To The Mother Who is Struggling

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Dear Mother Who is Struggling,

I know you haven’t been yourself lately.

I see it in the way your eyes no longer carry the light the way they used to, their colour faded; like an old photograph that once held a cherished memory, now lost.

Your frown lines have deepened, they outnumber the lines of laughter that once etched the sides of your face, back when your joyful smile would reach that far, back when your shoulders were straight and the weight of your tiredness didn’t pull you down.

You love your babies, I know you do.

But this is hard.

And you are tired. So damn tired.

And maybe this is what adds to the tiredness; the guilt that you shouldn’t feel this way. You wonder if you’re the only mother out there who feels so isolated, so alone, so exhausted. Or do they all have these villages you hear of; support networks of family and friends who share the burden of raising a family, while you wake up each morning and wonder how you will get through another day on your own?

There was a world you used to belong to, and you grieve it. It’s there in front of you, every day, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – there, in the radiant faces of other women as they go about their social lives, their holidays, gym classes, dates, promotions. You wonder how, in a world so connected by social media, you are left feeling so goddamn disconnected from it all.

Surrounded by little people, noise, clutter, you find yourself lonelier than ever. But it’s not a loneliness from being alone. It’s a loneliness that comes from being so far from yourself, so far from who you once were. You don’t even know who that is anymore. You feel as though you’ve traded your whole identity to be a mother. Sacrificed your entire life to care for those around you. This is all you know now. This is all your life has become.

And you miss the woman you once were, and the life you once had.

You long for your independence, your spontaneity, your carefree. For road trips and dinner dates and live music and nights out in the city. For beach days and lazy Sundays in bed and to read a book, uninterrupted. Drained, you yearn for the things that bring nurture to your tired body and soul as you force yourself through another day on the scarce remnants of what you have left to give.

Around you, other mothers appear cool, unflustered; they’ve got this. You wonder if they catch a glimpse of the defeat in your eyes before you look the other way, if they can sense the effort it takes to simply place one foot in front of the other.

I know this is hard. But take heart, dear one.

It won’t always be this way. It won’t always be so hard. Days will get easier. There will be more moments to be still, to breathe, more moments to laugh again. There will be more moments where you can reach inside and find the misplaced pieces of the woman you used to be, and the days will begin to feel less lonely as you journey back to your own heart.

I know you think the way you struggle makes you a failure. That because of this, you fall short and aren’t enough. Don’t believe these lies. Be gentle on your heart, for every day you face the hardest job, alone, and you make it through. No matter how hard, you don’t give up. You show up, and continue to do the best with what you have. And some days that may not seem like enough.

But every day, you continue to love.

And that will always be more than enough.

I know this is hard. But for now, this is all you need to know.

This too shall pass.  

And when you close your eyes tonight, write those words on the back of your eyelids, and watch as they fall away beneath your skin and seep into your bloodstream where they will reach your heart and kiss it with the hope that will get you through your tomorrows.

You may not feel it today, but I promise you, my love – you’ve got this.

Image courtesy The Winged Woman 

12 thoughts on “To The Mother Who is Struggling

  1. I always feel guilty(er) because I only have one child. As if somehow I’m not entitled to feel exhausted, snappish, irritated, forlorn for times long past because I ONLY HAVE ONE. As if giving your heart to raising one little good human (fingers always crossed) isn’t worthy of soul-crippling worry-encased guilt…but it would be “if” I have at least 2, and I would definitely get credit if I have kids. I mean WORKING HARD at being a good mother (and wife) is work, no matter how many kids you have. The best gift I or any mother can ever give themselves is kind words from our own mouths. Tell yourself “your doing great” or “that one slipped through the cracks (my favorite when I miss a birthday party)” and make sure to show your child it’s ok NOT to be “on” all the time too. Being kind to yourself- self compassion is a great example for children to learn how to empathize & show compassion to themselves when you aren’t there to do it for them.

    1. Can totally understand what you’re saying Nita, it’s so much about comparison and perspective. I have four children, so it would be easy to compare yourself to me and think you aren’t entitled to feel overwhelmed. I’m also self employed, so I could compare myself to working mothers and not feel entitled to feel overwhelmed. I have a husband who is also self employed and home as much as he can be, and I could compare myself to single mothers and not feel entitled to feel overwhelmed. It’s so important we acknowledge our own realities with our own individual struggles, we don’t walk in anyone else’s shoes, nor do they walk in ours. You are so right. We need to speak kindly to ourselves as we would to others, and yes, to not be “on” all the time is such a gift of self-care we can give ourselves and teach our children too. One child, four children – the exhaustion is still shared, the isolation, the loneliness, the struggles, the loss of identity. You are entitled. Much love xx

  2. Thank you from the very depths of the bottom of my heart for this!! I actually just unraveled and then read this and put myself back together again. So thank you I dont feel so alone anymore! I feel like you write through me! Thank you for another day I feel much better now!! ❤️

    1. Thank you so much Christene, am so thankful my words have made you feel less alone and have connected with your heart. Much love dear lady <3

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