No matter who you are, the pressures of motherhood can sometimes be very overwhelming. From cleaning, cooking, doing laundry to raising families and being a chauffeur we expect so much of ourselves.
We have always been told we can have it all.
We can and we can’t. The pressure not only surrounds us but we also at times (in my case most times) create it out of nowhere. We have an inner critic that is so incredibly loud it’s often hard to silence. Is the house clean enough? Are my kids doing all the things? Am I a good mom, wife, daughter, and friend?
Am I enough?
Last week many children throughout the country who are my children’s age went back to the classroom. My children have remained virtual. Through the highlight reel of Instagram and Facebook, I got to watch so many “second first days.” They were amazing and everyone looked so excited, and I was excited for them.
I was also ridiculously jealous.
I had just come off of a quarantine of 24 days, alone. I had recently lost 2 people close to me and I was feeling completely overwhelmed. I had nothing to celebrate. Everything for me would be exactly how it was yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. I reached out to friends and talked to them about how I was feeling. The message I was hearing over and over was, “you are so strong” and “you are the strongest person I know.”
So how could I possibly fall apart when everyone was expecting me to hold it together.
My days consist of getting the children ready for virtual school, picking up food from our local elementary school, and getting myself ready – all before 8 AM when I sit on my couch 10 – 12 feet away from my son (he needs frequent redirection) and try to work. I take calls and have virtual meetings, prevent fights, and support all 3 boys while hearing a 4th-grade class until 1 PM daily – and then often there is enrichment. We still live with autism even in lockdown, even in quarantine, even with whatever we call our collective way of life now. Every day is the same. I get up with a smile and put on dance music and try to be positive. And still, every day is the same.
And then the bench broke.
And I just couldn’t anymore. I walked into my sons’ room and there he was standing there and crying. I began yelling that this was the fourth seat that had been broken by him. I was so angry that it didn’t even dawn on me to ask if he was OK. And that’s when I knew I needed to walk away. And I did.
I walked right out the door and sat in my car and cried. And then I got some Starbucks came back home and cried.
I am strong. I am amazing. I can handle a lot. I can’t handle everything.
And I shouldn’t be expected to, either from myself or anyone else. It’s OK to stop for a minute. It’s OK to breathe and take a minute to ground yourself. It’s ok to not be OK.
I may not be as strong as you think I am – and that’s OK.