to the mom always a step behind

That’s me.

That’s my always feeling overwhelmed step behind motherhood journey. Always always playing catch-up. Always running. Always denying sleep. Always giving. Always feeling as if I could just get one step ahead I wouldn’t feel so behind.

I look at the kids I love, the ones I’ve birthed and I wonder if I’ve let them down. I wonder what they will remember. If they will remember their momma always out of breath and running. If they’ll remember the times the dishes teetered and towered in the kitchen or when we rummaged through the dryer looking for socks for the day. I wonder if they’ll remember all the times I was short with them before school and how I would get so irritated they couldn’t remember 7×6. I wonder if they’ll be mad at me for the divorce.

I wonder. I worry.

And then in the worry I feel like I get another step behind.

So I push harder. Running running running. Never seeming to catch up. My email dings, my phone rings, the mailbox overflows. The backpacks come home bursting with papers and volunteer times. Are you coming mommy? they wonder. Yet, there I am, despite feeling behind, sitting there frozen, as I wonder how I will make it through that day.

A step behind.

I just want to get ahead. To get to that place where my lungs don’t burn with exhaustion and I breathe.

What’s for dinner? I don’t like that. He took me tablet. Is it my turn on the computer? Where is my green shirt?

And I just want to breathe.

Running running running.

How can this be motherhood? How can I never ever seem to catch my breath?

And yet, nights come and go and with it mornings. The kids grow, the questions change, the dishes stay. The bills change, the mail includes college applications, the pacifiers disappear. And there I am, still mothering, still a step behind.

Stop, stop.

That’s what I realize.

Maybe this motherhood crazy race never means being ahead. Maybe it has moments of sprinting and winning and many many many times of stumbling and falling. And a whole bunch of times sitting down tying shoes and standing up again. What if the dishes were a sign of progress, not failing. What if the slammed doors meant we were winning, not losing? What if all the tears shed were tears of love, not messing up?

What if the step behind was simply okay?

What if it was actually important? What if motherhood wasn’t a race to catch one’s breath, but a race to live? What if the step behind meant we were winning? We were living? We had today?

In the midst of sleepless nights and teacher conferences and hard stuff and wonderful moments and birthday parties and glitter and streamers and sending them off to college.

It’s all of that, sweet always feeling a step behind mom.

It is all of that.

I know you want to step ahead. To breathe. To catch up.

Catching up might not ever happen. But motherhood happens.

It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to have those moments of overwhelm. It’s okay to say to your friends this is so freaking hard. It’s okay to just want to sleep. It’s okay to just be you.

When you say it’s okay, you can breathe again. When you can breathe again you can run. And you can realize that you are never ever ever a step behind. Can you do that? Breathe? Just for a moment and see the dishes and notes and crazy as not being a step behind but of being you, the mom? Of you trying? Of you giving?

You can do this. You can love you. You can be okay with you.

You know why?

You are exactly where you should be.



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