Dear Son #1, #2, & #3,
Last week you found Mommy sitting on the floor in the kitchen crying. Not silent, trying-to-hide tears either. Mommy was full on ugly crying. Red face, sweaty and lots of snot. While there’s absolutely nothing shameful in Mommy having a good cry on the not-at-all-clean kitchen floor on a Tuesday morning, you boys took charge. You checked multiple times that I didn’t fall, stroked my head, brought me some toys and some Kleenex. Albeit you blew your noses in the Kleenexes first but that just adds more love. Finally, you kept asking me what was wrong and while I kept telling you that nothing is wrong and Mommy was just having a bad day, I wasn’t honest with you and I feel that I should be now.
Yes, yes after I get you a snack. Good grief.
Sometimes being a Mom is hard and overwhelming. It’s thankless and monotonous. It’s messy and bad smelling. It’s lonely and exhausting. And in this letter, I’m going to introduce you to two things:
Mom guilt (the evil and all-consuming) and balance (the deeply coveted yet unattainable).
What is Mom guilt? I’m so glad you asked. It’s the most illogical yet all-consuming guilt known to man. It’s guilt about not doing enough, doing too much, working, not working, disciplining, not disciplining, worrying too much, not worrying enough, participating enough, participating too much, taking time for ourselves, not enough time for our kids, oh the list is really never ending. But the worst of all…Guilt about complaining about it. No one wants to complain about it because we all love our beautiful little blessings to the ends of the earth and back.
And don’t even get me started about the guilt of showing any type of negative emotion in front of kids, like crying on the kitchen floor – that’s padded wall territory right there.
What is balance? I have absolutely no idea because I, for one, have never experienced it. From what I’ve heard it’s a ridiculous concept where you have to juggle housework, money-making work, cooking, yardwork, schoolwork, relationships and the emotional/physical well-being and teaching of miniature human beings. While looking great and feeling amazing. So many people regard Moms as the “Balance Queens” because we seem to just “have it all together”. And get comments like “You’re a superwoman” or “You can have it all!”. I have news for you boys, we can’t do it all. Nevertheless, there is some insane worldly presumption that we can; when really, we’re just franticly juggling way too many balls and hoping for the best. But we drop a lot.
And most of the time we look like Cruella de Vil (in that scene near the end where she’s chasing the puppies) not Mary Poppins (in every damn scene).
And this, my lovelies, is why you found me sprawled on the floor amongst the crushed Cheerios and hardened oatmeal – I really need to clean this floor. And you handled it perfectly; with both kindness and empathy. And at that moment I felt a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, I’m doing this Mom-thing right. Sort of.
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