Have you heard about the mom (Australian celebrity Rachael Finch) who sends her child to grandma’s house every weekend? Leaving your child with a trusted sitter for 36 hours straight while you have some down time by yourself or with your mate… Sign me up!
Or how about the latest with Canada’s Prime Minister’s wife (Sophie Grégoire Trudeau) who publicly stated she needed more help to fulfill her role? But she doesn’t hold an official title and is expected to perform duties of such an office while also making public appearances with her husband and taking care of their three young children.
If these women were “real moms” they would be available for their children’s every need, be able to perform well at their jobs (unofficial or not), and keep their marriages intact. The one caveat is that to have it all they must do it all by themselves.
Before we feed these women to the unrelenting “real parents,” let’s consider that maybe they are doing the best that they can. The hardest thing to do is let your children go when you love them but you have nothing left to give.
Disclaimer: This isn’t one of those “I wish you were still little” letters about my children. This isn’t a post that diminishes your role as a mother by giving everyone and his brother’s cousin a best-mom ribbon nor a it’s-not-that-bad patronizing pat on the back . This is to you–you, in the trenches.
What’s a mom to do when the stomp-stomp of little feet sounds like the drumbeat of war and the shriek of “mommy” is the battle cry?
I have an ugly confession… This Mother’s Day, in a culmination of stress and defeat, I cried out “Happy Mother’s Day?!? Uh, I hate being a mom!”
But I love my boys. They are why I stay a mom. It’s not all fields of wildflowers and inspired projects and mind-blowing successes at potty training and the letters of the alphabet (in order). It’s the “failing” part that I hate.
I am painfully aware of how much I struggle at liking being a mom because I fall so short of some unspoken June Cleaver code of forever calm in heels with a plate of warm cookies in hand. In many ways, motherhood has helped me to find and define my voice because I’ve had to fight for it. I have to fight the guilt when leaving them with a trusted sitter or even my stellar husband, their dad… the haze of another sleepless night, whether I was taking care of them or working to provide for them… the sadness that a friend has miscarried or is dealing with infertility (and shame that I am not grateful enough).
Struggle is struggle no matter the cause.
Instead of pouncing on perceived weakness of others to boost our sense of accomplishment, we women need to try a new tactic. Let’s throw out the comparing and belittling. Let’s be a safe place for the boundaries of sanity and breakdowns from stress.
This is to you moms who mother–and everything else–the best you can. To you who are there and stay and refuse to give up, even if you struggle or have help along the way. Me, too. You struggle through because you love them. And let me tell you: it’s OK.
It’s OK that you struggle.
It’s OK to admit it.
And it’s OK to have help.
Hang in there.