Last night, about ten minutes before 6, I hit the wall. I was tired, the kids were tired, and things were beginning to slip and slide downhill. No one’s attitude was very good and I was struggling to find the energy for the final push until bedtime. Looking for a little support, I sent out the following tweet:
I sent the tweet because Twitter is my one-stop-shop for mommy support. Anytime of night or day, I can get on Twitter, type out my feelings, and one of my followers – most of them moms of young children too – will give me the “Amen!” I need to to know I’m not alone. And this time was no different. I got a couple funny responses from sympathetic moms that made me smile in a moment when I really needed it. Then I got a response with the tiresome advice to enjoy my kids while they’re little because it all goes by so fast.
What I read in that response was “Your feelings don’t really matter. Squash them and replace them with something more appropriate.”
I think all of us mothers of babies and young kids know viscerally that we’re in a unique phase of life. There are a finite number of days when our children will look at us with wide eyes and tuck their little hands into ours as they take their first steps through life. This is a singular moment. It is breathtaking. Not a day goes by that I don’t experience at least one blast of unspeakable joy that I get to share this time with these two amazing little people who are somehow, miraculously, my own children. I appreciate my children in a way that can’t be fully explained except in a knowing nod from another parent.
I don’t reach out during those moments, though, because I don’t need support to get through them.
At the time I sent that tweet, I had been with one or both of my kids for 12 hours and had another two or three more hours of full-on mommy-ing before they went to bed. I don’t care who you are, I defy you to be able to say you could maintain an unflinchingly joyful outlook about ANYTHING for 15 straight hours. Nothing is perfect for that much time. Eventually, there will be fatigue or impatience or hunger or something to derail you and you’ll crave a break. Like I tweeted, you’ll want at least 20 minutes to take care of a couple physical needs quietly. And that need for a breather, that desire to recenter for a moment is entirely legitimate. Everyone needs a break. Wanting a break, verbalizing – or tweeting – that desire is not a mark of not appreciating my kids. It’s just human.
Being a mom really is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I love my children and the way they shape my world. But being a mother is also an endurance event, requiring tremendous mental and physical resources. Sometimes, those resource dry up for a bit. When that happens, to me or any mother, do us a favor and acknowledge the legitimacy of our feelings. Don’t guilt trip us for experiencing the full range of human emotions.
Photo credit: Photo stock
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