I See You, Mama

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Hey there, mama.

How’s it going?

Tired, huh?

Same, sister, same.

You know, you can just be that –– flipping tired –– right? You don’t have to be exhausted, but elated. Or sleepless, but smitten with your kid. You can just be tired. We already know you love your babies. You don’t have to buffer your thoughts with such sentiments. Because sometimes there is no amount of sweet smiles that can wipe away the frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed.

That’s OK.

For some reason, we feel the need to always put on brave faces, but the truth is we are humans too. Sure, we will show up for our babies on the hardest of days and we are happy to welcome the smell of their delicious skin curled up next to us in lieu of a solid shower.

We know that about you because we are those mamas too.

So you don’t have to bookend your irritation or fatigue with “but I love them so much, so it’s worth it.” Truth? It’s not always worth it. Sometimes we love our babies so hard that we forget to love ourselves too. Or we think asking for help gives way to our weaknesses as their parents.

Not true.

In fact, this is where I have to step in and say: Please, sister, ask for help. Please in whatever way that looks like to you, whether it is napping instead of doing the dishes (and your partner does them later) or coming home from work and walking right past everyone to slip into a bath. Ask friends, neighbors, and family members you trust to give you a small bit of time to yourself while they take care of your little ones. Sometimes motherhood leads us toward the inclination that we must be everything to our children. We must never miss a thing. We must superhero our way through everything in order to prove that we can mom with the best of them.

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But I have news for you: There is no such thing. 

In fact, it’s those convictions that drive some of the most vulnerable of us to a place where asking for help begins to feel like an impossible notion. Where stress leads us to resentment and anger. A place where depression and anxiety leave us wondering if we can make it another day. Where we feel like the darkness might just wholly consume us.

And here's the other thing: Even if you do nap, even if you drop your child off at daycare, even if you take the time for a manicure, you will still be EVERYTHING to your child. Because your child's love and adoration isn't contingent upon your 24/7 presence. It is based upon the way you run your fingers through his hair before bed, the way you greet him with outstretched arms, the way you look at her like she is the best thing you have ever seen on this entire planet.

I’m telling you this because I can’t stand the idea that you might suffer instead of finding a home amongst so very many women who can tell you, “I’ve been there.” Or “me too!” I’m telling you this in case you feel ashamed by your feelings or like someone will judge you for not always having all of the answers or all of the love or all of the everything.

Motherhood –– parenthood –– is so fucking hard. We stick with it, yes, because, God, those gorgeous faces. But we travel through it so much easier when we do it with our helpers, our people by our sides.

You are not a superhero and you will never be (I know, I know –– I’m sorry). But the best part about that is that none of us are. And when one of us is down, we can discover our strength again within one another.

Because while it might not give us the ability to fly or scale buildings, it makes us a sisterhood. And that’s a magical force I will believe in forever.