You may not realize this, but I finish most days feeling like an emotional punching bag for our tween, a complete life-ruiner to our five-year-old because I made him clean up his Lego mess and a literal punching bag to our dear toddler who is going through that "I hit when I'm frustrated" phase of toddlerhood. Sure, I can take it, I'm a mom and it goes with the territory...at least that's what I tell myself after I've had the bedroom door slammed in my face because I said no screens until homework is finished. I'm pretty sure I was miserable to my mother when I was a 13-year-old so I guess it's only payback, right?
Can I tell you what I need from you, though? I mean you're my safe place, the person who supports, loves, and gets me; that's why we decided to create these little human beings, after all, we love each other. It's really simple, really, it won't take any time from you and it will honestly be the highlight of my day:
Help me remember that I am still the woman you fell in love with.
You see I need your help, I desperately need your help. I've been at this "mom" thing for so long that I have kind of forgotten who I am without it. I can't remember what life was like before I held our first child in my arms, I can't remember a time when I wasn't personally responsible for another human being's wellbeing. I need for you to help me remember that I am indeed the woman you fell in love with all those years ago. How can you do this? You can help me remember that I am still that woman you fell in love with by doing these things when you come home from work:
- Say "hi" to me from across the room and the children are all jumping and running to greet you at the door.
- Look me in the eyes and ask me how my day was; I promise you'll be able to tell what happened as soon as you ask.
- When you see toys all over the floor, the dishes piled up in the sink or the naked child wildly running around, just understand that I am actually doing my job, but dinner needs to get onto the table and that means chaos is created because they know that they do not have my undivided attention.
- Please take the kids to another room even if it's for five minutes; I just want to be able to hear myself think.
- Tell me that I'm doing a good job; no one else says it and if they do it's usually because there's a special occasion that calls for it. There is no progress report for motherhood and I'm just winging it, day in and day out.
- Listen to the sometimes "silly" drama that happens in my day, whether it's our daughter throwing a tantrum in the cereal aisle at Target or something that was said to me by another mom, just listen. I don't need you to fix it and I don't want to hear that you think it's silly and not worth the emotional energy. You can tell me later how you really feel, once things have calmed down and I've had my moment to be real with you, but initially, please just let me tell you.
- Understand that this time of parenthood, when the kids are so young and dependent on me, is sometimes isolating, especially if we have a baby. I'm tied down to a nap schedule, feeding schedule and everything else in between. There are some weeks when I literally do not leave the house for days.
- I need you to hug me and show me some affection, not because you want something in return but because you want me to feel loved. I'm giving myself, physically (especially if I'm breastfeeding) and emotionally to our children hourly, every single day, when is it my turn though?
- Sometimes I just want you to pat me on the head and tell me I'm pretty. Yes, pretty, even though I'm wearing the same yoga pants and Hawkeye t-shirt that I wore yesterday and the day before and the day before that, just tell me I'm pretty!
- I do intend on getting to the mountains or laundry, piles of dishes and grocery shopping. Please know that there's nothing I would like more than to have the house spotless for you, however, I am tired and I just spent the last five hours trying to convince our preschooler that I am really serious when I say she cannot have a real birthday party for her stuffed animal elephant. Yes, real, as in bake a cake, wrap presents, you name it, she wanted to do it.
We're both tired and I know that you've been stuck at work for the last eight hours but believe me, there are some days when I would give anything to be stuck in an office and not holding down the fort at home with our young children. I also would give anything to not have to go back to Corporate America so the fact that you work so hard for our family means the world to me; I don't say it enough but thank you for how you provide for us.
I know I need to be more for you and I want to be that woman you fell in love with, she's still there inside me, but some days I've been kicked down so many times it's hard to get back up and remember that I am more than a butt wiper, housekeeper, cook, and teacher. I need your help remembering that I still am that woman you were so madly in love with, you decided to promise your entire life to me. Can you do that?
*Featured on First Time Mom, Huffington Post Parents and Good News.