The past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. The last days at the babysitter, the farewell party, the first day of school and the days after that when my daughter only seemed to cry at every farewell. The last couple of days I always had the feeling that I had to glue my broken heart back together again and by the time it has recovered, I get a new crying fit about me. So yes, my mama feeling, or the disappointment in myself as a mother, is currently walking in a vicious circle.
The second week of school has started, the weekend is over. Just like me and my daughter, my heart has known two days of rest. No crying goodbye, no uncertainties or doubts about my motherhood abilities. Heavenly. So now today I feel as if I have regained my energy and am ready for a new series of difficult farewells. This mommy soldier is back in business. And I realize once again that this is my life since I became a mom.
How many times have I bumped into myself in the last two years? How many setbacks have I known in my search for the right way to be a mom? I can assure you I can’t count them on two hands. How many times have I seen the reflection of myself, tired, the bags under my eyes. The times I cried in the shower so no one would hear me. The times I didn’t know where, or how to start. And while I think back to this, I also realize that this is the classic course of a new mother.
Moreover, I also realize that those disappointments and those snapshots disappear just as quickly as they came. I admit that during those terrible moments it seems as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, in retrospect I was unnecessarily worried.
‘So maybe it’s time I call myself a salute that reminds me when I need it, you’ve got this under control mom. You’re a warrior!’
Sometimes I see fellow warriors, other moms, in the middle of the battles I once fought. There are times when I want to assure them that they will get out, but there are also times when I look away and consider myself lucky that I am not that warrior. I’m sorry about that. Sorry for looking the other way sometimes.
Because I never realized how important it is to support your fellow soldiers. It was only when I myself needed such a fellow that I realized how nice a word of support, a look of understanding would be.
I was the mother who walked into the classroom with the crying toddler every morning, I was the mother who wanted to get rid of my daughter’s anger in the store corridors with a bag of chips at ten o’clock in the morning. I was the mother who dressed her daughter in the hospital with crying as a result, and I was the mother who took her home with a lot of nagging after a day on the playground. There were times when I didn’t have a ready solution for her moods. And those snapshots in my playbook of motherhood, they are terrible.
My daughter was never harmed during those moments, not physically, not emotionally. But during those snapshots, my self-esteem suffered some damage, and my daughter was anything but the cause of that. The mothers looking at me, expressing their displeasure because I let things get out of control. At that moment I could have used a fellow warrior who would tell me she understood. I longed for a greeting that would express itself in ‘I know the feeling’. From one mother to another, if only a friendly smile, an understanding gesture. But I was completely on my own. Alone.
Because who better to convince an insecure mother of her superpower than another mother who knows exactly how it feels? Someone who had to function between the schedule of food and dirty diapers. Someone who called off her work herself because she was sitting at home with a child full of vomit. Someone who knows the true definition of sleep deprivation and survival skills derived from powernaps. What better support can you get than one of your teammates?
So the next time I see another mother fighting that one I recognize, I’ll support her. I’ll smile at her understandingly and assure her it’s gonna be okay. The next time I meet one of my colleagues I will greet her. And I greet her with the promise that she will be all right and that I understand her.
And I just hope that her sense of loneliness slowly disappears. That she trusts me and that I convince her that we are going down the same, messy, challenging, beautiful path. With setbacks, battles and victories.
Because that’s what we are, one hell of a team.