The sun rises, it’s another day and I’m exhausted.
Yesterday was a bad day, so at this point, the idea of this new day ahead is hopeful. Another chance to get it right.
I snooze my alarm 6 times, in hope that it will freeze time and I can steal a couple of hours before dragging my ‘not much of a morning person’ body out of bed.
It’s all a rush, the amount of things to do in one morning, repeating the routine every day to a 5 and almost 8 year old seems unnecessary, but trust me, it happens. Every. Morning.
We head out of the house on our way to school, usually pushing it to the last minute, half meditating my way through the traffic, trying to cope with the fact that this asshole that cut in front of me is forcing me to use bad language in front of my kids. And now I have to put pepper in my mouth.
I go home and do the daily chores, and look again, it’s time to fetch the kids from school. Never mind that leaving the school to come back home feels like I’m trying to get out of the Cape Town Stadium after a Justin Bieber concert. Who said being a stay at home mom is all roses? Right?
At this point, I know what you are thinking, that being a mom, especially the stay at home kind, is a blessing. I have been the full time working mom, so believe me when I tell you, I count my blessings. But a little inside info: being a mom comes with a little privilege of being allowed to complain about your children and how much you sacrifice for them no matter where you are and what you are doing with your life. Zero judgement should be rewarded here.
Okay where were we? Lunch is served, and its go time. There’s homework, breaking up fights, repeating myself 432 times, cleaning up spills, trying to keep them active, they break the TV throwing a toy at each other (Yes, this actually happened) then there’s crazy hour. Enough said.
There are times I just lose it. I shout. I roll my eyes. I reach level 999999999 irritation, because, it just gets too much sometimes. I swear, sometimes when I take the broom out to start sweeping the house to find an escape from the chaos, I look up and suddenly my kids start to look like piñata’s.
Eventually I get them to bed, and I realise a whole day has gone by and I feel like a terrible mother. For not being able to control my kids, for giving up, for shouting, for asking them to leave me alone for 5 minutes just so I can breathe.
There may be a moment in a day like this where I am feeling all positive, so I head over to the internet, and search for things like “How can I stop yelling at my kids”, or “why is my kid an asshole sometimes” and I get all the answers and its overwhelming and my head is spinning, the anxiety is kicking in because I am already planning how tomorrow will be better, but secretly know that it’s not because they will spill their juice again, and I will have to break up another fight. I am aware that I need to try something different, to break routine, so I download the newest reward charts and activity lists for the kids to keep them busy. I stumble across an article that talks about how what you are allowing your kids to do is not approved by Oprah. Great, now I feel judged by Oprah. Now I am questioning the decisions I am making for my kids, and I don’t know what the hell I am doing anymore. Back to the drawing board.
Yeah, its MUCH. (yes I purposefully left out the word “too” much. It’s all in emphasizing)
Insert GUILT: The ‘Mom’ kind.
Most times the good days outweigh the bad, but there are days when you just feel you didn’t do your best as a mom. And it is so easy to get sucked into doing what is expected of you. It is so hard to accept and not feel guilty when you are lying in bed re-visiting the events of the day in your head. The decisions you have made, the choice of words, the reactions and responses.
And you tell yourself, tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be easier. I am going to be a better mom. I am going to do more and be more present. Gosh I have written a blog post like this in past where I have said I will do better. And years down the line, I am still feeling like I am supposed to be doing better at this momming thing. You know, I’m expected to be momming HARD by now.
So how do we fix it?
Darling, you can’t. You will spend your whole life as a mom trying to figure it out. And every day you will achieve small wins, so focus on celebrating those small victories instead of wondering how to fix the next crappy challenge. At times you are tired, moody, irritated, or feeling like you don’t exist if you’re not a mom. Damn straight you are allowed to be and feel all of those things.
But for the sake of your sanity, I want to tell you to stop focusing so much on what society expects you to do and be, your kids deserve a happy mom, and if that means that you need to do what makes you feel safe in your moment of fear or uncertainty, even if it means hiding in your room for 5 minutes to calm down and clear your head so you can be the calm in the chaos for them in the moments that follow, crying to let out your emotions, voicing how it makes you feel. Do what you feel is the right for you. Trust your gut. It’s that little thing between your heart and your stomach. Let it guide you.
Every next level of your life with your kids will demand a different version of you. Don’t get caught up in conventional cliches and ideas of what life should be all about and allow the life that’s trying to work its way in. Every time that you ‘mess up’ as a mom, don’t guilt yourself into feeling that you are the worst mother of the year. Mama said there’d be days like this, you can’t be perfect. You were not given this purpose to do everything ‘right’. Instead, you were given these challenges because you are strong. Because you are meant to teach your kids that tough challenges can be conquered. There is a lesson in every challenge that you are dealing with when it comes to your children. Even if you don’t see it, you are instilling in them these lessons that are necessary for them to survive in this crazy world. And even if they don’t show it, they are looking at you with love and admiration, no matter the scars.
You see, when you shout, they see your great passion as a mom, like someone supporting their favourite soccer team, and shouting when they aren’t winning, because, all they want is for them to achieve. They will know what standing up for something is all about because of you. They see a woman who is not afraid to show emotion and express herself when you cry and wipe your tears, and they will know that it’s okay for them to express their emotions and pick themselves up again, because that’s what they are learning from you. They see your caring heart when you are warning them, because you don’t want them to get hurt. And when you feel you didn’t do your best, and you bounce back and show them the love and peace that you so naturally do, they will know that it is okay to make mistakes, because that’s where learning starts.
So let this serve as a gentle reminder, that by allowing yourself a little time out to breathe in your moments of chaos, that which you were taught to think is not an option when you have kids, you have enabled yourself the opportunity to express how they have made you feel in a way that they can understand, and ultimately, by doing this, you are doing an amazing job at teaching them that they need to be held accountable for their actions and learn how to gently and naturally cope with guilt. These natural qualities that we are born with, cannot be suppressed, only nurtured. You are equipping them for life, one day at a time. And you, Mama, know what’s best for them, and you are not like everyone else.
Don’t ever forget that.
You need to give yourself a damn break, because when the sun rises again, it promises a new day, it promises a lesson learnt, a new chance to get it right, a chance to hug them a little tighter, a chance to celebrate the small wins, and to remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can as a mom to your kids.