On Tuesday I cried for I don’t know what reason why.
Well, I busted the keyboard on the netbook computer that I saved up to buy my kids for Christmas. I mean, it’s a thing, yes, but I had saved and saved and saved and this was a huge thing for me to get for them and in one swoop I broke the “p” key.
Insert crying. Over an object with the word Asus on the back and sticky keys on the front.
And yet, yet at the heart it was not tears over the object. It was a deeper percolating to the surface bubbling over type of trying to keep it together and having that moment when it boiled over.
It’s not the spilled milk we cry about or the broken “p” on a keyboard or the fact that the cereal spilled all over the floor or the crayon melted in the dryer or that we’re late picking up our kids. It’s not that you can’t find the homework sheet or that your to-do list from last week is still looming and it’s Thursday or that you’re simply super tired because you were up with your five year old who had bad dreams.
It’s just part of being a human.
I cried because I honestly, in that moment, felt like I just couldn’t get ahead. Well, that and sometimes life, or motherhood, has that feeling of pressure like my tea pot and it builds up and up and up until it whistles so loudly that it cannot be contained.
And on that Tuesday it wasn’t even really about the getting ahead. It was more tears falling from my cheeks because all of this mothering and working and giving and late nights felt lost. Like I was working working working and giving giving giving and yet I still found myself treading water and wanting to hear how much what I was doing mattered but was instead met with deafening silence (minus the two stir crazy and inside bound kids because it is too cold here in Minnesota who were fighting over the tablet and Minecraft turns) and broken things and a never ending to-do list that seemed to multiply exponentially faster than I could check anything off.
So on that afternoon I found myself alone sitting in the kitchen with the January sun shining through the windows giving an illusion of warmth greater than the -10 outside while tears filled those weary eyes.
I’m tired. I’m sorry. I’ll do better. I should have known to not do that. I don’t measure up. What were you thinking? How come you can’t finish that? I screwed up.
That was the constant barrage of thoughts racing through my brain telling me to stare in the face at every single thing that I thought I messed up. I didn’t get enough work done. I busted the keyboard. I let my emotions run with me and then ended up with a messy tear stained worn out mothering face.
But that’s real.
It’s real to have nights where the kids don’t go to bed. I don’t care what other people tell you and if their kids never leave their rooms or any of that. The truth is that sometimes kids don’t go to bed and you will find yourself standing outside a room negotiating with a five year old and wanting to simply throw your hands in the air in frustration. Over bedtime. Which, when I was a child told my parents I would never love, but now can hardly wait for the moment when my pony-tail -less head hits my pillow.
But again, it’s not the bedtime that pushes us to our limits. Or that pesky “p” key. It’s the fact that sometimes life, even in the wonderful moments, can be wearing. It is wearing to deal with constant cold and to have to find gloves in the morning and to seek out hats and to say come on come on let’s get going so that you’re not late. It’s wearing to do the same thing over and over rinse and repeat rinse and repeat and to have moments where we feel like it’s not really making a difference. It’s in those times that the perspective is clouded with emotion and we forget the awesome beauty in what we’re doing.
At the heart of it I believe we all want to know that we matter.
We all want to wake up in the morning and know that when we deal with the same cycle of motherhood and life and work again and again and again that at the heart all the monotony and trials and joys of the every day will make a difference and matters.
That’s why tears fall sometimes.
Even though at the heart we all know, you know, I know, that this motherhood journey is a crazy awesome giving of self and raising of a child, there are moments where honestly we forget and let the exasperation of the moment settle in. There is no shame in having moments where the tears fall and talking about it. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that I am weak – it just means that at the heart we’re real and can admit that sometimes finding joy or happiness is more work. And it doesn’t mean that we’re not good moms either. Honestly, let’s talk about that. If we expect that we have to keep it together perfectly all the time and that every moment needs to be savored and don’t give ourselves grace then we become like that tea pot building up with pressure and expectations.
Grace, moms, grace.
For all of us real moms who have moments where we cry over spilled milk and broken “p” keys and wish for more sleep. It doesn’t take away the beauty and impact we’re having, but honestly, in those moments where we’re pushed against the wall – those are the moments where we learn about our strength and how much we do matter.
Do you know why you matter?
Not for being perfect or never making a mistake or for keeping the house immaculate or volunteering like crazy or for having kids that never misbehave or for looking like you’re 30 when you’re 40. No. You matter because you love those kids in your home. You matter because you are important. Yes, you. You the person, the mom with dreams and hopes and fears and times she falls.
I am not ashamed to admit I sat in my kitchen and cried. Crying allowed my soul to breathe just a bit and allowed the expectations that I box myself into so tightly to loosen.
I do my best. I worry about money, being a good mom, and making a difference. And I’m not perfect.
You do your best too. That’s what I love about this page – it’s about talking about the hard stuff but never ever sitting there and deciding it is what it is. It is in dialoguing about it and not judging each other and then gathering up all of that resolve and pushing each other forward one step after another after another believing that we all make a difference.
When you walk by the mirror in your home today I want you to stop and look at you.
I want you to stop and instead of seeing every flaw or being reminded of everything that you didn’t do or judge yourself for the puffy eyes because you had a moment of tears I want you to instead smile. Yes, smile. Force it, make it happen, but let yourself smile. Because the person that you are smiling at is an amazing, beautiful, wonderful, imperfect, and yet giving of self person.
Don’t discount you. Or your impact. Or think that tears falling is a sign of weakness.
Sometimes the greatest strength comes from the moments where one stumbles.
Because then we rise up, start again, and press on.
And that? That is what moms do.
That is you.
And you matter.
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