Tonight I read an article on facebook about motherhood that I resonated with so much that I had to share it. I want to share with you my own lowest point of motherhood. I will save the commentary for the end. I hope you'll read this to the end.
By 20 years old, I had purchased my first home and had a beautiful baby. I also had a picture in my head of what things should be like. When you flip through the parenting magazines while you're pregnant you see all those pictures of beautiful moms cuddling sweet, sleeping babies in beautiful homes. I read all the books, watched Dr. Brazelton faithfully. I was determined to do this motherhood thing right. Unfortunately, my children didn't read the books. They didn't follow the scripts that I had written for them in my head.
One morning, I'm struggling to get my oldest ready for school, my second ready for daycare, and myself ready for work. That involved packing every one's lunch, making sure Amanda had all her books, she went to Catholic school and the girls had to wear little red ties that always seemed to be missing in the mornings. It was the first really cold day and we needed our winter coats unexpectedly. I pulled out the winters coats from the year before. That's when the tug of war began.
Amanda refused to put on the coat. I try to explain that it was cold and it was the only coat she had. She wasn't having it. I tried to explain that it was the same leopard coat that she begged me for the year before. She wasn't having it. I explained that we were going to be late. She refused. I even tried to bribe her by telling her that she could pick out any coat she wanted later if only she put on the leopard coat for now. After what felt like half an hour I had had enough. The baby had her coat on and I had my coat on and we were sweating! I forcefully put the coat on Amanda. She took it off. I put it back on her. She took it off. This went on and on. Needless to say there was yelling and screaming and a baby crying and Amanda was crying.
After much drama, we all had our coats on, still crying, still sweating. I pick up the baby, the diaper bag, the lunch bags, the school bag, my purse and I plow through the door..... Amanda was in front of me and she refused to open the door. Only I didn't realize that until her face hit the storm door!! I felt like the worst mother in the entire universe. As if losing my temper and yelling like a crazy lady wasn't enough, she now had a bloody nose from hitting the door. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying, her face was red from screaming and sweating, and her poor little nose was red and brused. I had officially earned the worst mother of the year award and all I was trying to do was make sure she was warm enough!!
Since by this point she's late for school, I needed to sign her in. So I park the car, take the baby out of the car seat and walk her into the school. Sister Mary Katherine asks me why we're late. That's when I fell apart. I tell her we had a rough morning and I start sobbing like a baby. Sister hands the baby off to another nun and Amanda is sent off to class. I'm escorted into Sister's office where she asks me if I lose control often. That really sends me over the edge!! I didn't want to admit it but I was at my breaking point that morning. I really did feel like I was out of control.
The reason I am sharing this story is twofold. First and foremost I want new moms to know that sometimes motherhood sucks and it's okay to admit that some days are really rough. That doesn't make you a bad mother. That doesn't mean you're weak. The second reason is that I want to give people, not just moms, permission to say "hey, I need some help". It's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to not be perfect all the time. When we "put on airs" and pretend that we have everything under control it makes it more difficult for us to ask for help and it also makes the rest of us feel like we suck because we have days when everything seems to be falling apart.
When we are willing to be vulnerable we give others permission to do the same. Right now, I'm thinking of a neighbor named, Olga Santiago. When my third child was born I had to have my tonsils out. One day she stopped over to see the baby and she saw that I was a mess. She took my kids to her house and feed them, bathed the baby and put them to bed so that I could sleep and recover. I didn't ask for the help, she understood what I was dealing with and she stepped up. I wish I knew where she is right now so that I could tell her how much that meant to me. Ask for help when you need it and offer the help when someone else needs it. If we all support each other then everyone is taking care of.
Children are, without a doubt, wonderful gifts from God. They are also born with a special power that makes them able to send you to the very edge of sanity. Before I had children I would look at moms grabbing their kid by the back of neck and think to myself "OMG! some people just shouldn't have kids!" Now I see those moms and say I little prayer for them because I know what it feels like to be on the edge of insanity.