This year, as Mother’s Day approaches, I am a little emotional as I think about my son and how everyday with him truly means so much to me. He was the first to call me mom, and now I get to happily celebrate this amazing day like I have always dreamed of doing. I never really understood how special this day was to a mother, until becoming one myself. The name “mom” doesn’t come easy to many. To the women who struggle with infertility, adoption, miscarriage, stillborn or the loss of a child; this day is for you as well. You are a mother, too. So today, I wanted to share a little letter to all moms because lets me honest, motherhood is the toughest job anyone will ever have. New, seasoned and struggling. I want to encourage you to fully appreciate the phase of motherhood you’re in right now.
We survived the miscarriage phase. The sadness and stress. The never ending feeling of guilt and nights spent awake wondering what went wrong. The feeling of thinking I wasn’t good enough to become a mother. The hurtful inconsiderate words people speak but thought were helpful. The anger I experienced when someone announced another pregnancy. The pit in my stomach every time I thought about my loss. As much as I struggled, I appreciate this time in my life. It taught me so much about myself, my marriage and the people I wanted to surround myself with. I’ve always been open and honest about my experience and that helped me coup. I still get messages thanking me for sharing my story and how my experience has given others hope and comfort. If this is you right now, remember this is a phase. A unfair and hurtful phase. My heart is breaking for you, and I know the pain that accompanies you. Try and find light in this difficult situation. Turn your hurt and pain into positive energy to help and comfort others who are experiencing the same. Do something for yourself. You won’t ever regret self care. And please know, you are enough and you are an amazing human even if no one has told you this lately.
We survived the mother of a newborn phase. The physical postpartum discomfort. The overwhelming emotional struggles. The hours and hours of rocking, swaying and shushing to sleep only to have the dog bark and start back at square one again. The nights with two hours of broken sleep. The days you have to be reminded to shower, eat or brush your teeth. The spot light as people stare at you when your baby is fussing in the middle of a store and nothing will soothe them. The feeling of being under appreciated to someone who needs every ounce of your attention. The days where you accomplish absolutely nothing other then having a fed and changed baby. The nights when you’ve realized you haven’t eaten a single thing all day. I have a soft spot in my heart for moms with newborns. I notice how tired you are, and how hard you are trying. I was there, not to long ago. When you have absolutely no idea what you are doing, but are learning and trying your bed each day. I know your doing everything you can to soothe your fussy baby while you’re trying to unload the bottom of your stroller that you packed 2 weeks worth of groceries into. Let’s be real, I’m sure every mom reading this, had been there. I’m not staring, I’m genuinely remembering what it felt like to be in your shoes a few months ago. Chances are, I’ll offer to help. I cussed under the breath at all the people who never offered to help me. The days are long and hard. Your body is healing and the hormones are constantly changing. These days are a some of the toughest of your life. If this is you right now, remember this is just a phase. A tiring and emotional phase. Soon you will look back, and miss these days. You’ll probably chuckle and wonder how you made it through because those were some crazy days. That’s what me and my husband do. As much as you are struggling, soak up all these moments. I’m serious. Enjoy your cold cup of six hour old coffee, your week of unwashed hair, sitting in a chair with a nursing pillow around your waist for hours on end and the sweet newborn cuddling your chest. And please know, you are enough and you are doing an amazing job even if no one has told you this lately.
We’re in the stay at home mom phase. The feelings of not doing enough find their way into my mind often. I have spent a lot of time focusing on finding the perfect balance. Nap time is when I get things done. Whether its folding laundry, preparing dinner, editing photos or simply showering and doing my makeup — this is my time. It is important to continue to do things for yourself. I hope if you’re in this phase now, that you’ll take the time to allow yourself a few minutes a day to do what you love, too. I found it is the one thing that keeps me balanced. I’ve realized that a sink full of dishes can wait. A pile of laundry won’t hurt anyone. If I want to lay on the couch and watch a movie instead of vacuum the house while the baby is napping, there is nothing wrong with that. I work hard and have an exhausting job. I used to apologize profusely to my husband as if I was doing something wrong. He has never been upset when these things aren’t done, but I felt I needed to have all these things accomplished since I was at home all day. It took me awhile to realize that I am important too. It’s easy to feel as if you’ve lost a piece of your identity in motherhood. I just keep reminding myself that I am enough and I am doing an amazing job even if I don’t have the most productive day.
Time is fleeting. Slow down and enjoy the moment of happiness, frustration, laughter and tears. Take pictures and lots of them (I live very seriously by this if you haven’t noticed…haha). Memories fade, but pictures will last a lifetime. Sleepless nights are temporary, coffee can help mask the exhaustion. It really does get better, or your just used to the lack of sleep. A house full of laughter really is the best cure for anything, but all days can’t be happiness and laughter. Enjoy the tears and crying too, it is growth. A messy house never hurt anyone, children are only young for so long. Changing diapers and crying can be overwhelming, but one day those babies will be able to say thank you and every doubt of being appreciated will wash away in that single moment. One day, you’ll look back and miss this. Every. Single. Phase. Happy. Sad. Easy. Challenging. You’ll miss them all.
I hope you feel so loved and celebrated this Mother’s Day wholeheartedly, no matter where you are in this journey called motherhood. Whether you’re battling heartbreak every time you take a pregnancy test, being that perfect match on an adoption list, never having the chance to meet your baby, the pain of not knowing that was the last time you’d hold your child, the feeling of a newborn who needs every ounce of your attention, the exhaustion of chasing your baby who just learned to walk, the sassy toddler who throws temper tantrums in the middle of the grocery store, the teenager who keeps you up all night because they continue to miss their curfew or the child who is now old enough to look after you. Whatever phase you are in, know you are doing the best you can. You are enough. You are loved, appreciated and special to so many. Motherhood is a lonely and challenging journey on the best of days. Motherhood is a thankless, never ending job. It is the most rewarding but always under appreciated. Motherhood is putting yourself last, and someone else first. You open up your heart and receive so much unconditional love every day. You may not know it, feel it or think it, but you have someone who admires and loves you more then anyone else in the whole entire world. Every trial and tribulation strengthens you for the next phase you are about to enter.
Here’s to all the mothers in all the different phases of motherhood. You deserve to know how amazing you are today, and everyday.