I broke down last night. I haven’t had a good cry in a while. To be honest, I have been too tired. You know the point where you are just too exhausted to spend any precious energy on emotions? That was the point I had reached. Unbidden, all of the emotions that had been stewing beneath the surface were unleashed in a tumultuous explosion. I felt hot tears running down my cheeks, and fled into the bedroom so that no one could see them.
I didn’t fool my husband, of course. As he sat down next to me and put his arm around me, the reason why I felt so broken in that moment came into sharp focus.
Being a mother is grueling, wearying, taxing, overwhelming, demanding work.
And it is ok for me to admit that to myself.
Because I had appointed myself as the unofficial ambassador of not being ashamed of your family size and spacing I had ignored, to my detriment, how much I was grappling with motherhood sometimes. I was so adamant to set out and prove that motherhood was beautiful and wonderful, that I suppressed and buried deep down any of the frustrations and strife that came along with it.
And let me tell ya, if you don’t handle your emotions effectively, they don’t disappear. They build up and explode out of you. It is extremely embarrassing. Luckily, the children were all in bed and did not witness mommy’s downfall into a puddle of tears that would put my two year old to shame. It was extremely humbling.
I don’t have it all together. I feel overwhelmed a lot. I am lonely often. I am never well rested. All of my pregnancies have taken a lot out of me. I hate to even admit this all in writing, but it is true.
I felt the need to pretend motherhood was only sweetness and light when it is not.
People say they can’t believe that I have time to do this silly blogging hobby of mine, but what they don’t understand is that this is my lifeline. I write, and I take this all in good humor, or else I get overwhelmed.
You can love your children more fiercely than you love your own life, and still be able to admit that the vocation of motherhood is wearisome. Wearisome in every aspect. My children unknowingly challenge me to be a better person constantly. My worst fear every day is that I will fail them in some way. And fail them I do, but they forgive me cheerfully and without hesitation every time.
Any mother who stumbles upon this blog doesn’t need me to tell her that motherhood is beautiful and wonderful. She already knows that. She needs to know that she is not alone. We are all lonely. We are all anxious. We are all overwhelmed. And it’s alright to break down and cry sometimes alone or with your husband’s arm around you. And most importantly, it is ok to ask for help. Everyone needs a good support system. I have been blessed to miraculously meet the most wonderful mothers through this mediocre at best blog of mine. They have become my fastest friends and my greatest cheerleaders. They are genuinely proud of me for my small successes and support me and pray for me throughout my times of despair. And quite frankly, I shudder to think where I would be without them. People like to harp about what a vicious group of vipers mothers are online, but I think it is oft ignored how they can also be the brightest ray of hope for each other.
I don’t want to look back on this season of my life with bitterness and resentment. I want to look back with fondness. But in order to do that, I have to face the reality of motherhood and the hardships that it naturally entails. Otherwise, all of the hardships will consume all of the beautiful moments. Loving in this life means pain and sacrifice. Pain and sacrifice can be sanctifying, if we let them. Like a pinch of salt can amplify all of the sweet flavors of a dessert, accepting the hardships of motherhood can make the moments I share with my little ones all the sweeter. (I love a good dessert metaphor.)
Last but certainly not least, God bless my husband for being my shoulder to cry on and knowing me well enough to recognize that when I say I want to be left alone I don’t mean it at all.