As I write this with bloodshot eyes, my head is pulsing, I’m unable to focus on the work I need to get done (are the lights shining directly on me in this room?)… and I have already cried twice today.
I didn’t sleep last night. I have a sick toddler, my husband and I are arguing (lack of sleep will make everything an argument), and I’m depleted of all energy. I had the hardest day of motherhood (so far) this week and I’m still recovering. My baby is sick and sleepy, but can’t sleep because she’s sick, and it has resulted in several hours of crying during the day and consistently in the middle of the night. The kind of crying that rings in your ears and causes an earthquake in your brain. Nothing I do can fix her hurt. She doesn’t feel good and is expressing that the only way she knows how – and it feels like emotional and physical torture knowing that nothing I do can seem to fix it for her.
Have you ever had a really bad day? Is today one of those bad days? Read closely… you need to know:
You are a loving mother. The fact that you hurt so deeply when your child hurts so deeply shows the amount of love and compassion and connection you have for your child. It’s ok if you begin to feel frustrated when nothing seems to work… you’re frustrated because you care so deeply. You’re frustrated because you love your child so profoundly that you can’t bare the sound of them in pain.
You are strong. Strong enough to make it through these bouts of struggle and hardship on a bad day and be strong enough to choose patience and humility in difficult times. Even if you have to remind yourself to breathe; even if you have to repeat the mantra “I am strong” over and over again.
You are a good mother, even if you need to walk away for a minute to gain your composure. Nobody ever said that mothers needed to be everything to their children at every moment in time (in fact, people have often said that’s detrimental to raising independent children), so don’t be so hard on yourself when you can’t solve every problem or you need to walk away from the crying for a second. It’s ok if you need your partner to step in for you in the middle of the night (even though she’s calling for “mama”) so you can let yourself rest. You are there for your baby, you are a good mother, even if you need a break every now and again.
You are allowed to cry. Crying is a necessary outlet for everything that’s building up inside of you when you’re giving every ounce of yourself to another human being. You’re allowed to lose it every now and again. It doesn’t make you weak or a “bad” mom or anything in between. You are human and you get to have bad days, too.
Your child isn’t going to hold these moments against you. She isn’t going to remember the 5 minutes or 30 minutes or 90 minutes of difficulty over the hours and hours of love and happiness and “easy” days. She isn’t going to think of you as a bad mother because it may have been a bad day. She won’t even remember this day. What she will remember is all love, the hugs, the kisses, the laughs, the dance parties, and everything in between. This day… this day will be buried beneath all the good days.
This – all of this – comes with the territory. Remind yourself that this kind of bad day isn’t the norm. Focus on your victories. Focus on the fact that you have so many more good days than hard ones. And read this to remind yourself every single time you want to beat yourself up for “failing.” It’s just one of those days.