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.
Written by Kathy Parker
( with permission)
you go girl, thank you, from my heart. I needed to hear what you said. it is all true.
it never ends, no matter how old you are. I was a mother at 19, I am now 62. what you said is true and always will be
After losing my son to suicide three years ago-I slipped into the very essence of this essay. I feel every word. The reality is that as alone as I have been, there are so many other women who have lived the pain of getting lost and struggle to find their way back to a more desirable self, that love of who they have become and be proud. Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for seeing us.
oh, so exactly how i felt as i raised my three. not that there weren’t moments of joy–a three-year-old singing in her swing, the five-year-old confiding that she hoped her soul was aqua. but, their father’s lack of emotional support, in fact, abusive words, at times caused me to think i was mentally ill. but,happily, two of those daughters are now grandmothers, all three are very loving, and i’ve known for a long time that i am very sane.
I have these inadequate feelings now I feel a little better and I’m not the only one experiencing these feelings when it comes to being a mother
These are fine words and true ones. I know the feelings of thinking I was a bad mother, when before the birth of my son, I’d thought I would be the best mother in the world. The reality of a crying child who wouldn’t stop crying brought the actual reality of motherhood into my world, and it has taken many years for me to know I truly was the best mother for my son, and 25 years later, I am at peace with it all.
I’m a mother of 4. I have 8 grand daughters. I spent my whole adult life raising my children. I taught them to love nature by going on endless leaf walks, planting gardens, painting rocks and seashells. We held bugs, caught butterflies and chased fireflies. Now I watch my children raise their families. I’m alone now, but my heart is smiling. They bring me painted rocks and pressed leaves every chance they get. It does get better.
Thank-you for this I was just about to give I’m just recently widowed and sometimes I ask myself what is the purpose of living but then I look at my kids and I realize I can’t put them in anymore pain than what they are going through right now because of the lost of there father so I turn to prayer and now reading this has inspired me to take it one day at a time thank you so much
I am trying these days to write and become a freelance writer.