By Danielle Gambino
I see you. Pulling into the parking lot. Your auto doorway sways open. You are 2 minutes behind schedule. Not a big deal. Still on time. But 2 minutes behind the time you wanted to get there. Feeling like you can’t ever just get it right anymore. You open the back door to survey the damage. The injury done so quickly on a 5-minute vehicle ride. Granola bar wrappers tossed onto the floor. Milk from a shaken sippy cup splattered on the back of the passenger seat. The doll that you searched for while your toddler had a meltdown at the front doorway has now been abandoned. Pushed under the seat surrounded by stale cheerios.
I catch your eye and wave. You rapidly pull the sunglasses over your eyes. You didn’t want anyone to see the circles under your eyes. From yet another sleepless night full of teething babies and toddler night terrors. I was told you apologize for not having any makeup on. Struggling with the newborn carrier while the others argue from inside the back seat. You scoop up the newborn. Run your fingers through her hair in a hasty effort to comb it. I know the look on your face. As you mentally punish yourself for not grabbing that prow off of the counter as you raced out the door. You are joined by the others and I watch as you corral them through the parking lot. I see you taking deep breaths as one reachings to pick a flower while the other looks to step fearlessly off of the kerb without speaking.
It is not even 9 a. m. and you have let them win. Your eyes are emotionless. You are just going through the movements. Survival mode. I know what you are thinking. Just get me through this day. Just get me through this morning. Just get me through this preschool dropoff. You promise yourself a naptime treat. A journey through the Starbucks drive-thru. A slice of leftover birthday cake. It’s well deserved, right? How is it possible that every other mom has gotten out of yoga gasps. Wearing mascara? Talking merrily on their cell phone while their freshly scrubbed infants hold hands crossing the street.
I know you feel like you are always one step behind. That if there was just an extra hour. Or even an extra minute. The amount of things that could be done in that time would be tremendous. Every second of your day has a purpose. Each one is carefully schemed out. Your entire day has been accounted for before your foot even made the floor in the morning. And you are simply depleted. How is it possible to get ahead when you always feel behind? So you struggle. Day in and day out. You turn on autopilot. Scramble eggs. Brush teeth. Tie shoes. Simply keep moving. Surviving. Hoping along the way to avoid any possible meltdown and tantrums.
I’ve been there. Honestly, I’m there a lot. I know the feeling of defeat all too well. I have felt its black cloud surround me before I even had a chance to drink my coffee. Leaving the promise of a day that I will be wishing away before it barely started.
You are not alone.
Being the mom of young kids can feel like the loneliest task in the world. But you are not alone. And you are an amazing mom. I wish you could see the “you” that others ensure. Watching you expertly unloading 3 kids from the car in under a minute. Speaking sternly to one child about not staying with the group while instinctively your hand grazes the shoulder of another stimulating sure they don’t take that step off of the curb.
You can do this. I know that because I watch you do it. Everyone watches you do it. And you do it well. So well. And you are winning. Every single night when those little limbs wrap around your neck with their slobbery good night kisses. You are winning. When your sassy 4-year-old says she doesn’t need a bedtime story but then detects herself in your limbs in the middle of the night whispering that you are her best friend. You are winning. When the newborn wakes up with teething pains for the 5th night in the row and you sit quietly in the shake chair humming her back to sleep. You are winning.
You often get kicked down. You have felt exhaustion that you didn’t think was possible. Nothing ever seems to pan out the route it did in your grand schemes. But you are winning. Take a good look around. You are doing everything right. You may feel defeated, as we all have. But “youre not”. Snuggle those babies and gear up for tomorrow. I can’t promise it will get any easier. But I can assure you that you are not alone. And when you look into the eyes of your beautiful infants simply recollect, you are winning.
Feel free to share this post with a momma that might need some words of encouragement.
** This post seemed originally on Mini’s Mama blog .