This morning after I dropped my kids off at school I drove home, pulled into my driveway and just sat in my van staring out the window wondering what in the world was going on in my life.
I feel like I’m a good mom.
Most of the times.
And yet, yet I’m kind of the freaking stressed out mom too. The mom who gets ticked off when she finds empty Capri-Sun containers stuffed behind clothes in the closet. Like I’m not going to find that. They should know better because even though I’m the stressed mom I’m also the neat mom and I find things.
I think sometimes I just want my kids to appreciate me because I am running around like a chicken without a head trying to keep my head above water for them.
And somehow, somehow seeing the wrappers or complaining that I can’t get braces soon enough or not liking dinner or telling me I’m the worst because I made them do homework before playing the kindle or any of that makes me feel most under appreciated. You know, we wake up before the sun even hits the horizon and our feet hit the ground and if you’re like me you have coffee brewing as you’re packing lunches as you’re bringing the garbage out and it’s just insanely busy and sometimes the most unrewarding thing.
I think I became negative. Maybe even toxic a bit.
It’s almost as if feeling lost in motherhood and life started to chip away at me and my spirit and then seeing those Capri-Sun Lemonade containers was the last straw.
Does not one of you care that I work to buy these and then you sneak them and hide them? Am I nothing to all of you?
Yeah. I said that.
And then walked into my room because of a silver juice pouch, turned on Hulu, and cried.
I know I was like this to my mom so I’m not sure why it comes as such a surprise that my kids are normal learning the limits and me needing to guide them kids. But maybe the surprise is how deeply I allow normal motherhood life to dictate my feelings of worth and appreciation.
Sometimes I wish I could just get a way to go Rachel cheer. Filled with ridiculous things like I see that you’ve kept the kitchen island clean for three full days. Did you hear that people? Three days! And the kids? Dressed with hair combed and on time for school with the planners signed. Your living room is perfect. Way to go with the throw pillows being on the couch. And those lunches — way to exceed expectations and include a note. And weren’t you the best mom making a special trip to pick up RingPops for the kids as a treat?
(And yeah, I know that RingPops are candy. And I know there are better things. And I know that oh whatever – you know – I also know that childhood is short and a RingPop somedays at school is what makes childhood magical.)
But motherhood is often thankless adventure in being enough and no one seeming to notice.
Our kids probably won’t care that we straightened their drawer of teeshirts and folded them nicely. They won’t care about the favorite dinners made or that their rooms were vacuumed. They don’t see the cleaned up living room and the socks found under the couch. They might hate us in moments and love us and need us later. It’s just part of motherhood.
So as I sat there with tears dripping from my eyes this morning I realized that I had a whole bunch of build up. Build up of anger and disappointment and sadness and feeling like I wasn’t enough. Everything I seemed to do seemed to fall short of everyone else’s expectations. It felt like the bar was super high and I was forgotten. Like I was stressed out and failing even though I gave and gave and gave.
Somehow the perfect not feeling like I was enough part crept in again to my heart. I spent so much time trying to give myself a good grade and allowing other people’s grades stick on my heart that I gradually spiraled into this angsty coil of emotions. I had to stop. I had to regroup. I had to remember the truth.
I’m a good mom. A good person. Good.
Not all the other stuff that I was feeling and carrying.
So I want you to stop. To stop right now and to look at what you’re telling yourself about you.
Are you telling yourself good? Giving yourself the cheer that I wished for?
Or are you allowing the places where it seems like you’re not enough or where you stumbled or where you fell short in the eyes of others define your today? And if so, I want you to stop and to replace them with truth. The truth about how much you matter and how you are enough and how you are worth happy. Not living a life riddled with toxicity, but rather a life where you can drive home from school and feel good.
Notice I didn’t say not tired. Because motherhood is tiring.
But rather good.
And good means feeling fulfilled and finding yourself and knowing that you make a difference despite what you may feel or others tell you or what it seems. Because life is never about having the shelves all dusted and the clothes all folded and the kids always perfect and us having it all together. Life, in it’s crazy mystery of nuances and good days and bad days and trying days is really really about the relationships and the heart and the giving of self.
And sometimes, if you’re like me, you can get lost. You can lose direction and allow the empty spaces in your heart to fill with fallacies about self. And those lies about not being enough or doing enough or measuring up enough or all of that can begin to weigh down our spirits.
So today is a day of dumping out the lies and replacing them with truth. Filling the worries with joys and the doubts with reminders of all you’ve accomplished.
Because when you and I rock on our rocking chairs someday I won’t be looking at your life or my life looking at the moments where we stumbled. Instead I will see the bravery and the warrior of a woman who fought despite being weary and gave despite feeling unappreciated and loved in the moments where she felt like she had nothing left to give.
That, my friends, is a mother.
That is a good stressed failing giving yet enough mom.
Not perfect, but enough.
And that’s why I believe in you.