I see you.
I see you when you’re scrubbing the dishes for the 16th time that day and when you’re picking up after everyone else’s trails of trash and misplaced objects.
I see you when you’re tired beyond belief, sipping your coffee between tending to tantrums and wiping snotty noses.
I see you there, hiding in the bathroom from the chaos that surrounds you, giving yourself five minutes to gain your composure. To just breathe. To just be.
I see you when you’re standing strong and capable, doing your best to not sink beneath the mental load of your responsibilities.
I see you when you’re doubting yourself and ready to admit defeat.
I see you when you’re doing it all. All the time. All by yourself.
Whether you are the single mom, the solo-parenting mom, the military mom, the mom with an unsupportive and unhelpful partner, or the mom who’s just afraid to ask for help, I see you.
You are not alone.
And I know you do it all, but I wish you didn’t have to.
In fact, I believe you won’t have to do it all forever. Maybe for a time, but certainly not forever.
I wish you could see everything that is meant for you. The support, the help, the resources . . . the village.
If that’s not something you can get your faith behind, borrow mine until you can.
You see, not too long ago I was just like you.
I spent my days coming up with plan after plan to get it all done, keep it together, and be everything to everyone.
I worked and worried myself sick—literally. The stress and anxiety I experienced every day, combined with the lack of sleep and not giving my body or mind a break resulted in constant pain, nausea, and weakness.
I thought this was just what good moms did. Good moms put themselves on the back burner. We ask everyone else what they need before we even think about asking ourselves the same question.
We suck it up, do what needs to be done, and we don’t dare complain because . . . we chose this life.
Good moms are martyrs. Right?
But, just like you, I felt invisible. Unappreciated. I let myself fall through the cracks until I no longer recognized the person in the mirror.
To say I had lost myself was a sore understatement.
Because the truth is the moms who do it all are tired. We are spread thin. And despite loving our families to no end, we also just really miss ourselves—we want to fiercely love ourselves, too.
We want to hear ourselves think.
We want to protect our needs and desires without question or guilt.
And we deserve as much as these things, and then some.
Please know this, dear burned out mom who does it all . . .
You are not alone.
You are not invisible.
You are worthy of the support and help you long for.
You deserve to be on your own priority list, and I hope with everything in me you do learn to prioritize yourself.
The cliche is a cliche because it’s true—you can’t fill from an empty cup.
If your cup is empty, please commit to filling yourself back up, in any way you need. Even the smallest things end making a big difference.
And me? Well, I finally figured out that a happy, healthy, and whole mom is better for my family than a mom who continues to give pieces of herself away without keeping any intact for herself.
I rediscovered myself—from the little joys of life that light me up to my passions and big dreams.
And I learned the importance of reciprocity. I give and I take, without guilt or apology.
My family is cared for lovingly and fiercely, and so am I because I’m a priority, too.
Because I am my own person.
I am a model for and a leader of my family, which means I must set the example of what I want for my own kids.
They will do as we do, not as we say, after all.
My name is not only “Mom” and my roles in life do not stop at motherhood.
And the same goes for you, mama.
Let the expectations of those who don’t live your life fall away.
Let the unattainable standards you hold yourself to go.
Learn the art of saying no.
Redefine what a good mom is.
Take a break.
Take care of you.
And for the love of everything holy . . . stop doing it all, all the time, all by yourself.