Dear Mama,

Raising little ones is hard. Rewarding. Hilarious. And often lonely.

But you’re not alone.

I know that today you’ve acted as accountant, personal shopper, expert in conflict resolution, motivational speaker, events manager, and salesperson.

Tell me you didn’t use expert marketing skills to get those peas into your kid’s mouth!

Despite your many talents, you think your brain is shriveling while you change another diaper or wash another dish. These tasks fill your every moment and provide as much mental challenge as brushing your teeth this morning.

If you managed to brush your teeth this morning.

Someone suggested you play podcasts while you cook. Maybe then you can stimulate grown-up thoughts. But the play button instantaneously sets off your kids’ screaming, whining, or arguing.

Test my theory, if you’re not sure.

I know you plug your toddler’s mouth with a pacifier and enjoy a few hard-earned minutes of quiet. The price for this survival mechanism: avoiding the disapproving looks of strangers and loved ones alike.

How could you risk your child’s orthodontic future?

Mind you, they’re well-meaning strangers and loved ones. Like the sweet grandma at the park yesterday who told you to “cherish every moment”. You had a heart check and wondered do I not appreciate these moments?

Let me ask you: did you cherish the 30 minute battle of wills with your four-year-old that morning? Did you treasure the 10 seconds it took your toddler to create wall art with his own poop?

But before you could respond to Grandma, you had to excuse yourself and stop your toddler from stripping down to his birthday suit on the playground.

Again.

Trust me, I know you cherish your kids. But maybe not every moment of parenting.

And that’s OK.

You feel like an idiot when you can’t participate in a conversation about current events. It’s not that you don’t care if America is made great again or that you’re indifferent about tax reform. Of course you’re concerned about nuclear weapons and North Korea.

But your own little dictator lives in the next room, and his demands are directly tied to the play button on your podcast app. So you may not be sure if love trumps hate, but your little dictator trumped the world news today.

You have an audience every time you pee. If you presume to “go” alone, a chorus of wailing serenades you outside the door.

Only you are capable of dressing dolls, reading books, and wiping noses. You might sneak off to the bathroom while a perfectly willing Daddy is sitting two inches from your daughter on the couch. Is it laughable to imagine she’d ask him to assist her pressing need to fix dolly’s shoes?

I know you do your best to keep track of your kids at all times. Even so, your toddler might have wandered by himself into an elevator yesterday.

Oh, wait—that was my kid.

I know you work all day and have little to show for it when you fall into your bed, exhausted.

You’re too tired for sex but worried what will happen to your marriage if that exhaustion persists very long. You compare yourself to other women . . .women who look younger, more energetic, or in better shape. They don’t seem frazzled or stressed out. They don’t walk around the grocery with their shirts inside-out or food on their pants.

Mostly those women don’t have little kids.

Or they’re some of the few moms who have it figured out. You envy those moms. You know—the ones whose kids aren’t throwing fits on the floor of the grocery aisle?

I know you’re sorting through controversial issues like sleep training and vaccinations. Just like me, you fear choking, night fevers and bullies. When you look into the not-so-distant future, you worry, “How will they handle puberty and adolescence? How do I talk with them about issues like racism and homosexuality?”

A little further down the road, you’re thinking about college tuition and weddings. “How can I support them as they grow up and pursue their dreams?”

You want the very best for your kids, even though you’re pretty sure they’re sapping the life out of you right now.

Hang in there. I know you love them.

But it’s OK if today, you were just trying to survive till bedtime. That doesn’t make you a bad mama. Just a human.

I get it, because we’re in this together.

Sincerely yours,
A fellow mama

You might also like:

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Nicole Baldonado

Nicole Baldonado is a social worker and missionary in L’viv, Ukraine. She and her husband love raising their two kids in an intercultural lifestyle. Nicole writes weekly at jnbmission.com and can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/jnbaldonado or Twitter at NBaldonado.

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