I can’t do it anymore.
The words spilled out of my mouth and tumbled into the room as the tears rolled down my face. This motherhood race – the race filled with expectations, things to do, projects, places to be, kids to raise, meals to cook, work to complete, relationships to deal with, rooms to clean – it all simply felt like too much. My hands felt like they were working to keep seven hundred billion plates spinning around and around and now I was being thrown one hundred billion more. I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t keep all those plates spinning or that I really didn’t care about some of them.
It’s a world of measured up expectations – be this, do this, don’t do this, let go of this, make sure your kids are like this. It hurts my head sometimes, honestly. What happened to the mornings of simply waking up and gathering your kids in your arms and loving them? Now every single thing feels like it has to be the amazing over the top documented perfect thing. Well, maybe not everything, but most things.
I can’t be supermom.
You can’t be supermom.
But we can be real.
You and I can look at all the things that we think we’re being told to do – all those spinning plates – and we can decide to let some of those plates go crashing down. They can spin out of our reach and then those plates – those worries – they so quickly become evidence of worries that don’t need to bog down our mothering heart.
I couldn’t do it because I thought that I needed to keep it all together all the time.
And sometimes, sometimes in life, sometimes it means letting go of some of the expectations that we put on ourselves. Oh those expectations – those times where it’s hard to open the door and say that we would love a bit of help. Or to admit that we really don’t know what to do with the three year old that won’t potty train and ignore the fact that everyone else’s child had it down by the time they were two. Or that your kids played poptropica too long on the computer but you needed just a moment of quiet.
Measured up motherhood.
Those things don’t define us.
You know what I mean. I know you do. Deep down there’s the anxiety that motherhood is this measured up way to define success. Motherhood shouldn’t be measured by how many plates we can keep spinning – that results in a mom out of breath exhausted. So many of you are exhausted. You are racing from thing to thing. You are wondering if all of this every day normal stuff matters. You are comparing. You are worrying. You are alone. You are trying to give even though you are exhausted. You are. You are. You are.
You are mother.
Lets measure that for a while. Not based on the externals that you do, but on the little things – those little things matter moments.
You are the perfect answer for the skinned knee. You know which child loves his pbj cut into triangles and which loves the squares. You know how to look them in the eye and tell them you love them. You know how to roll yourself out of bed in the morning even though you’re exhausted. You can split the last of the cereal in equal ways. You can find the missing soccer shoe in thirty two seconds. You can discern between cries between the I’m irritated cry and the brother took my toy cry and the I fell down and hurt my knee cry. You can answer to the words mom fifty two times in what feels like fifty two seconds.
But most importantly, you love, even if you don’t have everything perfect.
Lives are messy.
My life? Messy. Your life? More than likely a bit messy.
Messy doesn’t mean not beautiful. Messy doesn’t mean that what you’re doing doesn’t matter. Messy doesn’t mean that you don’t have it all together.
In fact, messy is often the most beautiful things in life. It’s the areas in life where you can discover just how much what you do matters and what is important. It’s the moments in life that someday you will look back at and celebrate. It’s the times when you mumbled the I can’t do it anymore words just like I did and instead found the courage and bravery to do it.
You can do it.
I can do it.
Measured up motherhood is about us being the best moms that you and I can be right now. In this moment. And maybe it means our kids birthday parties are bought with the clearance stuff at Target even though you have a whole board of crazy birthday ideas on Pinterest. And maybe that means that instead of worrying about whether everything is absolutely perfect you are simply real. You.
Motherhood is an amazing journey of self discovery. You find where you’re weak and you really find out where you are strong. You are strong. You are powerful. You are brave.
And you have the courage to move forward.
Let some of the plates go.
Motherhood measured up defined.
It’s not about keeping everything perfect. It’s about you. Trying. Loving. Celebrating little things. Celebrating big things. Being brave. Not being afraid of measuring up. Being real. Being you. Being a mom.
You can be brave.
You can do it.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
All photographs used by permission and credited to Hannah Nicole.
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.