I watched an overwhelmed Mom the other day, wrangler her 2 toddlers in the midst of a busy business as they were screaming and fighting down the aisles. Another Mom near her leaned in to offer some advice “Enjoy them now while they are young, because one day you’ll miss the sound of their little voices”
The overwhelmed Mom’s face fell further as the cloak of guilt surrounded her spirit.
I can relate and recognize both sides of the coin. One where you don’t realize the simplistic beauty of a stage until the next one arrives. And another where the weight of it all is exhausting. You feel up to the very top of your head with frustration and responsibility. You can’t breathe.
Through the years, empathy and understanding have flooded my Mom-heart connecting to my own Mother’s-heart within wisdom of life experiences I’ve shared with her. Separate experience in different decades, hers in her time; and mine in my time. Like traversing the newborn stage while also chasing another toddler to trying to balance a career along with raising teens all while dealing with a loss of a former life and rebuilding.
What I’ve come to understand more than anything; Mom guilt is the root of shame among Mothers. It’s destructive and dark. There’s no growth that comes from shame.
The centre of a Mother is a woman who is doing her best with the tools she has.
She does not have to feel grateful for the temper tantrum simply because one day her hard work will pay off in the form of a well-adjusted former toddler turned beauty adult.
She is not required to appreciate the miracle of life when it’s within a teen who would rather slam a door on her face than say thank you for forcing an education upon them.
What that Mom needs now is the right to be authentic and real. Acknowledged within her fruition and exhaustion. She is not superhuman. She’s merely human and there are days she wants to run from it all. From the expectations to be happy and grateful within the stages of screaming toddler; to the teen who spews anger when held to responsibility.
She does not need an elder Mom to impress the next stage upon her already guilt-ridden spirit; because she’s not there yet! She doesn’t know it until she lives through it. Just as I didn’t understand what my Mom did for me when I was screaming in her face to leave me alone. It’s the cycle of life; life lessons come organically in the form of actually living the life.
And yet, as I type this…I feel the Mom-guilt creep in for all the children without Mothers and all the Mothers without children. Will this post be met with understanding as I intend it.
I’m writing this within the conviction that us Moms need a sisterhood of women to unite within understanding, compassion, and empathy. To acknowledge that Mothering is not for the faint of heart. It is thankless and crushing at times; and it is beautifully enriching at times. It can be filled with loss and anger one minute and yearning to be better and love deeper the next.
It’s Ok to take a trip away with your girlfriends. To sleep in when you can…nap it out. Take a walk alone or curl up with a good book in a hammock.
It’s not selfish to take care of your own needs along with those of your children.
There is no room for understanding and camaraderie when one Mom camp shames another for mothering in a different way.
This Mother’s Day I want to appreciate, acknowledge and applaud all those Moms who are trying their best. Who collapse at the end of the day on the couch with a glass of wine and some smutty reality TV on their PVR.
Those who stay home with their kids; and those who work full-time.
Those who stand in an aisle flanked by screaming toddlers giving into the chaos for a moment; and those who leave a full cart of groceries behind to carry their screaming toddler out.
Those who slip away for a break; only to realize they don’t really want a break; they just want the right to be their own person as well as a Mom. To have the freedom to feel the wide gamut of emotions that weave the canvas of Motherhood in all it’s successes and defeats.
It’s all OK.
Feel all the feels and then remember that through all the deep love you have for your family; you too are loved and appreciated.
Maybe not today.
Maybe on the day when your own once teen raises their own angry teens.
But certainly on more days than Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s day to all you Moms out there. Especially to my own Mom. I love you.
From my understanding Mom heart to yours,