WOW! Olivia received some beautiful and encouraging messages in response to her guest post “Maybe I’m Not Cut Out for This: Letter from a Weary Mom.” Since Mother’s Day is on Sunday in the U.S., I wanted to share these letters of hope and support with all moms. Happy Mother’s Day to all the weary moms out there! We love you, and we’re praying for you and for your kids! (There is an ADORABLE bonus video at the bottom of the post!)
Preschool Saved Me
I’m one of those “heroic moms” you speak of who has spent nights sleeping in my kid’s hospital room, been on a first-name basis with the residents and attending docs at the local pediatric ER, and who gave up their career to manage their kid’s therapies/services/benefits/doctor’s appointments and I should probably admit something:
I am far from heroic.
On the outside, I look absolutely amazing and like I am completely devoted to my kid. Inside, I am exhausted, at times resentful at the amount that has gotten put on my shoulders, and all I want to do is hide from the world if given the opportunity.
What saved me: my son starting preschool. It meant 3-5 hours 5-days a week where I could get caught up on housework, do paperwork, hit up Starbucks for a latté, or stare at a wall. I have many friends who homeschool and who would *NEVER* send their kids to preschool and I would just smile and nod while knowing that this was the best decision for me. I am a better mom when I can get a break every so often.
There is an analogy that many people use of being on an airplane and being told by the stewardess that you need to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting your kids. It also works with kids. You need to find a way to do what you need to do to survive so that you can be a mom.
If you live near family, see if your mom can give you a break for a couple hours per week and use that time to do what you need to do in order to relax. I find that it is so much easier to deal with my son’s care needs if I do get a break every so often. I also find that getting out of the house and going to the park or going to the mall is helpful, even just for an hour to get a break from being in the house.
If it is at all possible, find a mother’s group on Facebook or something where you can talk to other moms [Editor’s note: CDM’s Parenting Community]. I think you would find that you are far from the only one feeling like you aren’t cut out to be a mom. Parenthood is a definite change and having two kids so young is a double whammy.
You Will Leave the House Again One Day
I have 6 children ages 10, 8, 6, 5, 3 and 18 months. And I homeschool. So I spend all day every day home with all my kids. And I can say whole-heartedly it is definitely an adjustment. Now, it is true the adjustment is harder for some than others. It wasn’t easy for me. I’m an introvert and I don’t even get to use the bathroom alone. So the first thing I’d say is that you are not alone, not by a long shot. I would also say that this time… the season of multiple little ones without any older children to help is among the hardest seasons life has to offer.
One friend, a mom of 5, told me that that is when you are “in the trenches” and you really are in survival mode just trying to keep your sanity and everyone alive. I will say though that it DOES GET BETTER. They do get bigger and older and more able to do things for themselves.
You also get better and more confident. You will leave the house again one day. You will learn to savor showers but you will get them. And you will be better for it, even if you can’t see it yet.
In the meantime, try to find other local moms in a similar circumstances as you, whether from your church, a local group, or even online. Meeting, chatting with and supporting other moms can make an immense difference in your outlook, your support network, your resources, etc. I’m an introvert, so I use the internet a lot for this but I’ve also enjoyed becoming close to just a few families and scheduling play dates where the little ones play and I get adult conversation and there is no judgment either way about the state of the house or who has food stuck to their clothes because we are both in the same situation.
Just because you aren’t fluttering about the house cheerfully dusting in a frilly apron rejoicing in a very difficult season doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to be a mother. The very best mothers did not become so overnight and every one of them had to learn and to grow.
Hang in there… some growing seasons are more painful than others, but God knows what he is doing. God Bless.
Katherine in Wisconsin
The Thing That Keeps Me Going
I have to say that I have the same feelings as Olivia. I am a working mom who doesn’t get to spend too much time with her kids. But when I am home my kids want only me. So after a long day at work, instead of going home and resting, I go home to another full time job. I still cook, clean, help my older son with homework, give my two kids a bath, read to them and put them to bed.
It is exhausting but I am sure that it will pay off one day when they grow up and realize how much I love them. The biggest thing that keeps me going (and my biggest fear) is that when they grow up they will have their own life and I want to be a part of this life. I don’t want them to forget about me when they move out and be on their own.
I pray that God gives strength so I can continue this hard journey as I definitely can’t do this on my own, I feel like it’s beyond what a normal person can do.
Thanks for sharing this post; it made me feel that I am a normal mom :).
