Shop the fall collection ➔

I spend an exorbitant amount of time in my car. I work outside the home and commute about 20 minutes each way, five days a week. Then, as the mother of three busy children (two teens and one almost teen), my time outside of work is often spent running errands to keep my home stocked and my family fed, dressed, and outfitted for whatever they are doing, or I am dropping someone off, picking someone up, or sitting in my car waiting for someone to finish something. While in my car, I listen to music and I scroll my phone. I think. I plan. I snack.

And I do a good amount of crying.

I laughed while I typed that last sentence. I hadn’t actually realized how much time I’ve spent crying in my car until I wrote it. But it’s true. If I’m going to cry about something, it’s most often in my car. And this habit goes way back.

RELATED: Every Mom Needs a Place to Hide

I recently saw a TikTok from a young mother. She was sitting in the back seat of her car in a Target parking lot holding a fussy infant, and she was trying to get her to calm down and nurse. Her hair was a mess. She had no makeup on her face. She used no filters. She added no music. She simply held up her phone, hit record, and spoke to her TikTok audience, through tears. She said she was sitting in her car in the Target parking lot because her baby wouldn’t stop crying, neither she nor her baby had slept much over the last 24 hours, she needed diapers but did not have the energy to take her fussy baby out of the car, get her into the cart, and navigate Target. So they were sitting there, in the car, crying.

As I watched her video I was reminded of a similar moment of mine almost 18 years ago. My oldest was eight weeks old. I had been forced to return to work since I was a new teacher and had limited sick time to take and too many bills to pay. Natalie was still up several times a night, so I was functioning on very little sleep. I had picked her up from daycare and was driving the 20 minutes back home.

It was dark. And she was crying. Loudly.

I had no formula with me and was in the process of weaning her from nursing. I turned off the radio and listened to her wail reciting in my head over and overjust get me home, just get me home. Then, disaster. Traffic. And the combination of her crying, my exhaustion, and the endless brake lights between my car and home did me in.

I pulled into a rest area, got into the backseat, and locked the doors. I took my crying baby out of her car seat, held her close, and cried. I had never, in my entire life, felt so alone. I had this tiny little life depending on me, and I truly had no idea at that moment what to do . . . so I cried.

RELATED: I’m a Mom Who’s Running On Empty

So to the young mom on TikTok who was brave enough to share her lonely moment with strangers, I praise you for your bravery. I wish my generation of moms could have had such an easily accessible support system when we were in the trenches. It seems so strange to say that a silly app filled with so much garbage (yes, garbage) could also be a source of strength and inspiration to many, but that’s exactly what it is providing. Because most likely another young mom saw that TikTok while she too sat in the backseat of her car trying to get her baby back to sleep.

She saw this mom’s desperate, tired eyes and knew she wasn’t alone.

And to all of the other moms sitting in their cars, young moms and more experienced moms . . . I see you. I see you scrolling your phone, too exhausted to do anything else while you wait for your child to finish a lesson. I see you staring off into space, your busy brain spinning with lists of tasks you’ll need to do before bed. I see you eating fast food alone in the parking lot because you know if you brought your meal home, you wouldn’t eat it hot. I see you reading a book while your baby sleeps soundly in his car seat because you know if you tried to move him your break would end, so you took your break right there in the car. I see you blasting 90s pop and singing along, hoping your teen doesn’t come out of practice for just a few more minutes, knowing she’ll change the station when she gets into the car.

I see you crying. I know how hard some days are. I know you just need a space to cry.

I see you. I am you. I’m sitting in my car too. We’re in this together, mamas.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Sara Orris

I am a certified speech-language pathologist working with teenagers by day, a writer sharing my thoughts, fears, wishes, and experiences any free moment I find. I love my children, my husband, and the ocean. See more of my loves and my thoughts on http://instagram.com/saraorriswrites

The Most Exhausted You Will Ever Be Is Not When You Have Infants and Toddlers. It’s This.

In: Kids, Motherhood
The Most Exhausted You Will Ever Be Is Not When You Have Infants and Toddlers. It’s This. www.herviewfromhome.com

People told me it would be harder. The been there done that empty nest mothers. They said, “Just wait until they’re older.” Lovely, I would think. They would stop me in grocery stores (they were shopping alone—so jealous I was) and they would tell me how much I would miss these days—these days spent wiping butts, counters, faces, and toys with the same verve and enthusiasm a sloth shows at a marathon start line. They told me to cherish every minute. Ha! Minutes. The only thing I was cherishing at that time was the amount of minutes I found myself...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Mom Just Needs To Cry

In: Motherhood

My 3-year-old daughter and I took a morning stroll around our neighborhood while my husband and 7-year-old daughter took the dog for a long hike. It’s become part of our daily routine to keep things somewhat structured during this uncertain time. As my little fairy (literally wearing a fairy dress) and I began our walk, she held my hand and smiled as the sun enveloped us. “What should we talk about?” I asked her. My sweet daughter looked up at me with her deep round eyes and said, “You know mommy, sometimes we have to cry,” in a matter-of-fact manner....

Keep Reading

Dear Mama, It’s OK To Cry

In: Motherhood
Sad woman sitting in her kitchen crying

It’s a scenario that is entirely universal and yet wholly isolating—a mother, shielding herself from the chaos of her home, crying, alone. Maybe she’s hiding in a closet, maybe she’s sitting in the driveway. Maybe her kids won’t stop fighting, maybe she hasn’t slept in days. Maybe her kids are ungrateful, maybe her child is sick. Maybe she’s a new mom, maybe she’s got adult children. Maybe she’s sad, maybe she’s overwhelmed, maybe she’s lonely. Maybe she’s you.  It is a truth, a fact, an established and accepted certainty that motherhood is hard. It just is. It pulls more from...

Keep Reading