There is a question I ask myself each night in that .2 seconds after my head hits the pillow and I’m lights out, “Did they feel how much I love them?” I wonder if they knew it today, between the chaos and noise. Between splitting time and tackling messes, drop-off and pick-up, making meals and bedtime routines.
Did my children go to bed tonight knowing just how much I love them?
I fail each day at motherhood. I do. I have been known to accidentally drop the “F” bomb after I just stubbed my toe chasing our 1-year-old up the stairs. Sometimes I sneak into the pantry and stuff my face with Oreo cookies before my toddler realizes where I am. I’ve made fun plans for trips to the zoo or children’s museum that end in a full-blown temper tantrum, screaming, leg kicks and all. I’ve felt angry at 2 AM because they want me, and I just want to sleep. Occasionally I lose my cool, raise my voice a couple of decibels, and proclaim this is the way it will be, like it or not. I mess up, I make mistakes, I don’t do it the way the experts tell you. I feel horrible and I wonder, “Am I cut out for this?”
Then I stop and think of what I would tell my friend asking herself the same question.
Mommy, you are amazing. You are just what your children need. They adore you, every single bit of you from the belly stretch marks to the messy bun. They cry for you because you are their safe place. They act out toward you, because they know you will always forgive them. These little arms hold tightly around your neck and feel protected, because of the strength you have. They wake up at 4am to be held and rocked by you, because your love is unconditional, and unwavering.
I know you are tired, and exhausted, and wonder if you are making the right choices. From the smallest one like what to dress them in today, to the biggest, like what school to send them to. I know you don’t want to ruin these precious human beings that are so pure and innocent. You won’t. I promise you, you won’t.
They might see your frustrations from time to time, but they also see your love. Each morning they wake up, they look forward to seeing you. Every night before bed, you are the last person they want to hug. In this oh so big world, you are their constant, you are their “home.”
I know you are sitting at work in front of your computer, looking over at the picture of them, wondering if they are happy today. I know you are sitting in the middle of the living room with them feet away, surrounded by toys and empty sippy cups, wondering if they are happy today. I know that no matter where they are, 100 miles, or just a reach—you are wondering if they are happy today. I know it doesn’t matter if they are 2 or 22, you are wondering if they are happy today.
This isn’t easy no matter what stage you are in, but you show up and give it all, every single bit. They see that. They might not be able to feel the tired ache in your bones, but they feel your presence. They know you love them. You are giving so much of yourself to motherhood, but here is what else I promise you—in your life, you have never been as loved at you are right now.
They feel it, and I hope you do too.
I would just want my friend to feel supported and know I believe in her. So, when I go to bed each night with dinner on pants and spit-up on my shoulder, with a wonder if they felt my love. I am going to answer “yes.” I am going to talk to myself like I would to a friend.
I gave them all I had today, the best I had, every bit of love. I gave it all away. Yes, my children felt it.
And so did yours, my friend.