We all have that one friend who can drink us under the table. The one who pounds drink after drink, while we quietly nurse the last few sips of our first glass of wine, contemplating whether we can handle a second. Or, how about the friend who can dish all the sarcasm in the world and take it just the same, while we crumble at the first word of criticism, constructive or not? What about the friend who can run seven miles a day, while we’re gasping for air and complaining after twp? I’m totally the lightweight in each of these scenarios.
It’s never easy to admit that you’re the one who can’t hang. You’re the one who’s struggling to keep it together while others make things look so easy, or manage to do more with the same. I’ve been a mother for about a year now, and I’m going to go ahead and say it – I’m overwhelmed by just one child. I don’t have an army of children to blame it on. I don’t have twins or triplets, or a twp-year-old tugging at me while I try to feed my baby. Nope. I just have one baby and I’m 150% overwhelmed.
We’re inundated with pictures of mom heroines on Instagram and Facebook, posing with their giant tribes – children in droves of four, five, and six. They make it look so beautiful. And stress-free. And easy. They make it hard to admit that you are slowly drowning with just the one. You worry that crying “Uncle!” when others are clearly fine may seem wimpy, or weak. So you don’t. You just go along, thinking there must be something wrong with you that you are an overwhelmed mother with just one child. You feel slightly selfish for it.
Two weeks ago, after getting my husband and daughter out the door, I frantically spent the next 15 minutes trying to get my act together to get to the office in a timely manner. In that process, I managed to spill an entire travel mug of coffee on my living room floor and scream profanities at both the coffee mug and baby gate that caused the ordeal. Y’all, I yelled at two inanimate objects. I teared up while sopping the coffee I didn’t get to drink off my new rug, and I wondered why this is so hard for me. Why am I struggling so much with motherhood? And why the heck can’t I muster up the courage to talk about this with anyone else?
We don’t want to be judged.
We are afraid that mothers who have more children, or more stress, or more on their plates will judge us and deem us lightweights. Those are the lies we tell ourselves.
And they simply aren’t true. We aren’t lightweights – we’re mothers! And there’s nothing weak about that!
Just within the last few weeks, I’m grateful to say that I have found a tribe of mothers from all walks of life: mothers with five kids, mothers with twins and triplets, mothers with special needs children, single mothers, SAHMs, WAHMs. And from what I’ve noticed, the family of motherhood is welcoming to all. It doesn’t promote one type of mother over the other. It celebrates each and every one of them. And, there isn’t a winner when it comes to who can handle how much without breaking, because we all know that it’s hard, no matter what. MOTHERHOOD IS HARD. It’s not hard with three or more difficult with five. It’s hard, period. There will be days when you succeed and far more days when you don’t.
Motherhood is about the journey, not the comparison.
We all know that social media is not the place to find our confidence, but I challenge us all to show the more realistic side of being a mom, so that moms like me know it’s okay to struggle. The next time you spill coffee all over the living room floor and cry over it for a solid three minutes before cleaning it up, snap a quick pic and share THAT. Because, we become more approachable and more inspiring by becoming more realistic, more transparent. And the more relatable you are, the more you show someone else who’s struggling that it’s 100% okay to not be okay.
So, to all my fellow mothers crying over spilled coffee on the regular, this one’s for you!