Dear Fellow Mama:

Come pull up a chair, here beside me. Or better yet, let’s grab our walking shoes and traipse down to the edge of the water, and look out over its rippling expanse. Let’s stand side-by-side, blankets around our shoulders, sipping from mugs of hot tea, our breath lingering in the crisp air. We don’t get to do this often, now, my friend, now that the little ones have entered our worlds, and our attention has shifted.

The kids are walking now, the marriage is rocky, the in-laws a strain, the job horrid or wonderful, depending on the day. Our carefree days are gone now, mama. We are raising little humans who are still just trying to figure out this world. Oh, but aren’t we all, though? So, let’s go and stand at the edge of the water, or sit here looking out the window, and talk. Let’s support each other, because we understand each other.

Our stories are different, but the same. We’ve all been down this trodden path before, separately and alone. It feels, quite often that we are nothing but alone. How we entered this story of motherhood is different, the nuances and details and everyday chaos of it. Yet it is the same. You entered it from a happy marriage, or a broken one, or one that was tenuously tied together. Perhaps you entered this story alone. Perhaps you are happy and content and in love and the sun shines from the eyes of your partner, or your baby, from your family or your friends.

But, oh, mama, there are days that are so hard. Days that your skin hurts from being awake for so many hours with a sick child, a teething child, a sad or boisterous child. There are days that you have wondered if it wouldn’t be easier to walk out. Days you have wondered if your absence wouldn’t be kinder, more generous, than the presence you are capable of right now. Days that you have wondered what you have done, why you had children. Was it worth it?

Oh, mama. There are also days that are so, so wonderful. Days that your son smiles up at you in the darkness of the early morning hours, and reaches his hand to your face to tell you he loves you. There are days that your daughter takes her first steps, or rides her first bicycle. Days that little eyes overflow with pride and love and trust when they look at you. Days when there is nothing more that you want in life but to lie on the sun drenched carpet and make hand shadows come alive on the wall.

So come, mama, pull up a chair. Stand here beside me. Walk with me. Lean on me, mama, and I will do the same. In this hushed moment between friends, let us support each other’s decisions, our choices, our triumphs and our failures. Raising children well is doable, but it is hard. It is demanding. It is never-ending and all-encompassing. It is heartbreaking, phenomenal, and spellbinding. And I want you here beside me, friend, to share it with.

Isa Down

Isa is a writer & artist living at the base of the Rocky Mountains. She began writing essays on motherhood after becoming a single parent and realizing the importance of having a village to help raise children. In her spare time, you can find her creating art, running after her toddler, and studying.  Follow her on Facebook and on Instagram.