monday was one of my hardest days yet as a mother. it was snowy and rainy out. we never left the apartment. we played, we sang songs, we read books and colored and the kids even napped. but by 3:30 in the afternoon, i was done for the day. i put my kids in the tub for their bedtime bath even though it was only mid afternoon and i sat on the floor beside the tub while they played in the bubbles and cried. eleanor looked up and scrunched her face while extending her hand towards me and said, “mama cry. mama sad?” i told her yes, i was sad. and that i was tired. and that mama wanted a nap. she asked if i had a boo boo. i told her no boo boo, but she kept asking to see my boo boo. she asked to kiss it better. i told her to kiss my cheek. that it would help me feel better. she stood up in the tub and held my face between her wet hands full of bubbly soap and kissed me. i cried even harder (which may have confused her) and thanked her for my kiss. it was just so sweet and tender. and it helped put everything in perspective. it helped me feel a little bit better.
in those moments where you are beat by 3:30 in the day but the day is hours away from over and you aren’t sure you’ll make it to dinner time…. in those moments where you might feel alone or anxious or overwhelmed with this big job of motherhood, where you sometimes don’t have any idea what you are doing yet you are trying your best…in those moments where others, whether some place online behind a screen of anonymity or even straight to your face at a grocery store tell you you aren’t doing it well enough and criticize your parenting choices without thinking twice about what they are typing or saying as they turn every parenting issue into a battle… just know that you are doing a wonderful job. you are doing your best. and your best is good enough. if your kids go to bed after 9:30 instead of 7, it’s ok. if you let your baby crawl around on his hands and knees of a museum floor, that’s ok too. if your baby is still breastfeeding past two or was formula fed since birth, co-sleeping with you or sleeping in a crib, wearing cloth or disposable diapers….at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks about it.
what matters is that after you researched all your options, you have decided what is best for you and your family, and that you are doing your best. you love your little family (most days!) and they love you back (…. most days!). what matters is that you are making the most out of your life together and enjoying it as best you can.
it’s ok to cry. it’s ok to have bad days, too. and it’s ok if the way you’re choosing to do it isn’t the way another would. i’d like to think i have pretty thick skin (putting anything out here on this thing called the internet has sure toughened it a bit). but thick skin or not, we are all human. and there are days where it is difficult to put on a tough face and carry on. but not all of us are judgy and critical. so don’t let ‘those people’ get you down. no one has this thing figured out perfectly. and we are all in this together.
after eleanor kissed my boo boo better, i reminded myself of this, wrapped my littles up in their towels and carried on as best i could the rest of our day together.
*photos by tim coulson. they don’t really have anything to do with this post, really. but i like pictures with posts. so there you go!