I have been that mother—the really focused, engaged, loving mother who was all in, enjoying every speck of every second of motherhood. I have had days of basking in the moment and wanting it to last forever. I have been her, all of her. She is the woman I wish I was for my children at every moment.
But I have also been a mother who felt like I could not answer one more question, listen to anymore crying, clean up one more mess. A mother who has felt so tired I thought I would split in two. I have been all of her too, every bit of her.
I have been the mother that has sped away on a rainy Saturday night because my four walls were closing in on me and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
I have been the mother who has wanted nothing more than to stay in and embrace all the crazy commotion.
I have been the mother who spends an hour helping her child with homework, able to hold on to my patience and a smile.
I have been the mother who snaps a pencil in half helping with homework just five minutes in.
I have been the mother who shows up on time, wearing a nice outfit with my hair done.
I have been the mother who shows up late, wearing dirty activewear, frazzled and overwhelmed.
I have been the mother who can’t wait for my kids to go to bed, craving the silence.
I have been the mother who can’t wait for my children to get home from school because I miss them so much it physically hurts.
I have been the mother who feels like she can clean the whole house with one hand tied behind her back.
I have been the mother who lacks any kind of energy because I have let my tank run on empty for too long, again.
I have been the mother who makes an organic meal from scratch.
I have been the mother who heats up chicken nuggets and serves them with a side of chips in front of the television.
I have been the mother who cannot take her eyes off her precious, beautiful children, feeling like I am the luckiest woman in the world.
I have been the mother who ignores her child because I cannot watch them make a silly face one more time.
I have been the mother who felt like she handled a tough situation with some grace.
I have been the mother who has laid awake at night, filled with worry and sadness because I did a really shitty job.
I have been the mother who has gotten compliments in a restaurant because my children were being polite and well-behaved.
I have been the mother who has had to drag more than one screaming child out of a public place.
I have been the mother who has screamed—not just yelled, but really screamed.
I have been the mother who can keep it together when I feel like I might break in two.
Maybe you have seen me during one of my better moments and thought I had my shit together.
Maybe you have seen me doing something I would like (me and my children) to forget and thought I was a mess.
It really doesn’t matter how you see me. It matters how I see myself.
I see myself in all mothers, the ones who are nailing it, the ones who are struggling. One moment or one day cannot define who we are as mothers. At one time or another, most of us have been all of these mothers, all of these beautiful mothers. This is motherhood.