WHY I DO THIS
Motherhood sometimes makes me feel like I am losing my mind.
I had barely slept that night, thanks to nightmares for one kid, growing pains for another, and teething for the youngest. Just keep moving, one foot in front of the other, I thought to myself that morning, over and over. Get the kids on the bus. Get the toddler to the childcare room at the gym and get to my favorite morning class. Some me-time with the barbells can cure anything.
The house that morning was total chaos. We had all overslept. My older two were racing around the house, half-dressed, shrieking and laughing. I hollered after them to cut it out and brush their teeth, because the bus was coming. The toddler trailed after me, crying to be picked up as I frantically set out snacks, water bottles, and jackets, rushing from one end of the kitchen to the other as I tried to get breakfast together for everyone.
Gritting my teeth, I herded everyone out the door in one piece, realizing that breakfast would be eaten in the car that morning. Again.
I grabbed the toddler, mid-tantrum, and I tried to wrestle her into the car seat. I wasn’t in the mood to play games with her to get her buckled when she started flailing and ended up kicking me in the chest. The bigger kids were roughhousing in the back, knocking each other into windows, still laughing and not at all interested in getting into their seats.
I lost it.
“It’s cold out! I’m driving you to the bus stop to be nice and you guys are all over the place and not paying attention to anything I say! WE ARE GOING TO MISS THE BUS. PAY ATTENTION. FOCUS!”
It got eerily quiet in the car. I sat down heavily on the floor of the minivan, resting my forehead on the side of the toddler seat.
Finally, my toddler spoke up, “Mommy, are you fwuster-wated?”
“Yes,” I sighed, as the weight of my actions settled on my shoulders.
“Hugs make you happy,” she said, as she held her arms out to me, “I love you.”
I took a deep breath and apologized. I explained how I felt, why I reacted that way, and why the feelings were okay but the reaction was wrong.
“Mommy, it’s okay. I feel that way, too sometimes.” My oldest said reassuringly, unconsciously mimicking words I’ve said to her when she gets upset.
“It’s okay, I always love you. I forgive you.” My middle child smiled hopefully at me.
My youngest blew kisses at me.
How quick my kids were to forgive me! Even when I’m in the middle of disciplining them, they crawl into my lap for comfort. I hung my head as I pulled up to the bus stop and parked the car. I wasn’t sure I deserved this unconditional love, but they still gave it to me freely.
“I love all of you so, so much. Forever. Even when I’m mad. I will never stop loving you.” I told them, thanking them for forgiving me, and for loving me.
The bus pulled up, they piled out, and I watched them ride off, my mind churning.
I’m sure we could all say that this motherhood gig is a lot tougher than we expected. We give and we give and we give, and when there is nothing left we can’t just pack up and go. The chaos can be overwhelming.
But the lesson that morning sat with me, sparking a realization.
We all know we love our kids unconditionally. But our kids also love US unconditionally. Through the good and the bad, the fun trips to the park and the not-so-fun trips to the time out step; that signal of unconditional love is there. And you know what mamas? Even in those moments when we don’t feel worthy, when they give us this gift of unconditional love at those times we feel we are at our worst, remember: you are enough. You do deserve this unconditional love. Everyone should be loved in this way by someone.
I show Moms the unconditional love tucked away in all the corners of their everyday lives.
I believe our stories are our legacy and should be honored.
I believe the real magic is in the details of our everyday lives.
I believe our messy lives are far more beautiful than the fake perfection featured on social media.
My passion in life is finding the signal amidst the noise. As a mom, I know how easy it is to lose that signal– between your toddler’s tantrums, your child’s eye rolling, too many visits to the time-out step– it’s hard to find. But it is there, shining quietly. Your kids love you. Unconditionally.