Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Some think it’s a commercial scam to sell cards and flowers.
But motherhood is hard, y’all. Take a minute to applaud yourself.
Accept the flowers with gratitude.
Buy that special cup of coffee.
Go to bed an hour earlier than usual.
Say no to stuff you don’t really want to do.
And stop comparing yourself to others. Mothering is hard. Period.
When my first son was born, someone told me parenting him would be the hardest job I’d ever love. It’s true.
I love watching his arms and legs unfold into a lanky kid who will someday be taller than me. I love seeing my middle kiddo scrawl the letters of his name with steady focus.
But having them doesn’t lessen the pain I feel over missing Reece. How can I possibly compare my individual children against one another? I can’t.
So I hold each one apart.
For years, I would also compare my pain to others’ struggles and complaints. Having a dead son doesn’t mean others aren’t struggling with their living children.
But I always had it worse and I sought comfort in being “the winner.”
At least her baby was alive!
At least she gets to feed her baby with her sore nipples and aching body!
At least she is being woken by a crying baby and not nightmares.
But with lots of therapy, I realized that the crown of Queen Grief is too heavy to wear. Social media has really opened my eyes to the idea that parenting is just hard.
Those who bravely share the truth about their parenting journeys show that it isn’t easy any way you go.
Babies who are born alive might have heart complications. That’s scary.
Some babies might receive a diagnosis of Down Syndrome and for most parents, that’s heartbreaking.
And toddlers with a funny baby walk might be late diagnosed with cerebral palsy caused by birth complications.
And otherwise typical kids can just push every button and make you break down in tears.
The truth is, this parenting shit’s just hard.
We mothers are all doing our best for our kids with what we have.
Fight against the comparisons.
Some of them are Earthside smearing our mirrors that were just cleaned.
And others were lost, leaving us with gaping hearts.
Some babies had heft and nurseries full of things waiting for them.
Others lost were so new and so little that they flew out with the dreams of perfect parenthood.
And others still are locked in dreams of parenthood; those babies longed for but never formed.
It’s ALL hard.
If you are bracing for Mother’s Day 2018, please know I see your hard. There is no comparison here.
There are so many levels of parenthood and so many unrecognized layers of struggle.
Mother’s Day will never be a simply joyous day for me. Without Reece on Earth, it just can’t be.
Maybe for you, that means staying in bed. Maybe it means leaving town for the weekend. Maybe you want to love others who are struggling.
Whatever it is, do it. In truth, we are all doing the best we can.
And you are doing enough, in your own way.
Photo by Arica Carlson
Arica Carlson is married and mothering three little boys, two on Earth, one in Heaven. When she isn’t writing or working, she can be found outside with her family.