Happy Mother's Day, From one Exhausted Mother to Another
Mother's Day should be the happiest day of the year for a mom right? The holiday was created to celebrate mothers, to shower them with love and gratitude, to finally pay tribute to all the work we do. But this year, for me, Mother's Day came with a big,heaping serving of guilt. As a matter of fact, instead of anticipating the upcoming holiday, I felt like crying.
It all started when I read a post from a fellow mom on Facebook. She said her husband had offered to send her to a spa for Mother's Day and she told him no way. She wants to spend the day as a family, loving on her children, and having fun. She wouldn't dream of spending the day away from her kids. After all, they were her whole reason for celebrating! They made her a mom!
Leave me alone on Mother's Day
My mouth dropped in shock. I instantly felt horrible and ashamed. What was wrong with me? Spending the day as a family was the last thing I wanted for Mother's Day. I wanted to be left alone. I loved my children, all three of them, more than life itself. I loved being a mom. I loved my family and spending time with them. But honestly, what I wanted was a nice, long break. You see, as a mom, I was feeling completely burned out.
I wanted to go to the bathroom without a toddler next to me. I wanted to eat a complete meal while it was still hot with no one complaining and no food flying past my head. I wanted to sit and read a book, from cover to cover, something I hadn't done in 5+ years since my first was born. I wanted to watch a non-disney movie and eat a bowl of ice cream I didn't have to share. I wanted to remember who I was, away from them. I wanted to feel like a woman and not a mother. I wanted to, for one day, not be so overwhelmingly responsible for everything.
I wanted to breathe.
The guilt of thinking this way was overwhelming. A good mom wouldn't feel this way. They never ran out of energy or patience. They probably never wanted to leave their precious littles, for even an hour, not to mention an entire day. Why was I such a horrific failure of a Mother? Was I just not wired for motherhood? Was I missing some " mom" chromosome? Why was it that while others seemed to be thriving in this role, I always seemed to be drowning in it? Tears formed in my eyes as I realized what an epic failure of a mom I truly was. I felt so lost and so, very, alone.
Reality of being a mom
But sitting there, tears rolling down my face, it hit me, a revelation that had never occurred to me. What if I was not alone in feeling this way, I was just alone in admitting it? I was comparing my darkest moments with everyone else's highlights. It wasn't possible that I was the only mom who felt this way. But there is so much shame in admitting these things, in saying them out loud, that many are just too scared to admit it- maybe even to themselves. Could it be that other mothers were so busy appearing to be a perfect mom, that they couldn't admit that some moments are far from perfect. As a matter of fact, sometimes being a mom just. plain. Stinks.
Sometimes the baby has just thrown up on the last blanket in the house. Sometimes the doctor says that the test has revealed the worst. Sometimes the teacher calls and says your son is in trouble, again. Sometimes motherhood isn't the picture the hallmark cards paint for us. It is hard, and exhausting, and darn near impossible.
So today, mothers of the world, let me encourage you. If you today you feel overwhelmed by motherhood instead of fulfilled, I understand. If you are hiding in your bathroom to cry because someone just spilled the entire dinner you worked on all day on the floor, I get it. If you feel like you might explode if you hear one more scream, I've been there too. If you feel more like a vending machine than a person, I want to give you a hug. We all have. We are all in this together. Let's act like it! No more comparing, or shaming, or pretending to be perfect. There are no perfect parents, no perfect children, and no perfect homes. Get over it. Forgive yourself for falling short. We all do-daily.
Most of all, this Mother's Day, don't be ashamed to admit what you need. For some that may be a family trip to the zoo, others may want to go on a date, some, like me, might be dreaming of a day off to collect themselves. Whatever it may be, know one thing. You are still a great mom. You are no better or worse than any other mother. This is not a contest. It's a collaboration. You work hard, you love hard, and sometimes, you just might need to rest hard too. Happy Mother's Day!