I had a blog friend text me the other day. A friend of a friend that was a blogging acquaintance. I say that now, because after such an intimate conversation via text, I consider her a friend. A fellow confidante, in the trenches of motherhood.
She's like most of us. Or maybe how we once were. Simply drowning in the every day motions of motherhood. The littlest things, the morning wake up calls from tiny humans; the breakfasts that are fit for a short order cook; the struggle to get dressed, put shoes on, maybe get out of the house today... She's there. Right there is the middle of the chaos and joy, trying to find her place and herself before she loses her grasp on both. I see her, hell, I recognize her. I was there once, and it's a battle to get to the other side of it. Luckily, she is a fighter, and her first step was to admit some truths.
Truths like hating days where they can't leave the house because daddy has the car. Days where one kid will wear clothes, the other will refuse, and the third just won't stop crying. Days where your best laid plans of making waffles or pancakes from the box mix are dashed because you're out of syrup or eggs, or the kids won't stop screaming about Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Days that feel like months, where showers and hot meals allude you. Those truths, where you love your kids, but running away looks damn good right about now. Running and never coming back seems super reasonable.
But in your heart you know it's the most unreasonable thing in the world. And for even thinking such a thing must make you the most ungrateful, horrible, mommy dearest on the planet.
I've got news for you. It doesn't. It makes you human.
She admitted that she just wants her life back. "I just want me back".
And so I told her. That is the worst part of motherhood sometimes, the want for you. The you that you used to be. The you that had sure footing and made great decisions. The you that had grace under pressure. The you that had all her shit together, in the right places, at the right time. The you that wore make up and showered, on the same day even. That you. The one that you long for, and cry for at night.
In a way she is gone, but also still here. I can tell you, as I told her, from experience, that she will come back to you. Changed and perhaps hardened, she will come back. But first you have to do the hard stuff. The messy diapers and spit up stuff. The taking it day by day, night by sleepless night, the three different dinners for three different children, kind of hard. And all the hard stuff is going to feel like it sucks and like it's never ending, and that you may not survive it.
But you will survive it, and from my experience you will one day look back and miss the hard stuff. Even though you didn't enjoy it, even if you wished it to pass you by faster, one day you are going to stop in your tracks and miss it. Miss the sleepless nights with a baby. Miss the sweet sleeping baby in your lap at nap time. Miss chicken nugget dinners for one, grilled cheese for another. One day you will miss those little bodies that climb into your bed at night, so silently that they don't even wake your weary tired self. You will positively miss that stuff.
No matter your experience in motherhood, you will still long for you. Even though you have changed, you will still want to feel like your old self. The one who knew a thing or two about life. The one who still had time for her husband who sometimes feels like a stranger since having kids. The you who knew herself. Knew her fears and hope and dreams, and knew how to get what she really wanted out of life. That you, who seems so terribly far away.
My advice to her and my advice to you, let it all go. Let go of that plan. Let go of the idea you had about motherhood. How it was going to be for you and your baby. Let go of that plan to be perfect and make you own baby food, breast feed exclusively, not let your kids watch TV all day every day. Let go of that. Let go of the idea that there is a formula for a perfect and put together mom. That there are rules to live by. That there are right ways and wrong ways. Let go and embrace what you have now. The mess and the chaos. The babies that like only foods that are orange or will only eat apples on Tuesdays at three. Embrace the messy house, that isn't hoarders, but isn't exactly company ready either. Embrace the new plan, the one that allows you to be happy. The one that allows you to be you, honest and true, the plan that let's you breathe and be grateful for the mess.
Embrace all that is good about you, and your family, and your imperfect mess.
You will always have a want for "you", because "you" are always changing. No matter how old your children get or how many you have, there will always be room for change. Change is good, change is what makes us interesting and strong. So change, shed your skin again and again, find your happiness and your grace. And embrace you chaos, always. Mostly, make sure you continue to find yourself, even on the darkest days.
I know from experience, that "you" are totally worth it.