Do you ever feel that you aren't good enough? That every other mother seems to have it all figured out but you? That everyone looks so put together and with it but you are just barely keeping your head above water?
Because I do.
I do a lot.
I feel that there is something I am missing when it comes to raising my kids, that the other moms know a secret and just aren't letting me in on it.
But we're all the same, in that way.
We are all just trying to keep afloat, some just manage better than others.
I am here to tell you that I suck sometimes. And my life, my life is so far from perfect. Or easy. That I struggle, just like you. That I feel guilt in giving my kids warmed up processed crap from the freezer or that the laundry is still sitting in the washing machine from two days ago.
You aren't the only one, friend. I promise you this.
Throw out the idea that we all have it together, but you. There is no having it together. Somedays, all you need to do is keep the kids alive and survive until bedtime. It's ok..really. I am telling you that somedays that is enough. And you are enough.
When the boys were little, I had dreams of how my days would go. Fun activities where they would learn about objects sinking or floating. Fun painting with forks or string. Those days, are so few and far between now. Those day, now, don't look anything like they did in my head.
Most days I am a full-time referee just trying to keep them from killing each other. But that is important too.
Making breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (no matter how) is important. Feeding them snacks and filling sippy cups is important. Rewashing a load of laundry for the third time doesn't make you a failure or a terrible mom. We all do our best with what we have, this whole measuring up is overrated.
Instead of comparing we should be complimenting. We are all in this together believe it or not. It's not about who throws the bigger, better birthday party with all the handmade decorations found on Pinterest. It's not about that. Because in the end, those parties with the decorations that took you three hours to make are not going to matter.
How do I know this? Because that was me, I wanted those parties. Was it for my kids? I thought so at the time, but really they don't care. They just wanted me. And Ryan and their family.
And cake. As long as there are cake and presents. They don't care about decorations that were hand made or store bought.
To them its about the moments. Kids are simple. It's adults who make it more complicated than it needs to be. We need to stop trying to compare our middle with someone else's beginning or end. We are all in different seasons of our lives. And it would be a very boring world if we did it all the same.
There are so many things that mom get criticized about. I never realized it until I became a mom myself.
When I was pregnant with Oliver, I felt prepared for motherhood, as prepared as I could have been, not ever actually being a mother before. The day he was born, I felt this overwhelming fear come over me, a fear that I had never felt before. I was responsible for him. He was mine, and I was there to protect him. The first moment, I found myself face to face with criticism was when I was asked how I was going to feed him.
I planned on nursing him, but as many mothers know planning on one thing and actually having it happen, successfully, are two different things.
I tried, believe me I tried. And I cried. And I bled. And we both got thrush that just refused to leave. The first two months of Oliver's life were chaos, for him and me. I knew in the back of my head that I needed to put him on formula. Pumping wasn't working, my boobs, they were defective and in my ear I heard every remark.
"Breast is best."
"I only want what is best for Oliver."
"You're not trying hard enough."
"It worked for me."
Those words stung. To a new mom who was scared and already felt like a failure.
It crushed me.
That was my first encounter with measuring up. Telling myself that I wasn't good enough. That other moms figured it out. Or stuck with it longer and didn't give up.
I eventually learned to say, "Screw them!" Yeah, maybe it was a four letter word that starts with F and rhymes with "duck" but you get the idea.
The guilt I felt for not being able to nurse Oliver was quickly replaced with fierceness that I had never felt before.
Letting the comments roll of your back. Not falling into the trap that is being set out for you. Not stooping to the level of others who play that game, intentionally or not - that is what its all about.
There will always be someone who thinks what you're doing is wrong or not right because they did it differently.
I'm here to tell you that I am on your side. Even if you are doing something different than me, I won't judge you. I won't make you feel small in this world of Motherhood. That's not what this is about.
I'm not going to start this out by saying, "six years ago I married my best friend...."
Although it is true, I'm not going for cheesy, I am going for real.
I married a man who leaves his dirty dishes in the sink, who listens to awful music, who takes out the trash and cleans the cat litter because he knows that I hate it. Who works hard for this family and likes (no loves) craft beer. Who is selfless and kind and would do anything for anyone without expecting something in return. Someone that I admire everyday.
