It was a typical school morning. I bark at kids to get dressed, pack their snack, put on a coat. They ask for their favorite radio station and when it’s all talk, we skim through until we land on Nelson’s I’m the One Who Wants to Be With You and I jam out while I explain that this was mommy’s favorite song when I was about Jack’s age. I get blank stares. We scroll again and land on Turning Japanese and now they really think I’m crazy.
We pull into school and inch through the carpool line, I wave at a familiar mom here and there. Most faces I don’t know or can’t see as they pass. But there’s one face in particular that catches my eye. A mom I kind of recognize, but it’s too fleeting to be sure. She’s wiping her nose and looks like she’s crying her eyes out. Maybe she just has a bad cold, I don’t know. But it tugs at my heart and makes me stop in my tracks.
Momming is hard. I know its not a real word, but to me it is one of the most important. Momming is constant. Momming is exhausting and frightening and joyous and beautiful all at the same time. It’s keeping up with 800 schedules and activities and feeding them and shopping for them and cleaning and hugging and kissing goodnight and the occasional if not daily butt wiping.
And oooooh sweet Christmas time. It’s constantly reminding our littles of the real meaning of the holidays when all they see is you running around like a crazy person. It’s pretending to be a magical elf and a man in red and then dealing with the guilt of the huge lie of it all. It’s becoming a professional shopper and gift wrapper and cookie maker and special ops gift hider (special thanks to Amazon for spoiling a few surprises already. Ok so maybe it was my fault and I’m just bitter I have to figure out another Santa gift. Whatever. Why can’t it just be about baby Jesus?!? Ok sorry, rant over.).
Last night for me, it was trying to make dinner while my daughter hugs my leg crying and screaming because her friend can’t play and I’m worried because she is reacting as though her pet has just died and I have to just stop what I’m doing and hold her because she can’t stop being sad. Then I stay up late reading up on childhood anxiety and worrying and studying and figuring out how to help her and how to calm my frustrated, discouraged momma heart.
It may be dropping off a child who cries every morning because she doesn’t like school because of a bully. Maybe your child is the bully and you pray that you don’t get that conduct report or the call or the meeting with the principal and your heart aches every day trying to figure out why your child’s pain is making them hurt others. Maybe it’s 22 degrees outside and your son refuses to wear pants and you just don’t want to fight it anymore and you tell him fine, but you’re gonna get pneumonia like last year. Maybe your child has a severe allergy and you fear that this will be the day that the epi-pen has to be used. Maybe you’re a mom of a special needs child and you just wish that someone knew the level of selflessness and strength it takes every minute of every day.
Momming is all the worries and all the responsibilities and trying to have a marriage and a personal life and a career and a clean-ish house and shower on top of it all.
Hold up- don’t think I’m all boo-hooing or regretting this Mom gig. Momming is often my favorite thing ever. Momming is hugs and home-made cards and watching your child play and laugh and open gifts and the overwhelming favorite of watching them sleep. It’s watching their first steps and their last day of Kindergarten and their first date and their last time on Santa’s lap. It’s knowing that despite the times they act like they hate you, you really are their biggest hero.
I know many dear friends out there that hope with their whole hearts that they will be momming some day. They pray for the chance to one day be called “mom”. They wonder if there’s something wrong with them because it just doesn’t seem to be happening. They cringe when they get asked about it over and over, they fight confusing emotions when close friends and family start momming without them. I’m sure they wish people like me would stop complaining that being a mom is so hard when it’s the thing they wish for the most.
Despite the craziness and chaos, I truly am grateful. I wouldn’t trade this role in life for anything. But we all see life from different perspectives, and when you’re in it, when you’re steeped in your day to day, before you know it, you’re overwhelmed, and you just wonder if anyone else can relate. You just want to align your heart with someone else’s in those moments.
To the mom crying in carpool…I see you.
I don’t know what your morning was like. What every day is like for you. But your worries, your pain, your precious momma heart isn’t alone. I see you. Don’t feel guilt that because you drive a nice car and have your kids in private school you aren’t allowed to feel pain. That your pain is any less that anyone else’s. You are seen and loved all the same.
Pain is pain is pain.
If you’re momming today and wondering if you can survive another second of crushing pressure to do all the things and be all the things and worrying about your littles, find a minute to be still today. Make some space, even if it’s for five minutes, take some deep breaths of fresh, life-giving oxygen, and just receive the fact that you are amazingly loved and enough. Really sit and let it soak in. Even if no one’s told you for as long as you can remember, receive it and believe it.
There’s no medal for momming. There’s no parade for you at the end of everyday or a thank you card or even a paycheck.
But I see you. We see each other. We’ve got this.
You’re a good mom. Even if no one tells you that today or this week or this month or this year. Even if you forget you child’s lunch or their jacket or their pants. You love them with your whole momma heart and love is just about the best thing you can give.
While you’re running around today doing all your momming stuff (and the other 4 million things you have to do), stop and recognize your momming medal. Sure, it’s not really there, but it is. Feel it’s heavy weight, the thickness of the shiny gold. Maybe your medal has diamonds sprinkled in, or rubies, or whatever! Make it your own. Feel the satin ribbon around your neck, securing your precious award. Imagine what’s engraved on it…Worlds Best Mom. Enough. Loved. Thank you. Makes Mac and Cheese Like a Champ.
Walk out into your day with your head high and your shoulders back. Know that your medal shines for all to see. Put it on everyday, wear it proudly, engrave the words on your heart. Don’t feel silly about it for a second, because you deserve that medal. I mean, you might as well come home to a parade too…so go ahead and imagine that confetti flying and crowd cheering as you walk in the door. Celebrate that you killed another day of momming.
Step on over those Cheerios on the floor and know that your medal sparkles as bright as the sun.