The other day I sat on the floor and had a little cry. I was in my toddler’s room looking at the piles of laundry to be put away, and the diapers that needed folding and stuffing, and thinking about how much there was to do throughout the rest of the house that would never get done because there are just not enough hours in the day. When you are gone ten hours a day at work, have kids who want your attention constantly, and the chores just keep piling up, sometimes you just feel lost. You feel overwhelmed, you feel alone, you feel like a failure.
I felt like a failure.
I have a house full of kids and a husband who works just as hard as I do. But I still felt like I was failing.
I’m supposed to have a spotless house with all the laundry put away, dishes off the counter, three square meals a day, and toys picked up off the floor at the end of the day. I’m supposed measure up to what everyone else’s idea of a home looks like.
I’m supposed to be the one raising my kids, not letting someone else do it for me nine hours a day. What if they are having more fun than if I were there with them? What if someone else knows my kids better than I do? What if I miss the first steps, the first words, the first fall off a bike because they were going just a little too fast down the hill?
I’m supposed to put my kids first, not my career. What if I am ruining my kids by working out of the home?
When you live in a day in age where Pinterest tells us there are 101 Easy Slow Cooker Meals (insert guilt for the grilled cheese sandwiches two times this week), and 25 Cleaning Hacks using only Vinegar so we don’t have to use chemicals (more guilt for the old bottles of harsh cleaners still below the sink that no longer get used), and 15 Easy Crafts you can do with your kids this summer — how are you as a mom not supposed to harbor some sort of guilt that you are not doing enough?
When Facebook status updates show all of our friends taking amazing trips with their kids; to the beach, or Disney, or camping for a week, and you are just wondering how to find time to get to the park a couple times a week — it eats at you.
We live in a world with so many choices. All these options can make our heads spin and make us feel like a failure if we don’t make the right choice, or don’t live up to the false expectations presented on social media. We start to question every decision we make and become frozen in fear and indecision. Should I vaccinate or not, should I get my kids into piano lessons and four different sports, should I make sure they are learning at least two languages and do I need to keep up with their studies over the summer, should I breastfeed or bottle feed? Even when you know you are making the right choice for you and your family, you can still feel like a failure when you see that post on Facebook about how little Johnny just won two awards at his six-year-old clarinet concert and little Suzie just took her first steps at 7 months of age. There is this type of parenting method and that type of parenting method, and your marriage is only great if you do this twice a month. There are so many choices that I could keep going on and on, but you would probably lose interest and stop reading at some point.
Then there is our family and our unique way of doing things.
The truth is that that day I took my moment of overwhelming emotion. My bad day. Or just a bad moment. And then I moved on.
The chores and the messy house will always be there, but the kids won’t. So the piles of laundry will likely never all be put away, at least not all at the same time, the clean dishes drying on the counter will probably stay there until the next time we use them, there will be toys lying around the living at the end of the day because I’m just too tired to pick them up. But I know, I know in my heart that even though my kids are watched by someone else during the day I am the one they are excited to see at the end of the day.
I am the one they run to and scream “MOM” excitedly to when I get home from work and walk through the door. I am the one who takes them to the park even though it means we will be up just a little past bedtime. I am the one my one-year-old wants to cuddle with on the couch. I am the one my six-year-old daughter wants to lay down with at night because she really just didn’t get enough mom time that evening. I am the one my eight-year-old son isn’t afraid to express his emotions to when he is upset, or scared, or excited, or happy.
Even though I work outside the home I know that at the end of the day our family is happy together.
After my cry, I felt better. Feeling isn’t a bad thing. We weren’t designed to hold everything in and be without emotions. I let those feelings wash over me and let the emotions out and then I felt better. So I picked myself up, finished putting those few pieces of clothes away and started dinner. I read books to the kids, apologized to them for being crabby earlier after having a long day at work, we played a little, I said goodnight to each child and layed in bed with my daughter until she fell asleep.
I do feel some guilt for not being able to keep my cool with them every day; when they are bickering so much I’m ready to pull my hair out, or testing their individuality by pushing back when I ask them to do something. Then I realized there is not ever one Facebook post or Pinterest Pin out there that says 21 Ways To Be A Perfect Mother.
You know why?
Because deep down we all know that there are those moments when we all feel overwhelmed and frustrated. We all want to just sit and have a good cry and be told you’ll be okay and you will get through this and that you matter.
Motherhood is not about being perfect.
It is about moving on from those moments of guilt and insecurity. Even if it means locking yourself in your room for a few minutes just to gain some sanity and then coming out and telling your kids I love you, so so much, and sometimes moms get tired but I will still always love you. I know, because I’ve done that.
I realized that it’s okay to be overwhelmed or feel like a failure sometimes, and that it’s okay to let my kids see me cry. To show emotion. To be mom is to be human, not superhuman, just human.
It’s okay to be real. Even if we have to sift through the barrage of social media expectations and get past the idea that if we never did one more thing on any of our Pinterest boards we’d still be good enough. We’d still be an awesome mom.
Motherhood is about looking at the mom working next to you, or down the street staying home with her kids, or at the park, and knowing she has broken moments too, but you can be there to encourage her to keep going.
It is about being strong for your family and knowing that sometimes raising kids isn’t always sunshine and roses, but we can be there for each other as mothers and fathers to encourage one another, to raise each other up instead of cut each other down, to enjoy this journey through parenthood no matter what path it takes us on.
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This is my first in a series of posts with Similac and their Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Find Similac on Facebook and YouTube.