A Mama’s State of Mind (The Reality of Motherhood)
As mothers, we’re hard wired to give until we can’t give anymore. More often than not, a mother will put herself on the back burner until someone forces her to focus on herself.
In most cases, the people who make self care possible are spouses, family, or friends. But what about the mamas that don’t have that support? A single mama, a mama who is away from family, or a mama who’s spouse fails to do their part in the parenting and household roles?
Well mama, I feel you. So here’s to the mothers who struggle to get through each day. To the mothers continuously pouring from an empty cup, wishing someone would take the time to care for them as much as they care for everyone else.
A Mama’s State of Mind
Every morning, I wake up, groggy eyed, to little voices.
They get closer as my children hop into my bed, asking for breakfast. I lie there, take a deep breath, and find the motivation to get up. First, I need to get my kids fed. After rummaging through the freezer, I find some waffles and pop them in the toaster. I grab sippy cups and bottles and fill them with milk, baby on hip and toddler at my feet. *Pop* waffles are done. I cut them up and serve them to my littles, who act like they’ve been starving for days. While they eat, I look around for something I can eat. “Ah, some eggs and toast sounds go-“. I get cut off by the sound of crying. Someone has a dirty diaper. I grab my youngest up and wrestle with her for 10 minutes, trying to change her. Meanwhile, my toddler has ran off to her playroom and left her waffles that she begged for on the table to get cold. I argue with her about eating, then decide after awhile to just give up because it isn’t worth the tantrum.
After breakfast, I grab my kids and tow them back to my bedroom.
I give my toddler the remote for the TV and I plop my baby in her crib so I can shower. The 20 minute break from my kids is over within 5 minutes, as my toddler pulls the curtain back and asks what I’m doing. “I’m showering” is followed by a series of questions about why we shower and how shampoo is made. I hurry and rinse off, then hop out. I grab my usual attire, yoga pants and a sweatshirt, because I know I won’t be seeing anyone today. A bit of makeup makes me look a little less tired. I sigh…..”that’s as good as it’s going to get today.”
It’s now mid-afternoon.
The demand for snacks is being shouted from the playroom as I try to find something to eat…..again. I hand out snacks, grabbing some fruit snacks for myself, and I finally sit down. My to-do list is hanging off the paper. I have grocery lists to make, laundry to do, and floors to sweep. My mind is trying to map out the most efficient way to accomplish the day’s tasks. I sit…and sit…and sit. As I’m scrolling through Pinterest (you know, for inspiration and printable budget planners) I realize it’s nearly 4 pm. Time to start preparing dinner. I change another diaper, fill another sippy cup, and begin cooking.
SHIT. I forgot to sit out meat for dinner. Well, into the microwave it goes.
My husband finally makes it home and greets us with a half grin.
I assume he’s had a hard day, so I try my best to give him space. Dinner is almost done, so I gather the kids up, wash their hands, and sit them down at the table. I make everyone’s plate and serve them, almost forgetting to make a plate for myself. As they eat, I grab myself a serving and sit down, only to get up at least 5 more times for additional requests. “Mom, I need more milk!” “Could I get the salt?”
I finally start eating just as everyone else is done. They leave, one by one, until I’m sitting alone at the table. I finish my food then begin cleaning up. I look around at the house. It’s a mess; toys and crumbs on the floor, laundry hanging off the couch. I look over and see my to-do list on my desk. “I didn’t get anything done today”, I whisper to myself.
Once the dishwasher is loaded, I grab the kids and put them in the bath.
Two little heads need washing, but two little ones just want to play. I tell them “no splashing” as water spills out onto the floor. After cleaning the mess, I manage to clean their little bodies and get them out. Jammies….check. Teeth brushed…check. I put my youngest to bed as my oldest protests bedtime entirely. After 20 minutes, she finally lays down. I kiss her goodnight, shut the door, then go to check on the baby. I peek in and see her sleeping peacefully. “Finally, some time to get things done” I say to myself. My husband and I exchange a smile as we pass in the hallway. I haven’t even spoken to him today.
I grab my to-do list and begin reading:
Okay, I’ll start laundry, vacuum, then do the grocery list.
Just as I get a wind of energy, I hear the baby cry. I go check her, spend a good 45 minutes soothing her back to sleep, then tiptoe out of the room. “Now, where was I?” My husband walks into the room and says “are you coming to bed?” I show him my to-do list as I shake my head “no”. He sighs and says “okay…goodnight” as he walks into the bedroom. I grab the laundry basket and begin tossing clothes into the washer.
As I turn to walk out of the room, I see my toddler standing in the doorway. “I want water, mom.” Another thing to add to my to-do list. I grab her water, put her back into bed, then shut the door…again. It’s now 9 pm, and I realize vacuuming at this time of night probably isn’t the best idea. Grocery list it is. I glance up at the clock and it’s 10:30 pm. I rub my eyes and decide it’s time for bed. The clothes are done washing, so I switch them over to the dryer. Déjà Vu. There’s my toddler again, asking for a story. I crawl into her bed and read her one story….four times. I tuck her in and head off to bed.
As I stare at the ceiling, every uncompleted task runs through my mind.
I look over at my husband, who has been asleep for hours, and wonder how his day was. I think about my day, wondering if I spent enough time with my kids. And then my mind starts to wander. Am I doing my best? Will my kids have good memories of me when they’re older? Does my husband still think I’m beautiful, even when I’m in yoga pants with no makeup on? Before I know it, it’s nearly 2 am and the baby is awake to eat. I feed her and finally drift off to sleep.
This is motherhood.
My days are all the same. A constant cycle of uncompleted tasks and exhaustion. I look in the mirror and see a robot, just going through the motions as if they were programmed. My sense of self is nonexistent. The picture of motherhood is painted as if it were a beautiful scene in an art gallery. It’s supposed to be wonderful, perfect, and fulfilling. But the reality is….it’s lonely.
So many mothers suffer in silence, afraid that if they’re honest, they’ll be labeled as a “bad mom”. But that only leads to more problems. Mamas….if this post resonates with you, know that you are NOT alone. Every mother has felt exactly what you’re feeling and I promise, it is okay to feel this way.
You are not a bad mother if you are lonely. You’re not a bad mother if you don’t finish the day’s tasks. And you are not a bad mother if you wish you had some time for yourself.
Self care is necessary for your well being. If you aren’t taking care of you….you can’t take care of everyone else. So, mamas, I want you to take a deep breath and do what you need to do. Ask for help when you need it, walk away if your mind is clouded, and don’t be afraid to feel what you feel. You are important, too. Never forget that.