Today I had the dreaded task of taking my daughter in for her booster shots. She has a major needle phobia (don’t we all to some degree), so I put off this task as long as I could.
As we were sitting in the waiting room a family of four joined us; a Mom, a Dad and their two gorgeous little boys who I would guess are 3 and 1.
My son, daughter, and I sat across from them. The baby boy was making flirty eyes at my kids, and smiling from ear to ear. He was so full of happy, in fact, he was 100% happy. . I immediately wanted to photograph him. 😉 My first thought was “This family is so blessed.”
As my family smiled and made scrunchy weird faces back at this adorable chunky-monkey baby boy, I noticed how Mom was completely wrapped up in stress. She didn’t notice her surroundings, she had checked out. She ignored her partner who commented under his breath that she had put their son’s shirt on backwards. She grunted back at him while playing with her iPhone. Their older son ran circles around them, 100% full of energy and she ignored each question he asked her. Between smiles directed at us, her chubby-cheeked baby smiled up at her while tightly grasping her hand. Both of their boys were well-behaved and full of life yet with each passing moment, the stress she clearly wore on her face and within her body language grew. She continued playing with her phone while letting out long breaths full of annoyance while balancing her happy baby on her knee. The health care nurse called out their son’s name and pronounced it wrong. The Mom looked to Dad and with anger in her voice, she corrected the pronunciation of his name, and barked at her son to come along as they followed the nurse.
Now I know what you *may* be thinking… Did I judge her for checking out when she was surrounded by what I perceived as an amazing life?
In fact, this is what I was thinking and if she wouldn’t have thought I was a complete nut bar I would have said it to her…
Dear Beautiful Mom:
I understand you.
I was you and I am you.
Your kids are young, and their needs overwhelm you.
You are trying to etch out moments for yourself in the midst of chaos which you are never fully prepared for with your first, and it continues to take you by surprise with the next.
You definitely have moments when the reality of your beautiful life bites you straight in your heart, but there are also many moments of stressful everyday life when you..
It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t do anything and everything for your kids.
You are simply over loaded with the demands of keeping a busy family together…so they are fed, well-behaved, clothed, loved, entertained, adjusted, and happy.
You are strong and the pressure to be that “perfect” mom weighs on your shoulders when you simply want to take a shower in peace and quiet. Or maybe even a bath.
You feel guilty at night after the kids are safely tucked away in the warmth of their beds, and you will remind yourself of all the things you’ve done wrong as a Mom.
You will promise yourself that tomorrow you will do better.
If it would make a difference to your life and lighten the load on your mind today, I would tell you that these kids will grow up too fast and you will forget how much they weighed at this very checkup you are at today. In the not-so-distant future you will close your eyes to try to conjure up a vivid memory of the very chubby baby smile that he is so freely giving away to my family now.
But I can’t tell you that now, because you won’t understand it until you go through it. Just as I too check out and will try so hard to remember this very stage that MY kids are in now. The way my daughter mispronounces words and gets her B’s and D’s mixed up when she’s reading. The way my middle son runs around the house in nothing but his tighty whities and a smile on Sunday mornings and plays with his lego on the stairs. The way my oldest son sits at the kitchen table just as I’m ready for bed and eats almost an entire box of cereal while talking to me between huge mouth fulls.
I do know this. The memories that I hold dearest to my heart and the ones that are the most vivid of my childhood with my Mom are good ones. I cherish all the good. I now know that aside from being my Mom she was also a woman with needs of her own, although with 6 girls there was little time for those needs. The years I remember her going to work at the business she developed from the ground up taught me to be independent. My Mom validated my dream of starting my business. She showed me by example that I could do it. All the responsibilities she dealt down to me and my sisters enabled us to be hard-working and responsible. For that, I am thankful.
Yes, I am thankful for the very things I’m sure my Mom harbours guilt over. I found value within her struggle and now as I try my very best to raise my own family…I realize that she simply did her best as a Mom to 6.
So yes, there are days when us Moms check out and lose sight of how truly blessed we are even when the world around us stares in awe of our little miracles. But there are also days when we understand more than anyone what it is to love someone so much that we would do anything for them and we do exactly that. We love, cherish, give, support, uplift, teach, learn, grow as they grow, and devote our lives to these little miracles.
To the Mom I saw today, there are no judgments here. I get you and I thank you for the reminder today because I too had checked out at that moment.
The role of Mom is hard enough, lets give one another the gift of understanding and support. Heres to you Moms.
You are simply amazing.
From my heart to yours,