I’ve been saying I’m in a hard season of motherhood for about…well, 8 years now, which is the exact total of how long I have been a mom. Every night, I lay in bed exhausted and thankful that my most favorite part of the day has finally arrived: SLEEP. But I quickly become energized when I scroll pictures of my littles on my phone vowing that tomorrow I am going to do a better job, and get it right. Yes, tomorrow will be the day that I will be the mom that I always wanted to be.
You see, today I lost my sh*t. We’ve had sick kids with fevers, and coughs, and ear infections, and snow days for the better part of what feels like four thousand days, and I’m just over it. The laundry hasn’t ended (despite the strike notice I sent out to my household), the meals still need to get cooked and frankly, it all just feels like too much. Too many freaking days in a row of needing to handle and care for the needs of ALL OF THESE PEOPLE. It’s not one thing in particular, it’s the culmination of 5,482 little things that just add up. I’m convinced that being a mom is LITERALLY the most exhausting job ever, and I guess today it got the best of me.
The problem comes into play though when I realize that this isn’t an isolated incident – this whole me losing my mind scenario. It feels like I’m on a crazy train rollercoaster where one minute I fully believe:
I got this, I like my kids, being a mom is so rewarding, wow – look at these little people we created, what a joy!”
But then they “accidentally” use permanent marker all over our beautiful leather couch, or I get a call from the principal that they’ve hit Freddie Jr at school again, or God forbid, I cut their sandwich into the wrong shape of slices, and the crazy train comes roaring back:
I can’t stand these kids! I’m going to lose my mind! In fact, it’s already lost! I’m done, I’m moving out to a family who will appreciate me and love my cooking and hell, they’ll even cook FOR ME!”
My mental state goes from borderline stable to borderline unstable 50,000 times in a 24 hour period.
Maybe you can relate?
Here’s the thing, there is not much certainty in this motherhood gig, but there is one thing that I know to be true: Although this is my first time raising kids so I’m not entirely sure if the crazy train roller coaster is normal per se (which who is decided the standard of normal these days anyway?), I do know one thing to be true,
I AM NOT ALONE.
I know that I am not alone in feeling like being a mom, especially a work at home or stay at home mom, is worthy of losing your sh*t from time to time! I know it, because I see you out in the world, with eyes glossed over with a lip-glossed fake smile on your face, just going through the motions with your tantrum-prone littles in tow.
I see you, in the corner of the grocery store, loading extra cartons of ice cream or bottles of wine for that “party” you’re having later in your bed. I see you, mindlessly disengaged and scrolling through your phone at the park because let’s be honest you’re so tired of coming up with entertainment activities for the 300th hour in a row and this is the only “quiet” time you’ve gotten recently. I see you. I know you’re struggling too. I know that your days aren’t glamour and paid-for-lunches like they used to be. I know that you’re daydreaming, wondering how it is that you had it so good in the corporate world with co-workers that actually respected and listened to you, and yet you never fully appreciated it until you took on this whole mom gig.
I see you.
Because I am you.
And the thing is that I don’t speak up publicly, or all that often except for a select few in my very very inner circle because I’m afraid that other moms are going to judge me since I am a stay-at-home-mom. This is my current vocation. The one that is highly regarded and celebrated in the Christian world – I get to be the primary influence in nurturing my kids! Yay!
Except not yay.
The other moms look at my life with such eyes of privilege and envy, that I feel a constant need to appreciate and love and be excited about every part of motherhood as a response to their judgement. Even though that is definitely not honest or authentic to what I’m going through right now. The truth of the matter is that I honestly don’t like my job pretty regularly. I feel like I’m taking an emotional BEATING raising these kids, trying to manage all of their emotions, and discipline, and outbursts, and love and goodness gracious, it’s just all SO much.
I don’t know how many more days I will have like this, raising these kids, riding this crazy train. I predict it might be the good part of 18 years, but like I said, this is my first trip through this whole motherhood gig, so I’m not totally sure. Maybe the crazy train ends sooner than when they fly the nest – who knows?! The only thing that I do know, is that I’m not alone in feeling like this and that in order to help the next generation survive, we’ve got to start being honest and authentic about our actual TRUTH in the day to day with each other. There has to be space for the good days, and the NOT SO good days. There has to be that space, without judgement. I’m not saying you need to go camp out in a pothole of self-pity because you’re having another bad day. Nope, not saying that at all. I am saying though that we need to stop the judgement of the work-at-home, stay-at-home, career-from-wherever mom knowing that they are struggling in some way too because there is NO EASY WAY TO RAISE KIDS. There is NO EASY way to sacrifice and care for other human beings for 18 years without losing your sh*t at some point or another. The hope obviously is that you have less of those days as you grow and mature, but there’s no guarantee.
So let’s give space to each other. When you see that mama losing her sh*t, don’t try to fix her; don’t judge her. Be there with her. Just listen. Because more than likely, it’s going to be you on that crazy train sooner than later, and you are going to want a safe person in your camp to just nod their head with you.
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All photography credit goes to Kinsey Meredith Photography. She’s literally the best in the business if you’re local to Seattle.