to the worn out mom

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It seems that many of my friends (and myself) are in a season of being a mother to very young children and in the midst of the constant exhaustion that can come with it.

I can feel your tired bones.

And how I hope you know that you are no where near alone in your struggles.

I know what its like when you completely lose it toward your child and then wonder who this crazy person you have become is.

I have thought, “I was never like this before I had a kid!” and again, “I was never like this when I only had one kid!”

When night after night you are up again and again and during the day you never seem to catch up and no one seems to really understand because you want to seem as normal as possible when you are actually around other adults, so how can they really anyway?  There may be no real help and you go about your day alone with your babes just trying to make it to nap time.

I know mothers with more children to tend to than I have or with children who need specialized and constant attention and care.  Mothers who struggle with hard medical and financial decisions on top of the tiredness, who are emotionally and physically drained.  Mothers who may have these little ones during hard circumstances beyond their control and are just barely hanging on themselves and they question how can I ever do or be enough?

Even though our individual circumstances and struggles vary, they all can wear us thin at times.

It’s easy to compare ourselves to other moms, thinking we are better off or worse than them and can even become envious of those in a different stage of parenthood, trying to just get through to when things will finally be easier.

But every stage of life has its challenges.  Some times, things will be too hard for us.

Yet, isn’t it when things are hard that we become stronger?  When you break down your muscle, it rebuilds stronger than before and over time becomes more and more defined.  It’s not always easy or fun.  So it is with motherhood.

I love the honesty and beauty of what my sister-in-law posted on facebook yesterday,

“Taking care of another human is so emotionally draining and I have never been a “worse person” in all my life.   But after I swore it all off and I came back down to earth I told my mom, “I guess I just need to die a little more.”  And I will die for my children… Because I wouldn’t want to live any other way.”

Being a mom means making sacrifices, even if we feel like we might lose ourselves.

So what do we do?  Just accept our fate as going crazy for a few years and hope our kids and ourselves come out okay on the other end?  What can we do for ourselves and for the worn out moms around us to not just survive (although, some times that is all we can do) but rather embrace this season, which we are told so often will be over before we know it?  

Let’s start by really listening and not immediately spouting out advice, by offering help in even simple ways and being okay with it if they don’t want it, and sharing both our struggles and our victories without belittling them or putting ourselves or anyone else on a pedestal.  

Let’s celebrate together and encourage each other and fully give and receive grace.  

Let’s simplify and be present and think about what is really important, because maybe some things aren’t as big of a sacrifice as we thought in the first place.  

Let’s stop spending so much energy comparing our struggles and successes with someone else’s and trying to validate our own.

Let’s realize that its OK to cry out and raise our fists and pound our pillows and say, “I just can’t do this anymore!”

Because we just might feel that way some times.

But then we calm down and help each other remember

that there is this little, special and amazing life we get to see change and grow and just be every day.  There are the smiles and giggles and first words and slow steps and sweet hugs and soft kisses and  triumphs big and small mixed in with the tantrums, the sleepless nights, the parenting “failures”, the cuts and bruises, and the countless diapers and clothes you have changed that day.

And there is you.

Displaying your love for your child through those dark circles around your eyes and the food smashed on your clothing and in your hair, by putting some of your dreams and pursuits on hold, in your anxiety and prayers over your child and your specific circumstances, and by getting up once more to take care of your babes in the middle of the night when all you want in that moment is just 10 minutes of uninterrupted sleep and you are so frustrated you cry as you rock your little one.

You are mom and the love you show for your child may go unseen and misunderstood and unappreciated by many, but no one can replace you or the child who is helping shape who you are to become.

-b.e.

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