Dear Mom Trying To Keep It Together.

It has been a long year. It all started with a New Year’s resolution to find some time to yourself, maybe go to the gym more often, eat better, craft more, be more patient…And then, the winter and its short and cold days meant the kids got sick, or the snow locked you in, and you had to take out stock on Kleenex and chicken soup companies just to get by. With all the times that you had to keep the kids home, you hit your insurance deductible by the beginning of March, probably because someone in your kid’s class when to school with a “low grade” fever, or the stomach flu, and of course your little germ-magnet love bug who loves to share caught it. The groceries delivery driver now knows your name and how you take your coffee, and even then, every day you realize that you forgot one or two ingredients for the meal that you have so carefully planned for your family, so you’ll load up your children in your car, wrangle them in and out of their coats and in and out of their top of the line spaceship-resembling car seats that you read about in a mommy blog, and head to the supermarket, only to listen to them cry about the twenty snacks you didn’t buy them, and subsequently refusing to eat the dinner you made because it isn’t pasta or pizza. Your partner will then catch whatever it is that the children have, and they will be left with no choice but to suffer this great pain in bed for a week, not to be disturbed as there is a chance they may be fighting the bubonic plague, holding on for dear life. More Kleenex and chicken soup. People should start referring to you as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll get the germs too, but you are Super Mom! Moms don’t get sick.

It’s ok, it will get better.

The days started getting longer, and the weather started getting nice enough that the kids can wear their jackets and play in the playground without tumbling over from the weight. Hooray fresh air! You know set up a goal for yourself that you will try to walk outside a little more, take in the crisp cold air that doesn’t hurt your face like days past, maybe even run? Who knows! So many options now that you can experience the other side of your living room window. And then, like clockwork, allergies will hit, and you will spend your time between runs to the pharmacy for decongestants for you and everyone else in the house, cleaning out every corner to make sure that all the dust is gone so everyone can breathe again. Once that’s done, you’ll stare longingly at those gym sneakers that have been taunting you since January, promising yourself that you will take them out for a spin tomorrow because you are finally ready. The next morning, you’ll drop your kid at school, load that new baby into their stroller, all bundled up and after the third change of clothes and diaper blowout (because the first two were obviously uncomfortable and triggering life-ending meltdowns), put on those sneakers, only to find out that you are one of the lucky ones whose feet grew enough during pregnancy that your super expensive brand new sneakers that your partner got you during the holidays in preparation for your year of fitness are too tight, while the brand new workout clothes you got yourself with all the gift cards you got during the holidays for this momentous occasion don’t thanks to all the cookies and treats you baked while the kids were home sick. This will then trigger a chain of events that will lead to you loading your car with bags upon bags of clothes and shoes and everything else that doesn’t “spark joy” (or reminds you that you once had a life outside of changing diapers) and driving to the nearest donation spot in an attempt to clean out the bottomless pit of clutter that is your home. And once you’re done and start feeling that wonderous sense of accomplishment that you have been craving since January first, your child will have a meltdown because they can’t find the little McDonalds Happy Meal toy they got two years ago that they now NEED so they can go to sleep.

It’s ok, it will get better.

The end of the school year approaches. You have summer camp for the kids lined up and are on a sprint to get your youngest out of diapers so they can attend the camp you already paid for. Your oldest has three different end of the year school events including two special days at school that will require you to make a costume (or like me, scour Amazon for the closest and fastest option), so you are trying to manage your schedule around nap times and appointments in order to make it to the supermarket and buy the nut/milk/egg/sugar/gluten/everything else free cupcakes that you signed up to bring when you decided that being class mom was a good idea. Two nights before one of those events, at least one of the children will spike a low-grade fever, or vomit some shade of green, so you’ll need to figure out how to juggle the upcoming event. And of course, your partner will catch this new mystery bug. As the school year ends, your child will come home with a huge bag of adorably oversized art projects that they expect you to hang somewhere in the house. Then, as the weather heats up, you’ll find yourself using any and all sources of water in your backyard in order to cool off and avoid the one-hour trip to the pool, which will take five hours to prepare for. You’ll obviously lose that battle and will end up packing a suitcase and heading to the pool, only to deal with the meltdown resulting from your rookie mistake of forgetting their swim goggles. Your baby will then end up pooping straight through the two swim diapers you packed (another rookie mistake), and you’ll end up with two, overtired and disappointed kids screaming all the way home, too overtired to nap and too tired to function like normal human beings.

It’s ok, it will get better.

Before you know it, October will be here. You’ll find yourself chasing your child down the street while they wear some costume that you had to pay a fortune for, since the costume they had been planning to wear and that you so responsibly bought two months ago is no longer cool enough. You’ll watch your child go knock on doors, while you pray they get a few snickers bars or skittles bags, which you plan on eating while putting your feet up and binging on your latest Netflix obsession. Then November will come around, and since you have selective memory and signed yourself up as class mom again in hopes you’ll get a chance to interact with other adults (and possibly commiserate about how terrible this age group is), you’ll find yourself looking for allergen-free options for the class Thanksgiving feast. You’ll barely survive the first school break of the year, after spending two days cooking for a small army, while your children yet again opt to just eat the bread rolls and possibly some freshly-made noodles that you had to make in the same pan you used to make the stuffing, since you haven’t had a minute to catch up on all the pots and pans in your sink while the rest of your family watches the football game. Then, holiday season will come around, and since you like to really aim high, you’ll find yourself walking aimlessly around the mall, hoping to find the perfect holiday present for the 25 relatives that you get to see this one time of the year. Eventually, you’ll get a phone call from the school that your child is leaking through their nose and needs to be picked up. You give up on the mall and stay up until 2am with a glass of wine, browsing through everyone’s Amazon wish list, and thanking God for Prime because you lost track of time, and the holidays are in three days. You’ll survive the holidays, and before you know it, it’s time to set your new New Year’s resolution.

And this… this is where it will get better.

You’ll look back at this past year. You’ll remember all the cuddles you got to share with your babies as they reached out to you to make the pain go away. You’ll remember that moment of peace you got to share with your partner as you kept them company while they thanked you for something yet healing as simple as chicken soup. You’ll remember the smile on your child’s face when they realize you made them their favorite type of pasta. You’ll remember all the really cute outfits you got to try on your rapidly growing baby. You’ll remember how proud your child was when they found out that donating their toys went to other kids in need. You’ll remember how your child’s face lit up when they saw you walk into their classroom with a tray full of cupcakes. You’ll remember the hours you spent with your children as they gave detailed explanations of each of their carefully curated art projects. You’ll remember the way you all laughed on the way back from the pool as the baby had to wear big sibling’s clothes and how funny they all looked. You’ll remember how much fun you all had picking out the Halloween costume, and sharing candy that night as a special treat after dinner (and how much candy you got to enjoy with your wine that night after bedtime). You’ll remember how much fun you had reconnecting with all the family members you don’t get to see throughout the year. You’ll remember your children’s faces as they open their presents for the holiday. And most of all, you will remember how good it felt to bring so much joy to everyone in your life, as you spent your year living through all these moments.  

Maybe for next year, make your resolution to give yourself more grace. You’ve earned it. You are what keeps everyone together; just make sure you do the same for yourself.


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