A friend once told me there would come a time when the fog would lift. She was referring to the fog that settles around a mother with small children.
The fog of motherhood comes on so quickly, you almost don’t notice it, but before long it’s so thick you’re only able to focus on the task at hand—raising babies.
Nights out with the girls grow further apart, and your once long, blonde locks are cropped into a soft brunette bob that requires far less maintenance. You tell yourself it’s sassy and fun, but most of the time you pull it back in a simple bun to keep it from collecting bits of breakfast left on sticky hands.
Your trendy wardrobe slowly falls out of style, and you barely notice the designer handbag hanging in the window of your favorite store, as you rush to the kid’s clothing sale next door.
You know what it’s like to be held hostage by a napping child, and you spend all your vacation leave at the pediatrician’s office getting antibiotics for yet another ear infection. You don’t even flinch when your hand finds a half-eaten granola bar smashed in the bottom of your purse.
Before long, you don’t notice the fog at all. The kids continue to thrive, and you’re there every step of the way. You stay up late making the perfect birthday cake, and obsess about which outfit they will wear for family pictures.
You celebrate milestones, cheer when they succeed, and dust them off when they fall. You are their rock, their go-to. You chase away the boogey-man, and read their favorite story twice when they’ve had a bad day.
Your kids thrive, and you are happy.
Then one day, you notice it’s been hours since they’ve needed you. They haven’t asked for a snack, or for a shoe to be tied. You sneak down the hall and peak into their room, where you find them fighting pirates aboard a bunkbed turned sea vessel.
It’s then that you notice the fog, but only as it begins to slowly lift. You realize in that moment of childhood bliss and contentment just how much of yourself you’ve given to them. They’re growing up right before your eyes, becoming more independent, and needing you less.
You watch quietly as the fog retreats a little more each day. You marvel at their independence, their creativity, and their wisdom. They continue to thrive, and you are happy.
Bit by bit you find pieces of yourself you set aside long ago. You collect the nearly forgotten pieces as you go. A book here, a quiet cup of coffee there. Your hair finds its way back to the familiar long locks of your past, and you spend your birthday money on a solo shopping trip for yourself, without feeling guilty.
You realize what your friend was talking about all those years ago—the fog. Your babies are still there, still growing, still thriving, but you can see it all much more clearly without the fog obstructing your view.
And it’s a beautiful sight.