I am not one of you, not at this point in my life, but I know you well. I’ve been watching and listening and while rarely do I feel it’s my space to jump in and speak on the subject, I have something important to say;
You’re doing a really good job.
You are tired. You got angry this morning. You fed your kid partially hydrogenated soybean oil. You wonder if Paw Patrol or Daniel the Tiger are nannying your little ones. Your toddler learned a bad word from you when you banged your head trying to buckle that mother f@*%#!!! car seat again. You’ve considered going rogue, moving to the Bahamas, starting over because this life just feels like too much handle.
That’s okay. You get to feel those things. You’re doing something very hard.
You wonder if you’re making good choices. Because sweet mother of Jesus, you have SO MANY CHOICES. Should you breastfeed? What foods should you feed these people you’ve been charged with keeping alive? Is red dye #40 really that bad? What happens if you homeschool? What happens if you don’t? Have you told them enough about Jesus? Have you told them too much about Jesus? What if they go to a sleepover and get hurt? But what if they don’t and struggle to fit in? Are straight-jackets legal?
And you know what? Every other mom I know, in some form or fashion, is feeling these same things too. Perhaps it’s because I will readily tell you what a train-wreck I am if prompted correctly, but I hear these confessions often. I’ve listened as so many of my dear mama friends have wondered aloud in hushed tones, ashamed, afraid they are not doing it right or aren’t cut out for the job.
But they are. And you are. So let the tension in your shoulders relax for a second as I say it again;
You are doing a really, really good job.
I recently went to Nashville for a week to stay with my cousin/sister/best friend/life-raft, Emily. She is the mom of two of my favorite beings (who if we’re being honest I should probably resent because I have to share her time with them, ugh but they’re just so cute); a new baby and a very (VERY) lively toddler. One afternoon Emily left to grocery shop, leaving me in charge. I assumed it wouldn’t be much work because I am evidently very naive. She left and the the baby soon started crying, followed by the newly potty trained toddler needing my assistance in the bathroom. I’ll be honest, if you were to simply tell me about this I would have thought it no big deal…but when it’s you doing the juggling every freaking thing changes. What do I do? Put the screaming little one down? Try to hold her and wipe this little bottom at the same time? Is that sanitary? What kind of crazy person would ever put me in charge of other humans?
It all worked out more or less – no permanent damage was done, but I’ll be honest, within the hour (ONE HOUR) I was frazzled.
Being a mom is hard. And that’s okay. The hardest things are usually the most worth it. But that doesn’t make them less hard.
I’d like to assume and reassure you it gets easier as your kids get older, but I’m not totally convinced that’s true. If you’ve moseyed around this blog enough, you’ll have read enough to know things in my world have been bit wild at times, I’ve made some bad choices and had to be carried through life more than once. And guess who did that for me? My mama.
Growing up, my mom modeled for me relentless, unconditional love, even when I was practically begging her to walk away. As I’ve gotten older she has become one of my best friends – she continues to fight for me, holding my hand when I need it most and pushing me to fly when I’m afraid to jump. But hear me; she’s not perfect, she’ll be the first to admit as much.
It’s a long held belief of mine that perfection is a lie and so you know what my dear, sweet, tired mama friends? You’re off the hook. You can make mistakes. You can stumble, cry and curse your way through this mothering thing, it seems to me the best ones do.
Lastly, on those days when it feels like too much, like you’re lost, alone and the only one who gets what you’re going through, call me. I can’t promise to get it or to know the answers to the 20 billion questions you’re facing, but I can promise to stumble, cry and curse right along with you…and if you want, I’ll bring wine and help you put the kids down early so we can drink it in peace.
p.s. If the day ever comes where I myself become a mom, please read this back to me and gently tell me to chill the f out.
4 thoughts on “Dear Mamas.”
I love this Rachel. So right on. I’m going to babysit my two grand kids for five(eek!) days! I think I’ll keep your words of wisdom handy. Yes, I did it many years ago, but I’m a heck of a lot older. I’m so excited though! ❤️
Oh man! I’d be nervous! But you know what? Some of my very favorite childhood memories are the ones in which I stayed with my grandparents! They are so lucky to have you. 🙂
Fantastic writing, Rachel. You are so, so talented. And strangely very experienced in this whole motherhood thing 😉
Thank you, Brittany! For all the kind words – and for recognizing my killer child-rearing skills. ha!