I’m writing this post I need it more than anyone. This mothering thing is hard. So often, I’m wrapped up in my own thoughts that I can’t see what’s right in front of me. And, as the time moves more quickly, I sometimes realize I’m missing it.
I’m missing the beauty in the moments. I’m missing their tiny faces singing songs in the backseat because I have my own worries filling my head while racing to the next appointment.
I’m forgetting to see the beauty because sometimes I’m just in my own head way too much.
I’m thinking about Mom Guilt
Will they remember when I yelled today more than when I had patience?
I let them watch too much TV.
I didn’t play with the youngest when he was begging.
I don’t read to them enough.
I’m so consumed by mom guilt, that sometimes I forget all the things I do right. The mom guilt is in my head. Always badgering me. Telling me I’m not good enough and that I’m failing.
I’m running through my to-do list.
Today we have swim lessons, but Tuesday we have to remember piano, and they really want to do a lemonade stand, so I think we can work that in on Friday. Oh yeah, and I need to switch the laundry, pay that bill, and remember to look for that missing puzzle piece to that favorite puzzle. It’s so exhausting running through the to-do list that I often forget to do what’s right in front of me – be present.
The to-do list seems so overwhelming some days that I forget to just relax. Breathe in a moment. Enjoy the right now.
I’m just worried about keeping them alive.
Of course I worry about more than just keeping them alive (see above & below) but I also worry about just keeping them alive. For real. Kidnappings happen so should they walk to school alone? Are they safe to ride their bikes around the block? Do I let them cut the tomatoes at dinner? Is it OK if they use the oven when they are 13? Is that the right age?
When can they start staying home alone?
I worry so much about just making sure they (and I) survive each day that sometimes I forget that I’ve kept them alive this long and I can relax. They’ll be OK. And, I don’t have much control over most of it anyway.
I think about the future.
Will they hate me when they’re 25? Will they graduate from college? Will that one ever move out? Or worse – will he have to move back in when he’s 40? Will high school be hard for them? Will they make friends in middle school?
There are so many unknowns in parenting and there is so much to think about when you look to their future.
Sometimes I’m thinking about it so much, I forget that the future is bright. They are capable. I’m raising good kids and they will be OK. And, because I care, they probably won’t hate me.
I’m thinking about me (occasionally)
Let’s face it, it’s not all about them. Sometimes I think about how I need to lose those 30 lbs (OK – 40) and how I look in a swimsuit. I wonder how acceptable it is to go 3 days without washing my hair.
I think about friends that need me, and yet I don’t seem to have any spare second. Am I falling them to? Sometimes I get wrapped up in my own head thinking about how I “should” do all the things and I can only accomplish about one sixteenth of the things I “hould” do.
I forget to remember that I’m smart, capable, and a good person with a good heart. I forget to remember me in a way that involves self-care instead of neglect.
I’m thinking about my marriage
Is he getting enough attention? Am I? Are we spending enough time together? Will we ever have a date night again? Is he mad I didn’t do that thing he asked me to do three weeks ago?
Sometimes I’m so wrapped up in my own head that I forget that we’ve done a lot of really hard things together, and we’ll get through this stage. Whatever it is that’s hard right now. I forget he’s my best friend and we’re in this together. For real.
I find myself so wrapped up in all of it. The guilt, the shame, the shoulds of life. I sometimes forget how beautiful it is. How amazing raising a family can be when you get passed the fighting over who is not being nice to who, and who got more screen time.
I get so wrapped up in my head, I forget that these little people I’m raising are turning into the coolest people I know. And, they might just get a little bit of that from me. I get so in my head that sometimes I forget to listen. REALLY listen to what they have to say. Even if they seem too young to take seriously most days.
Mamas, it’s easy to get in our own heads and dwell there. It’s easy to listen to the parts of us that say we’re no good. It’s easy to drive miles ignoring the chatter in the backseat instead of tuning into it because we’re so overwhelmed with what is required of us.
It’s easy to forget that our husbands are our biggest allies. They need us too – but more importantly we need them.
So, if you’re wrapped up in your own head right now, try to slow down. Talk to yourself kindly. Listen with an open heart. And remember that you’re doing a good job and you need to just breathe.
BREATHE. I’ll do it with you.
I promise it will make all the difference in the world today. We’ve got this.
Meredith Ethington is a writer and a mom to three, trying to help her kids understand sarcasm and her need for personal space. Meredith’s debut parenting book, Mom Life: Perfection Pending, provides an uplifting yet realistic look at all that is expected of moms in the 21st century and is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at Absolute Love Publishing. She proudly writes for many of her favorite parenting sites, including Scary Mommy, Babble, Momtastic, and on her own blog. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where she loves to laugh at herself and admit that while parenting is the best thing ever, it’s also the hardest job on earth.