“I’m fine. Everything’s fine.” Do you often find yourself uttering those four words before someone even finishes asking, “How are you?” Lately, it feels as though those words just spill out, unconsciously, without any true meaning behind them. Am I fine? Well, that is open for interpretation. Motherhood is hard and I am here to tell you that it is perfectly fine to admit that. Say it. Yell it. Scream it. Shout it for all to hear. I’ll shout it with you. MOTHERHOOD IS HARD!
The other day, I felt as though I were going to have a mental breakdown. I walked into Target to purchase a Magic Eraser and left feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. It was just another Monday, one where per usual, I was rushing through my lunch hour to run the pesky errands I had forgotten to do on the weekend; because really, what working mother can get her to-do-list completed in two days? Not this mom.
As soon as I picked up that red basket, wiped off the grey handle with the blue sanitizing wipe, my mind started whirling. Magic Erasers and paper towels. Did I make that doctor’s appointment for myself? When was the last time I went to the dentist? Teacher’s appreciation gifts and toilet paper. Did I send that email? There I was standing in the middle of the clothing section of Target when the overwhelming wave of all my obligations came crashing down and I could not handle it.
In that moment I couldn’t distinguish whether I was going to be sick from how quickly I swallowed my lunch (A great perk of having a million things to do on your lunch break) or if I was truly having a nervous break. I couldn’t vomit in Target, could I? Would I ever be able to show my face in there again? So, I stopped, counted to ten and took a deep breath. I dropped that red basket, sprinted out the automatic doors, and walked into the sunshine.
That five minute drive back to work felt like an eternity. Was I going to have to pull over to puke on the side of the road? Why was my head pounding? Did I drink any water today? I pulled into the first parking spot available. I closed my eyes, counted to ten, and took a deep breath. I-needed-a-break.
You see, I’m not sharing this story because I want sympathy (Though maybe a full-body massage wouldn’t’ hurt?). I am sharing because I want every mother and mother-to-be reading this to know that it is okay to feel overwhelmed. It is okay to feel like you want to run-away. It is okay to feel like you aren’t doing anything right (I am certain you are!). Most importantly, it is okay to want and need a break. What is not okay, is not listening to your inner voice; you know, that voice that is telling you to slow-it-down; because believe me, MOTHERHOOD IS HARD.
That incident at Target could very well have been caused by my lack of hydration. However, for the first time in almost four years of becoming a mother, I chose to listen to that inner voice, the one I’ve tried to silence on multiple occasions. The voice that has fought so desperately to be heard. You know, the one that says, “Momma, you need a break, you need to go home.”
On that day, instead of muting that voice that is so easily ignored by us mothers, I listened and went home. I didn’t pick the kids up early, I didn’t start dinner, and I didn’t fold the laundry that sat coldly in the basket. I took a shower, laid on my unmade bed, and closed my eyes.
Motherhood is hard, I know. The to-do-list is never-ending, everyone needs something, and you constantly feel as though you are being pulled in multiple directions. The other day I heard something that went along the lines of this, “If you want to feel at peace you must be comfortable in your chaos.” I haven’t gotten to that point, at least not yet. And, if you are feeling overwhelmed, know that you are not alone.
The next time you ask a mom how she is doing and she quickly spits out, “I’m fine. Everything’s fine” dig deeper. Everything may very well not be fine. She may be one meltdown away from pulling her hair out. Buy her a cup of coffee, ask questions, and listen; you may be that voice she is looking for. You know that saying, “It take a village to raise a child”, well, it takes a village to sustain a mother. Be part of that village.
I am here to tell you that it is okay to ask for help. If you are given that luxury, take it. I am here to tell you that it is okay to set the ever growing list of things to do aside; it will still be there when you return. I am here to tell you that you have earned the right to say that everything’s not fine, motherhood is hard, but tomorrow is a new day. Close your eyes, count to ten, and take a deep breath, you are going to be fine, mom.