He will tell you that I overreact and swear too much. He will tell you that I take forever to get ready and I am forgetful. He will tell you that sometimes, just sometimes I am a brat but he loves me anyway. That I love him and these two boys with a fierceness that was born the day our sweet children came into this world.
Our marriage has been an adventure, filled with joy and heartache. Yet, we've become stronger and more determined on making our family work. We aren't perfect, our marriage is a progress but I love him more today than I did six years ago.
Somedays are hard. Somedays are really hard and when you're in the thick of it its hard to determine which is real and what has been made up and all in your head.
Is it really this bad, or am I perceiving it to be this bad?
I've had those days, I have those days where I long for bedtime and it is only 9am. Where every ounce of my being is ready to cry and scream. Where all my feelings are right at the surface and I might just pop at any moment.
Somedays I wish I could just shut it off, not think so much. Not worry so much. Stop planning on what will happen in 10 years and just get through these next ten minutes.
I have all these expectations set for myself, as a person but mostly as a mom. And it seems lately I come up short. I envision these moments with the boys where we're all playing nicely and things are going smoothly. However in reality its messy.
LIFE IS MESSY.
Instead of laughs there are tears, instead of sweet words spoken there is yelling and fights.
We are so far from perfect. We are all a work in progress. Weaving our blanket with love and mistakes.
With I'm sorry and I forgive you.
It's funny when you ask for something, the universe gives it to you in a lesson. It doesn't just hand it over all easy and simple. It makes it hard and throws you right into the pit and makes you climb out.
That is what is happening to me right now. I have asked for more patience, pleaded to make it easy. Just hand it to me I have shouted, I will be so grateful and I'll never ask for anything again.
But the universe knows me, and knows what I need. I need to learn patience and the best way to learn it is to practice. This is where Oliver and Landon come in. This is why they were sent to me.
This is why they are mine.
I'm working on it, but some times by the end of the day, my cup is full and I am about to overflow. All the annoyances of the day come pouring out and I am right back where I started. Its not until the kids are asleep and I finally get a moment to think, that I feel guilty. That I feel horrible. That the self-loathing begins.
But it doesn't have to last forever. Its all a lesson in who we are and who we wish to become. So I sneak up into their rooms and whisper my love for them into the cool night air. I kiss their soft cheeks and promise that I will work harder tomorrow. For myself and for them.
It's not easy, but when the morning comes and they look at me with wonder and love
Now its been this way for awhile, not completely broken as in it doesn't work at all. Just kind of broken, like it doesn't clean anything. So you load it expecting it to maybe work and the dishes come out just as dirty as when they went in.
But its okay, because today I thought about perspective.
I stood at my sink while the boys played around me and it all came to me. That sometimes the easy way isn't always the best way. Sometimes slowing down, really is better.
I watched a bee flying around my spirea bushes. Going from flower to flower, just gently touching down. Soft enough not to disturb the purple wildflowers that are growing up between the bushes. I never even knew those purple flowers were there.
Have they been here this whole time and I just never noticed? Why didn't I notice?
I watched birds perched on the wire outside my window. Softly singing their song or warning each other that a storm is rolling in. I've never been a bird watcher, but I was content just standing there watching them at this moment.
I could see the neighbors vegetable garden, the one the kids planted themselves. Growing and thriving, drinking in all the water that has been rained down upon us these last few days.
The gray sky and how even though it was gloomy, I didn't feel sad. I didn't feel the need for sunshine today and how I was alright with the colorless sky.
I felt the water and decided that it was far too hot. That maybe we need to turn the hot water tank down and why I never thought of that before. What if one of the kids were to stick their hands under the faucet and the water was that hot?
I felt guilt for a moment, for not thinking of it sooner. But I let it go. I knew now and now I can do something about it.
The warm water, the slippery plates clinking around in our old, white, stained sink. I thought about how very blessed I am for the family that gathers at the table every night to eat the meals off these plates.
I thought about the laughs and the memories made at our table, the joy on the faces of these two children when their dad walks though the door. I thought about the meals and the moment. The happiness and even some tears.
Sure there are tears, but its okay. Because they don't last forever.
We hug and laugh about it and move on.
I don't miss my dishwasher as much as I thought I would. I will be happy when its fixed and I can mechanically load it full and shut the door and move on to the next thing on my forever long to do list.
But at this moment I was okay with stopping and taking in the beauty of the dirty dish water.