Dear struggling mama,
I am writing this letter to myself as much as I am writing it to you. I am that struggling mama. I am tired. I am worn. The constant noise of my toddlers is ringing in my ears. I can count on two hands the number of times I have slept through the night in the last five years. You walk into my house and I am embarrassed at the toys scattered on the floor or the laundry that has been sitting in the dryer for days.
If you walk into my house you will hear the stubbornness of my 3-year-old daughter, whose seemingly endless cries of “I’m hungry” grate on my nerves. You’ll see my highly sensitive son throw himself on the ground in a barrage of tears because he does not yet know how to handle the big emotions he feels. You will see me curled up on the couch asleep, hiding away from the responsibilities that sometimes just seem too much.
As my days drag on in monotony, I see life passing me by. I see my teacher-husband leave in the morning and come home at night passionately talking about his students. I see my old high school friends earning Masters and Doctorates and living out their dreams. And I feel left behind and purposeless.
When I was first married, I couldn’t wait to have children. But somewhere along the way, I lost the joy in parenting. So often I see and focus only on the hard moments. I wake up in the middle of the night and pray, “God, I am so tired.” I feel so deeply the shame and guilt of my mistakes in parenting. Too quickly, I am overcome with frustration at the little souls that have been entrusted to my care. Perhaps you can relate?
Struggling mama, let me tell you something. You are not alone. I guarantee you that for each night you cry yourself to sleep, another mom is lying awake feeling exactly what you are feeling. Each time you regret how you lashed out at the precious little ones who look up to you, I guarantee you another mom is fighting that same exact guilt. Each lonely moment, another mom is out there feeling the same. Take heart. You are doing a good job. You have a strength in you that you might not even know exists.
At the end of a long day, I want to remind myself—and perhaps you—that this is merely a season. Your toddler will not climb into your bed forever. You won’t always have to change diapers or answer endless questions or deal with the meltdowns that make you feel as if everyone watching is judging or criticizing.
I hope I can learn to calm my mind and maybe even enjoy this season that is quickly passing. Yes, it may be a hard season, but I have to remind myself it is also a joyous one. There is nothing quite like the toothless grin of my 4-month-old baby or the creativity of my two toddlers when they play with each other. So tonight, I take a deep breath and thank God that He has blessed me with this challenging season of life. And I pray that in the hard moments, I will not forget He sustains me and has uniquely equipped me to mother my children. And I thank God I am not alone in this journey of motherhood . . . and neither are you.