Originally published on Motherly, written by Colleen Temple
Dear Mom. Mom who is overwhelmed. Mom who is tired. Mom who needs a hug. It’s all going to be okay.
I’ve been thinking about this lately. How motherhood is a Catch-22. Some days your kids wake up at 5:45 a.m. and you’re not sure how you’re going to survive the day. You know, “the days are slow, but the years are fast,” and all that jazz. But dang, you’re tired. (Coffee, please.)
Then some days the kids sleep until 8:30 a.m. and you sip coffee in silence and answer emails and take a shower and you’re ready to conquer the day with a positive attitude because you’re the best mom and you’ve already had three cups of coffee because you were so excited and didn’t know what to do with yourself.
It’s all about the back and forth—the ups and downs.
It’s feeling guilty then feeling victorious. It’s being tired but somehow mustering the energy you need to smile and get through the day.
And I just want to say: I think it’s okay to yearn for the day when a quiet, peaceful shower is the norm instead of setting up an army of toys and snacks in the bathroom to occupy your little one. Or to spend eight minutes worrying that you accidentally left scissors out and your three-year-old is going to have a new ‘do because you had the audacity to take the time to shave your legs. (Sometimes you just have to shave your legs.)
It’s also okay—but, to be honest, kind of annoying—to think you hear a child crying when you’re in the shower even though your child is sleeping/being watched by someone else/not even with you.
It is okay to want to sleep through the night but also to run right to your baby when she wakes up crying at 2 a.m.
It is okay to swear “tonight is the night we cut off bedtime nursing” only to give in because it’s easier and you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to stop just yet.
It is okay to want to wear makeup and a regular outfit (yes, including jeans—not yoga pants!) on a regular basis.
But also it isvery much okay to rock yoga pants like it’s your business on the daily.
It is okay to order Hello Fresh for the week instead of going grocery shopping.
It is also okay to feed your children chicken nuggets for dinner because you feel like you have nothing left inside to give and you just need to survive bedtime so you can watch Jane the Virgin in bed when your day is over.
It’s okay to want the whining to stop but to also know that one day you’re going to miss feeling needed like this.
It’s okay to have to close your eyes as you walk out of the house so you don’t see the mess. (If you start cleaning now, you’ll never leave…)
It is also okay to take the time to clean up, to do the dishes, to vacuum, etc., while the kids occupy themselves. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and they need to learn to fend for themselves. Plus, a clean house makes for a clear mind. (Or at least semi-clear…)
It’s okay to simultaneously want to be with your kids but also to want to be kids-free on a beach somewhere alternating between sipping a margarita and frolicking in the sand shouting things like, “I’m free! I’m free!”
It is okay to want to run for the hills once bedtime approaches but also to be sad about missing bedtime stories and kisses.
It is okay to miss your ‘pre-motherhood’ self and the independence you often took for granted but at the same time not be able to fathom who you would be without your children. Or what you would do. Or whether it would be acceptable or not to watch Disney movies all the time if you didn’t have children. (I mean… Could you really live without Moana? The answer is no.)
It’s okay to be a person—a woman—and a mom.
And all the other things. To wear lots of hats—sometimes multiple hats at once. It’s okay to have dreams and goals that involve your family and children and dreams and goals that are just for yourself.
It’s okay to be tired and wiped out and emotionally drained. The second your three-year-old grabs your hand and says, “Mom. You’re a really great mom!” you know it is all okay.
Give yourself permission to feel all of these complicated feelings at once. It’s going to be okay.
The Marriage Minute is a new email newsletter from The Gottman Institute that will improve your marriage in 60 seconds or less. Over 40 years of research with thousands of couples has proven a simple fact: small things often can create big changes over time. Got a minute? Sign up below.