It’s been one of those hard, frustrating, upsetting, emotional, confusing, give-me-a-neck-cuz-I-need-to-wring-it kind of days.

Frankly, it makes you unsure of what you’re even feeling. All you know is it’s gross, messy, and mean.

PPD has gotten a lot of you lately. Add people, who should be encouraging, adding more stress and concerns. Add nothing going smoothly and the anxiety-inducing feeling of running in mud because baby needs to nurse and get a diaper changed RIGHT when your toddler needs to eat, and take a nap, and oh, he just pooped. You know this because it’s already filling the room with the familiar aroma stench as he bounces off the couch onto the pillows on the floor and you can just sense that it’s squishing out of his diaper onto every living (and not living) thing. And somehow you know it’s the glue-kind. The kind that takes 10 minutes, 28 wipes and 4 hearty sprays of natural bottom wash to get clean.

You’re running in mud regarding everything. A million thoughts fill your mind each day, with at least a chore for each one, but no longer can you just go take care of Hubby’s work shirts dewrinkling in the dryer, or put the chicken thighs in the crockpot to be ready in time for supper, or vacuum up that dried Mexican rice that’s in the living room carpet since you gave in and ate there last night because watching Fixer Upper with supper can fix anything. You have other more important things calling your name. Or whining it.

You try so hard to do the right thing. You try to be intentional– soaking up these precious, fleeting moments with your littles, while you try to make a home for your husband and family that is at least functional and not toxic. You try to encourage speaking and word usage in a 23-month-old who would much rather not say much more than “Dada,” “Ga-goo,” for cookie, and “Wahwah.” He understands, you can see it in his eyes that he understands what you’re saying. He follows commands and knows exactly what he wants. He’s smart. He figures things out he shouldn’t yet. He has been advanced in physical development since the day of his birth, surprising the pediatrician more times than you can count with how strong and aware and responsive he was. But the fear is there. What did I do wrong that he’s not using more words yet? Did I eat the wrong things, during pregnancy or breastfeeding? Was I or we exposed to some metal or chemical that’s caused a delay? Was it because I had mercury poisoning the year before he was conceived?

You’re discouraged. No. It’s not discouraged. It’s something else. Depressed? Stressed? Anxious? No, none of those fit either. And since there’s no name for it, it’s even more frustrating, and bewildering, and scary. Seriously, is there something really wrong? Why are you like this?

Because. Parenting is HARD. Some days, when all you have is questions, fears and irrationality topped with other’s honest “concerns,” floating around in your head, it sucks. It’s draining, and it’s terrifying, and it’s hard even to mamas (and daddies) who aren’t suffering with PPD.

How do we stop being so hard on ourselves? The mama wars are only losing battles. No one, get this, NO ONE does it right. To each legit mama out there, there’s another who isn’t. That will likely never, ever change. Not in this life. It’s human nature to point and name off everything someone else is doing wrong. So, with all the fingers pointing at each of us, why are we then doing it to ourselves?

Let go. Seriously, let go. Let go of everything for this moment. This one moment isn’t going to change where your little one is developmentally. It’s not going to change whether the clothes are folded and put away. It’s not going to change the fact there is nothing cooking in the crockpot right now. Breathe, pray, ask for peace and guidance, get your Bible out and spend 5 minutes searching for the comfort He promised would be there. And as He promised in 2 Corinthians 1:4, He can use these moments in your life to comfort someone else in the future.

So, let go. Give it to God. Smile at your messy, poopy little ones. Laugh with and tickle and sing to them. Do what you need to to feed and care for your loves, but stop beating yourself up when it isn’t perfect. Be intentional about all of it. We can work joy back into our lives. Let’s do this thing.

And then when no one tells you you’re good at mothering, it won’t matter. Because you’ll know. Rock on, Mama. Rock on.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Tiffany Houseman

Tiffany is Mama to two awesome, sweet little ones, one boy, one girl, and wife to an amazingly talented guy who can do/fix anything - from complex IT issues to major whole-house renovations to cooking a gourmet meal. They live in WNY, and can't wait to move out to the country. She spends her days changing diapers, chasing a toddler, doting on/nursing a newborn, playing house (in real life), and hitting replay on Disney movies so she can share mamahood encouragement, real food recipes and marriage musings over at Wholesome Housewife. As a bought and paid for sinner saved by Jesus' sacrifice, she hopes to remind other mamas that God cares about our work, and to be someone to relate to and laugh with hysterically as we all trip through this thing called being Mama.

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