You Are Not A Maid
I wish this was over a cup of tea. I have a four month old, and I hear your grief. Motherhood has written its story on my life and body in ways I couldn’t imagine. But I can’t tell you to give in or stop hoping for happiness for yourself. It may not all be about you anymore but that doesn’t mean that none of it is.
And you deserve to live like a woman.
And you are not a maid.
Please don’t despair. Your feelings are neither selfish nor unnatural. You’re not alone.
You’re in the tunnel of parenthood right now, and the glimmer of light is almost non-existent.
But take heart! It does get better! I have five kids under 12 right now, and I think it’s easier to manage than it was when I only had two.
I Regret Not Carving Out Me Time
This brought me to tears (I am at Starbucks at lunch time).
I wish I could give Olivia a hug. I wish I could clap and cheer for her. Olivia said what I felt bringing up my own three with close to zero help.
Looking back, it should not be like this. I regret not carving out me time in the process.
I started doing this late in the motherhood game. You will be surprised how everyone is willing to give you space to do what you like if you just ask.
There is a solution, and it does not have to be this way.
Think of mom like a car. Where would the kids go if it is broken and out of gas?
My Hands Are Always Full
I do feel that motherhood is hard. I try my best all the time but it’s not enough, I am a stay at home mom with three beautiful boys. My hands are always full, but I try not to look at my parents and say how they did it because this generation is totally different and will always be.
Kids these days understand things sometimes more then adults, yes of course our parents might said the same thing. I just ask God to give me and every mom the patience to stay calm and deal with things better.
You Are Super Mom
Oh Olivia… you ARE a wonderful mother. I can tell because you’re acknowledging how hard it is. You speak of the need to give without getting, of putting their happiness before yours, of being tired, hurting, and sad.
My dear, for the mother of two (very) littles, it sounds like you ARE super mom. Those feelings are normal for a good mother, because good mothers give until it hurts. Good mothers give and work and love until every last ounce of strength is gone. Then, they use sheer willpower to make up the difference.
Olivia, you are incredible. And while it might be inconceivable to realize that at 2AM as you clean spit-up from the floor or change another mattress pad on account of a faulty diaper, know that THOSE MOMENTS are precisely the ones that make you the bastion of comfort, hope and joy of your children. It is in the mundane that they learn how all-encompassing your love is. They won’t realize that… not until they’ve had children of their own… but it is precisely those tiny acts of love (because it is love, even if your nose is wrinkled and your speech is grumbled) that nurture and care for them at their most vulnerable.
You are an incredible, wholly awe-inspiring mother. What’s more, you are still a talented, beautiful and capable young woman. Though it seems impossible right now, you will find some small bits of time for yourself where you catch glimpses of who you used to be. That person still exists within you… she’s just changed… grown to encompass more. Her heart is still just as capable of joy… her lungs just as hungry for laughter… her legs even stronger for dancing… and her ears probably even better suited for listening to the subtleties of music.
Olivia, you are wonderfully, fearsomely made and you have participated in the formation of two wholly new human beings. That is a life-altering process for sure, but it is a process that continues to change forever. This part? This part is incredibly hard for sure, but it’s only for now. Long days, my darling, and short, short years. Terribly short years. But that’s SO. HARD. to see when the days are SO. SO. LONG. I understand this well.
But I promise – as one bone-tired mother to another – that you are incredible and you ARE doing this whole thing right. To be a mother is to give until it hurts and then give some more because to be a mother is to love and to love is to give fully of one’s self.
And you, my sweet, sweet Olivia… it is painfully clear how much you’ve loved.
It will get better. I promise you. In the meantime, rest assured that though you can’t see it, we can. More importantly… THEY can. You are not just a good mother, you are the perfect mother for them just as your mother was for you.
You’ve got my love and prayers, now and always.
Gina of My Broken Fiat
The Pressures of Motherhood
Love this video from Bunmi Laditan! Soooo many quotable bits!!
“Yes, motherhood is all about sacrifice BUT–”
“I bought SO. MANY. CLOTH. DIAPERS. You guys don’t even know.”
“The only movement I’m in–I’m in the coffee movement.”
She talks about crumbs. She talks about formula. She talks about how we’re PEOPLE.
The only trouble with moms getting real like this is that non-moms think we regret becoming moms or that we don’t love our kids. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because we adore our children, we maintain our sanity. We blow off steam. We let the crazy out, so we can give them all the love and cuddles and snuggles they need to grow into incredible human beings. Hang out with like-minded people when you join the new Coptic Dad & Mom Parenting Community on Facebook.
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