Who really is the normal mom because we’ve all had those moments of feeling frazzled.
Maybe it’s because motherhood feels so often like this crazy journey of being one step behind all the time and the word frazzled seems to embody what it’s like some days. Oh yes, there are days that are amazing, peaceful, and simply normal, but there are also days when bedtime feels like an eternity away and that our to-do list could earn it’s own spot on wikipedia and when our best friend is the barista at Starbucks. (Wait, make friends with them…I did with mine and they’re awesome … love you, Nancy, Toni, and Lake.)
I’m writing to you, the mom that simply feels frazzled, if even for a moment in the middle of the day, because I want you to know that you’re not alone. I think it’s impossible to make it through this crazy journey of raising little humans to be independent adults and not have a moment or two or twenty or a hundred where one is feeling slightly overwhelmed and frazzled.
Frazzled isn’t bad, it’s just being honestly, well, part of normal. I mean look at the portrait my four year old drew of me. Crazy cool hair, running, eyes that have had their limit of coffee, and well, you got it – a mom.
Normal. Normal has amazing days where you feel like Kate Perry and want to roar. Normal has days where you want the gold star for simply making it to nap time. Normal is working, teaching, driving, cleaning, wiping noses, hanging clothes, and plowing through life. Normal for me is different from your normal which is different from your best friend’s normal which is just normal. Motherhood is this collection of cool stories of normal.
So I’m writing, to you, right now, the mom who answers to the what feels like 482 cries of mom – just in the morning. Alone. You’re the one who deals with debates over who gets the blue crayon, who helps find the missing shoe when you’re late, scours Target for Halloween clearance costumes at 90% off, who makes dinner that so often is met with yucks, who works hard, and goes to bed utterly exhausted, and well, sometimes you might be frazzled. Just a bit.
I wish I could give your fourteen steps to make you slow down, breathe, and release the frazzled feelings of motherhood. But, I can’t. Not unless we want to completely step away from the crazy and frantic world that we live in. Our world is a world of speed, changes, updates, and unbelievable expectations. Our world is full of news, ideas, things to do, things to not do, airbrushing, miracle cures, easy steps to success, projects, pins, status updates, and commercials that all compete for the definition of what is normal and what is expected.
I’m not sure where these expectations come from and how so often it’s easy to let all these external things that shout at the definition of motherhood success define motherhood. There is no manual for being the perfect mom – there is no grading system for moms – and yet, yet so often I think you and I live in this world where we feel that motherhood is measured and graded. There is no grading of motherhood.
There is just real life.
Real stories. Real moms. Real normals.
There is the real life that involves sick kids (oh, how I despise cold and flu season. Now is the time that I want to buy the big vat of hand sanitizer and bathe my kids in it daily). Real life that involves dishwashers that break, cars that need brakes, seasonal clothes that need to be switched, runny noses that need to be wiped, toys to be sorted, bills to be paid, and all of that stuff that is so so normal.
And there’s you. In the midst of it all, feeling frazzled and tired and sometimes a bit overwhelmed with this mothering journey. It’s easy to think that there’s this ideal – this supermom – that is attainable if only we would just do this or organize this way or make this cool project or have our kids in these classes and all of that. Those are just externals. They don’t qualify or grade motherhood.
Sometimes motherhood is just hard frazzled feeling days.
Yet, we love our kids. We love those kids that keep us up at night, the ones we rock to sleep, the ones who decide that they aren’t going to pick up the toys and we sit in the room and negotiate with them for way too long, the ones who think we’re dumb, the ones who dump out the toys that we just put away.
Real motherhood is an exercise in bravery. In Starbucks latte loving. In patience, problem solving, and loving another person who drives you a bit crazy at times. It’s in remembering that the other moms at preschool, pta, co-op, grocery store, and everyone who looks like they have it all together still have to go home and deal with the mom stuff that can make us all feel frazzled.
So, to you, today, I want you to remember a couple things. First, you might not hear the words thank you or you’re amazing or you’re the best mom ever or I appreciate all you do for a very very long time. Just because you don’t hear them doesn’t mean you don’t matter. In fact, I’m telling them to you right now.
Thank you for getting up in the middle of the night even when you’re exhausted and just want to pull the covers over your head. Thank you for helping with long division. Thank you for making oatmeal in the morning and scrubbing bowls with dried oatmeal on them that should have been rinsed immediately. Thank you for pulling out the mittens, hats, and snowpants and then spending ten minutes getting little ones ready to go outside who only play for eight minutes. Thank you for the countless visits to the doctor’s office and holding puke buckets and taking temperatures and holding little ones who don’t feel well. Thank you for helping with homework, folding socks, making dinners, and driving everywhere even without the taxi sign on your car.
Thank you, sometimes feeling frazzled mom, for all you do. For being a mom. For living in a world that so quickly wants to grade you on hypothetical externals that don’t really matter. That stuff doesn’t matter. You and your kids matter. That’s the important.
Not because of all of these ideas of mom success but simply because you are enough.
You, when you love your kids and keep trying and keep loving and remember grace and to laugh and simply being a mom is what truly makes a difference. It’s the life difference.
So dear frazzled mom, today, today pull that frazzled hair into a pony tail, and keep being awesome.
That’s exactly what you are.
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