I dragged myself to a meeting with an older friend. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. All I wanted to do was stay in bed. Forever. But, I had made a commitment and I didn’t want to cancel on her at the last minute.
I slumped down on her couch and said, “I warn you, I’m crabby!” And, then I laughed to lighten the mood. She looked at me kindly and said, “Why did you laugh after you said that, do you not have the right to be crabby?”
She had hit a nerve and I felt tears well up in my eyes. By way of apologizing I said, “I’m just so tired. I’m too tired to nurture anyone and I have nothing left to give.”
To a mother, that’s the worst state to be in. Motherhood is all about nurturing. It’s also all about guilt and the fear that we’re not doing enough.
Sure, we’ve all read articles on the importance of taking care of ourselves. But, the vast majority of parenting articles are full of: do this and don’t do that, and lists of ways to become better mothers, and guilt, guilt and more guilt. Just reading them is enough to exhaust and overwhelm a mom without adding in life’s other daily pressures.
I maintain that you young moms have it even harder than moms my age had it. Social media is full of perfectly coiffed moms in the latest fashions standing in their perfectly decorated homes with their tribes of wonderful kids. Meanwhile, I turn from the beautiful pictures on my computer and look around at the sagebrush-sized dust bunnies rolling across my floors, the couch my husband found on Craigslist, and the jeans I’m wearing that a friend gave me five years ago. And, I wonder: where do these women get their energy? Massive amounts of coffee? Vitamin shots? What?!
We tend to forget that there are as many different kinds of moms as there are women. And, no one has all the answers. What works for one, does not work for another. I imagine most of the social media moms are fed by perfection and the positive comments from people they’ll never meet. I’m fed by whatever happens to be in my fridge that isn’t moldy.
But, all moms, no matter what type, get overwhelmed and feel used up from time to time. And, there is something so healing about a person outside your family giving you permission to rest and telling you that you are a good mom. And, as I sat on my friend’s couch wiping tears away, I felt thankful that I had this wise older friend to tell me exactly that.
If you don’t have someone like that in your life, let me be the one to do it:
“Well done, good and faithful mommies, now go and take a rest!”