“Hey, Mom, come look at this!” my son called from the living room.
I was at the stove sauteing veggies for our dinner. Between stirs, I picked up my phone to respond to an email I had been trying to get to all day.
A distracting clink-clink was coming from the dryer. I probably forgot to check pockets again and will find a pile of rocks from the playground in there later, I thought.
My 3-year old stood at the counter beside me, reaching her little hand into the bag of shredded cheese—only about half of which actually made it to her mouth. I cringed as the rest fell to the floor.
“I’m a little bit busy here,” I snapped back at my son. His eyes fell, and I instantly regretted my response.
I was just so overwhelmed. Couldn’t he see that? But he couldn’t, of course, because this constant internal battle is my own.
Here’s the thing about motherhood: No one told me how overstimulating it would be.
Consuming? Of course.
But I don’t remember anyone telling me there would be times when every single one of my senses would fire at once and how overwhelming that would feel.
Times when the clock ticking on the wall would suddenly sound deafening.
When the clutter scattered across the floor would make it hard to think straight.
I didn’t know I could feel so touched out that the little hands grabbing for mine would make my skin crawl.
That the constant mental list of to-dos and choices would make my chest physically ache.
They didn’t tell me the title I love most would sometimes sound like nails on a chalkboard after a long day. “Mom! Mama! Mommmmmy!”
I didn’t know there would be times I would crave to be left alone. To not be spoken to. To not have to answer one. more. question.
Times when I could be surrounded by air, yet feel like I’m drowning. Really, truly drowning.
I didn’t know when I felt overwhelmed like that I would too often erupt in a stream of irritability, lashing out at my undeserving family.
No one told me how hard it would be to explain that the wrong combination of noise, mess, touch, and decision making could utterly break me.
And certainly no one told me how horribly, heavily guilty I would feel about all of the above.
That I would feel like an awful mom for losing my cool with my kids (again), or how ashamed I would be that I hadn’t been more patient. More loving, more kind, more gentle with the people I love more than anything.
I don’t want to be a mom who yells. I don’t want to be a mom who gets overwhelmed so easily. Yet, I am both of those things more often than I care to admit.
I can honestly say I love being as mom more than anything, but the overstimulation of this job is REAL . . . and it is my kryptonite.
No one talks about these things, but I know I can’t be alone. If you struggle in the same way, I want you to know you’re not alone, either.
We are not broken.
We are human, and no matter how good of moms we are (and we are), the demands of motherhood can be too much sometimes—especially when you’re as inherently sensitive as I am.
I hate that this is a part of who I am, but it is . . . and I owe it to myself and my family to find ways to navigate the overwhelm.
So I take deep breaths (lots of those) and try my best.
I humbly apologize each and every time I lose my cool.
I teach my kids words like “anxious” and “overwhelmed” so they’ll know how to express themselves should they ever feel the same.
Whenever possible, I say no to obligations and invitations that I know will overload my schedule.
I try to steal a minute alone when I feel irritable instead of letting my emotions completely take over.
I give myself the grace to know my weakness and mess-ups don’t define my motherhood (spoiler alert: neither do yours).
And I love my family as well as I possibly know how, because that’s what they deserve.
I’m a mom who is easily overstimulated by life, but I’m also a darn good mom.
And just in case you were wondering? So are you.