes to make things easier. Do I? Sometimes. However, sometimes my nights are just as rushed and it slips my mind. The rest of my day is a mix of working, feedings, pretending to drink the air coffee my son makes, and completely forgetting about the coffee I made. I’ll switch the loads, I’ll clean up toys as I pass them, I’ll unload the dish washer in three to five attempts as my son comes running every time he notices he can’t see me. I’ll make my toddler lunch and I’ll feed the baby – somedays I’ll snack through tasks, and somedays all the stars will align and both boys will be down and I’ll be able to eat my lunch in peace before getting some work done. Does this sound familiar? If you can’t relate to all of it can you relate to some of it? Truth is this is a good morning. This isn’t a day where I stand at the fridge trying to piece together a lunch my preschooler will eat. This isn’t a morning where I can’t find matching socks to save my life. This isn’t a morning where my kids start fighting from the moment their feet hit the floor. Do you get it?
Being a mom is an amazing and rewarding part of life that I would never trade. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t fantasize about quiet baths, a clean house, and dare I say it – a candle on a table where small hands could reach. Being a mom is hard. It’s putting on a brave face when you want to cry, it’s dabbing tears while holding back your own. It’s looking at the same trick 4,567 times while you make dinner and try to clean up the kitchen. Motherhood isn’t easy. It gets harder for the first several years and honestly my kids are young enough that I don’t know when it gets easier. This isn’t me complaining or bashing being a mother. It’s one of my favorite titles. But I want other moms to know that I see you. My house isn’t clean unless I’ve raged cleaned because I know someone has to stop by to fix something. My son just walked out at 6:22 AM and asked if it was morning so he could get up. This is the only time I get to be alone and not 30 seconds later my daughter is out asking if we can do fall activities. It’s exhausting. I feel myself trying to defend to you all that I love my kids. I do love my kids. But that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle under the responsibilities of being a mother.
My timeline this week has been filled with struggling moms – often having to justify that they love their kids. The balance is hard but I don’t want to give something up. I enjoy my job. I enjoy my boys being home with me during the day. It doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. It doesn’t mean I don’t want a day off. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom. And it doesn’t mean you are either.
Do you know how many mothers go to bed exhausted each night, reciting a to do list and calculating how many hours they can hope for if their children don’t need them in the middle of the night? Do you know how many mothers work full time jobs, come home and clean up their house, make dinner, and put their kids to bed without help because that’s just the hand they’ve been dealt? I could go on and on but I know that the moms reading it already know the struggle. I see you! I see you paying bills, moving money around, rushing to put money in backpacks for a book fair you forgot about. I see you bouncing a baby on your lap at your son’s soccer game while a toddler pulls on your sleeve. I see you sitting on the couch at the end of the night catching up on trash tv and struggling to relax because you ‘should’ be doing something productive. I see you.
I have just ten minutes left before I turn on the kettle for oatmeal, search my pile of laundry for clean clothes for my kiddos, match socks from the sock pile, feed the baby and get him into a car seat, wipe down messy faces, remember I forgot to pack snacks and run back to do so in a hurry. In just ten minutes I’ll be hearing “can we do this after school”, “can I bring this to school, the teacher says I can”, “can I have cereal now too”, “did you give me money for snack”, “oh no we forgot to brush my hair”, “brother hit me”, “sissy said she doesn’t love me”, and about a million “mommy/mama/moms”.
I see you mama. I see you trying to balance. Trying to keep up. Trying not to drown. I see you wrestling with treating yourself to a coffee when you decide you’ll just make it at home because your toddler is screaming and your baby is crying and you just want to get them out of the car. I see you. I see you hiding in the bathroom trying to just catch your breath. You’re not alone. You’re allowed to be struggling in this season. You’re allowed to take a moment to yourself. You need it. I need it. It’s okay. Let me repeat this as my kids are starting to fight with my last three minutes of quiet that aren’t really quiet…. You’re not alone. I see you!