This is written to the moms of littles. The moms holding a baby in a front carrier (or in their bellies still) while also chasing toddlers, catching them before they run in the road or tumble down the stairs. The moms wrestling a one-year-old on the changing table in the Target bathroom while the ice cream melts in their cart. The moms wiping endless boogery noses and endless dirty butts, so much so that they are unfazed anymore by their children’s bodily functions. The moms up all night breastfeeding, changing pee-soaked sheets, and getting kicked in the kidney by their three-year olds.
The moms who never, ever get a break.
I know who you are. I know your life. I was you for a long time. I know how it feels in August, and then again in early January, and in the spring, when moms of older kids are celebrating. Their kids are going back to school. They raise their glasses in joy and pride that they survived the long weeks of noisy bickering over the iPad and wrestling matches that ended in bloody noses. They aren’t sure how they did it, as the days were long and exhausting, but finally the time has come to drop off their loud (but loveable) little buggers and enjoy a celebratory (and much deserved!) alone trip to Target, Starbucks in hand.
I know how you feel about those moms. You sort of want to chuck your lukewarm coffee at them don’t you? How dare they whine about being stuck in the house with their kids for a week or two or even a whole summer? I know, because that’s how I used to feel.
So I don’t begrudge you for it.
I know your life is one continuous loop of Groundhog Day. Up three times during the night, coffee at 5 a.m., chasing toddlers, nursing babies, maybe showering (probably not), cooking dinner, falling asleep on the couch, and repeat. Every day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.
I know what your days look like. I know that there are weeks when there’s no difference between Saturday and Wednesday and that you’re up at 4 a.m. some mornings, longing for the days of your youth when you didn’t know this was an an actual time to be awake.
I see you.
I see you, mom at the grocery store on a 25 degree day. I know how much work you put into bundling up that little boy riding in the front of the cart. And I see the baby in her carrier, wrapped head to toe in a blanket covered in spit up. I know you’re probably cold too, but a coat and hat for you was just another thing to worry about. You can’t imagine a grocery store trip without them hanging off of you. What must that be like?
I know there’s no break in your future. There’s no change coming anytime soon.
I know you won’t say things like, “Oh no. How will I manage all the kids home all day for the entire break?!” Because that’s your reality. That’s your every day. Seven days a week. 12 months a year.
I hear you.
I hear the resentment in your voice. I hear the jealousy.
I know you.
I was you.
I remember hearing comments like these and wanting to spit fire at these moms. Moms who had hours. HOURS to themselves every day. HOURS of quiet, with no one saying “Mommy” and demanding more milk–the blue bowl not the green one!–or asking you to play Candyland and watch Thomas the Train one more time. HOURS of personal space, of no one touching them, climbing on them, sucking on their nipples, watching them pee, and puking in their hair.
How dare they?!
How dare they complain about a two-week stint of having their kids around when come January 3, they can shower again. They can think again. They can be something other than a butt-wiper and crumb sweeper between the hours of 9 and 3. They can sit at their computer (like I’m doing now) and use their brains again.
I hated them and longed to be them. And now I am one of them. And I, too, wonder how I’ll “get through” the long winter break. And I joke about it on social media and laugh about how much wine I’ll drink after the long days stuck in the house with my three kids.
I got to the end of that tunnel, mommies. I saw the light. And it was glorious.
So I don’t begrudge you, moms of littles. If you want to hate me right now, you go right ahead. No hard feelings on my end. I’ll be here, waiting for you. And when you get to the other side and bring that last child to school in a few years, let’s get a coffee. My treat.