Have you seen it? There’s a new, adorable video going around social media. The mom, messy bun and all, greets her hard-working husband at the door when he returns from work. He asks her how her day went. She then tells him about all of the crazy things she dealt with concerning her two small children. Then, the tears come. The daddy tucks the older child into bed and asks her about her day. The child tells her daddy about the same events, except to her it was the best day ever. She doesn’t notice the stress and chaos--just the fun and love of her mother.
I love the video, not going to lie. But where are the videos about real motherhood survival? Where are the videos where a burned out mom hides in the bathroom, locks the door, and cries because she needs a break and it’s only 10 am?
I have days like that resemble the beautiful video and the ugly bathroom cry. While I don’t have the answers, I do know some days we just have to survive the day in and day out drama of motherhood. Here are some truths I’ve learned through my journey.
The days are long but the years are short.
I used to hate this saying. How is this comforting for a new mom in the thick of motherhood? When you’re covered in spit-up, haven’t slept in days, and there is no one to take the baby for a few minutes to help you? I’ve been there. But, honestly, this is true. My oldest child is almost 5 years old. I have to check that as I type, because I swear she was just crawling. Sometimes you just have to survive the day. Need a mental break? Put on a movie. I promise your kids won’t lose brain cells. Need a few minutes alone? Go hide in the bathroom for 2 minutes. It won’t hurt anyone, and if your kids are like mine, they will find you. Find support in others, whether it is your husband, friend, or neighbor. Other moms are great for this. They get it. Create a secret stash of chocolate in your fridge for when you need a mommy pick-me-up.
Kids are like Sour Patch kids.
A good friend told me this once and I thought she was crazy, but it is true. My oldest can be the sweetest thing, and then she can also be quite sour the next minute to her brother. Just remember, they’re kids. They’re still learning and growing, and they need us. It’s a lot of responsibility, but they do need us to help them grow, learn, and become amazing adults and not jerks. Some days you have to just remember this. I used to feel like a failure when Johanna would act out in public or hit me as a young toddler. I mean, come on, I was doing a great job! But, now when we have moments (these days it’s back talk), I remember she’s my responsibility. I can’t control how she acts. I can only control how I react to her and pray that I teach her right.
It’s okay to need a break.
Breaks are amazing. I mean, you beg and plead for time alone, and then you just miss your kids. It has taken me a few years to realize it’s okay when I need a break. Unfortunately, I live in the middle of nowhere. So, breaks are quick trips to Sonic or car rides alone to the store. If you need a break, acknowledge it. Take care of your needs, too. You can’t take care of others without nurturing you a little bit, too.
So hang in there, mommas. Some days are beautiful and some are just beautiful messes on a crazy train express. But, they’re all worth it--every single one.
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of three in Northeast Arkansas where she is working on being more present with her children.