For parents of young children like me, the world can be a chaotic place. We contend with sleepless nights, an onslaught of dirty diapers, and daily grievances that never seem to end. The ongoing demands of the teeny tiny humans we love are enough to leave any new mom feeling completely obliterated.
In our moments of deepest struggle, it’s always great to have a seasoned parent who’s got your back. And thankfully, we don’t have to look very far. Babble contributor Chaunie Brusie has just entered the next phase of motherhood, and she wants us to know we’re doing an awesome job.
In a heartfelt Facebook post yesterday, the mom of four looks back on how much her kids have grown from babies to school-aged children. Since they’ve needed her for just about everything, Brusie is only beginning to accept that they no longer crawl around her house or require her constant care and supervision.
And in her nostalgic recollection of early motherhood, the writer realizes how truly difficult the journey has been.
“I look back at the way my life was, even two years ago, and I am genuinely amazed that I made it through. But the thing that really gets me is HOW HARD I WAS ON MYSELF. I was constantly feeling like I wasn’t doing enough,” she writes.
Despite working tirelessly to care for her little ones, provide for her family, and keep her home maintained, Brusie always felt pulled to do more and be more as a mom. The overwhelming worries of not being enough often left her feeling like a total failure. And since hindsight is usually 20/20 when it comes to parenting, the mom wasn’t able to understand just how much hardship she had endured until she passed through it.
Which is why she feels it’s vital to commend every single mother juggling the daily madness of raising small children.
“To all the moms who are out there right now, please believe me when I say you are doing incredible things. It’s not just you, it really is that hard,” she notes. “Wherever you are, mama, know that those of us on the other side see you and we’re cheering for you.”
It’s statements like this that keep me going as a mom.
Brusie was inspired to write her post after witnessing families at her local church struggle to make it through the service. As the mom sat with her four older children in peace, she watched on as the babies and toddlers in the room tested their weary parents’ patience. And in that instance, the mom felt a deep surge of compassion for those around her, along with her younger self.
“I had four kids in six years and the entire time I’ve been a parent, I’ve felt like I’ve been that always-stressed, always-struggling mom,” Brusie tells Babble. “To have that moment when all my kids were sitting there quietly and I wasn’t leaking milk or getting pooped on or struggling in any way … was so foreign. I realized how everything they say is true — it really does go by so fast, and there is a night-and-day difference from the ‘early’ years to even where I’m at now.”
While her children are still considered to be fairly young, ranging from 3 to 9 years old, Brusie is no longer at a point where her days feel like a nonstop battle. And a battle is the only way this mama can describe birthing her first child at the age of 22. As a young mom, she worked long night shifts as a nurse after even longer days caring for her babies. She grappled with undiagnosed PPD and utter exhaustion from zero downtime. She even courageously dealt with the trying complications of two postpartum hospitalizations.
And yet, the blogger still tore herself down with unkind thoughts, crippling self-doubt, and constant inner criticism.
“If I saw a mom now doing what I had done to myself, I would scoop her up and hug her and tell her she was doing an amazing job. Why didn’t I do that to myself?” she says.
Brusie hit a true breaking point after succumbing to the painful effects of fatigue and anxiety. She visited with her OBGYN, pouring her heart out to the doctor.
The doctor’s response took her by complete surprise.
“She very gently told me there was nothing physically wrong with me but that I was doing too much,” she explains. “She literally wrote out a prescription for ‘night off’ and I started sobbing right there in her office.”
It was then that Brusie realized she needed to give herself permission to slow down and let go of her unrealistic expectations of motherhood. And now, she’s hoping to help other parents let themselves off the hook as well. For anyone currently grappling with the early years of parenting, Brusie encourages them to embrace the day-to-day craziness and most importantly, trust that it all will get easier to manage.
“Moms, give yourself a break,” she says. “If you’re nursing, have a baby [or] toddler, or are pregnant, consider your life in ‘survival mode,’ and have no shame about that. I can tell you honestly, from the other side, that stage — even if it lasts 8 years like mine did — really is about survival, and your life will not always feel so overwhelming.”
As a mom of an almost 2-year old, this is exactly what I needed to hear, and I’m sure so many other new parents out there will agree.