Being a mom of small children is not easy 99% of the time, and that seems to be universally understood. We hear things from friends and strangers in the grocery store like “You have your hands full.” “You’re in the thick of it.” Or “You’re in the trenches right now.”
On one hand, it’s comforting to know that people recognize the struggle. On the other hand, it’s a reminder of our overwhelm. To be honest, those phrases can be daunting. In the life of a mom of little ones, every day starts to feel like Groundhog Day, and our routines can feel like trying to swim in quicksand. There are many moments where there doesn’t seem to be relief in sight. Motherhood is a constant ebb and flow of intensity. I think it was divinely ordained that way, actually. We get just enough bonding moments and have just enough maternal love for our kids to withstand the sleepless nights, the tantrums, the frustrating conversations, and the common core math homework. Sometimes, the light at the end of the tunnel just isn’t on.
I’m a village mom. I heavily rely on the advice and support from the mom hive. I am a firm believer that we all need each other to thrive and maintain our sanity. Who can do this alone? (I mean, really, who can? Send me their number.) Anyway. There have been some pivotal moments in my motherhood journey, moments when I got an extra surge of optimism or a strong sense of determination. Many of those moments were found in the casual encouragement from a combat veteran. Not just any old mom, mind you. I’m talking about the OGs. I’m talking about the ones who paved the way. I’m talking about the moms of OLDER kids.
I have several friends and acquaintances who have multiple kids who are all at least school age. No more babies. No more diapers. No more teething. No more sleep deprivation. The moms that actually get alone time with their husband because their children are even old enough to stay home alone. The moms who have kids that are all old enough to get up on Saturday and get their own snack and turn Netflix on.
They are my glowing light at the end of the tunnel. They are my lighthouse.
Dear moms who fit that description,
You’ve been there. Your children are older, calmer, and more independent. You aren’t as frazzled as me. When you see me with all my little humans you smile sweetly and say you remember these days, but wouldn’t go back. You know the struggle well, but are on the other side. You are out of the proverbial trenches and back on level ground. Your late night feedings and toddler meltdowns have become soccer games and science projects.
I want you to know that your sideline support, words of encouragement, and gentle affirmation that my life is a sh*t show- is ever so appreciated. It makes me happy to see you have time to make dinner, relax with your kids, or go places without tantrums and 15 minutes of carseat buckling. Your leg of the journey undoubtedly has its own challenges and stresses, but you are past this place. Your support reminds moms like me that we will make it. Our babies will get bigger, our house will be cleaner one day, and we will have time to blow dry our hair again.
So, thank you, stranger in Target, for stopping to tell me that you know this is the hardest time but to hang in there. And thank you, new friend, for being a a patient and happy mother of older kids that I can look up to and aspire to be like someday. Please mamas, continue to be our lighthouse.
All my sleepy and agitated love,