This morning, at 5:30am, with my entire body aching, I texted my mom while rocking and feeding my daughter, Bara Faith:
“Please tell me this sleep deprivation thing is a temporary part of motherhood.”
After not being able to fall asleep until 2am, to then be woken up for a 3am feeding, and now 5:30am, I was about to lose my mind. She had gone from sleeping 12 hours a night, I was finally getting full night sleeps again, to now, suddenly at almost 10 months, this sleep regression thing.
Waking my own momma up at the crack of dawn with my texts, she stirred from her sleep to simply reply what I needed to be reminded:
“You are a good momma.”
And sometimes we just need that little reminder. Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had. After waiting so long for this role that I desperately prayed and hoped for, no one can quite prepare you for how insanely difficult, draining, selfless it all is until you’ve actually experienced it. Yet despite feeling like a zombie all day everyday, it’s this strange most joyful and fulfilling and rewarding thing ever knowing God has trusted this small human in your care who, even on the hardest days, flashes that certain smile at you and melts your heart to mush making it all worth it. I never knew I could love someone so fiercely, while being so joyfully exhausted all at the same time.
So this little letter is for my fellow stay at home moms of little ones out there who I once wondered “What do stay at home moms do all day?” And to those mommas who hustle outside the home, I applaud you also, because I just don’t know how you do it either.
Dear Stay At Home Mom,
On hardest days when you just don’t know if you can function any longer, I want you to know I see your sacrifices. You are a good momma.
I see you getting up in the middle of night, sometimes several times a night, while your husband probably peacefully sleeps, wondering if you will ever get a full nights sleep again in this lifetime.
I see you stumbling to the kitchen in the dark to grab the bottle, or grab the pump, or grab the pacifier as you try with one eye open to soothe your little one.
I see you in the morning, looking in the mirror, not even caring what you look like anymore because it takes everything inside of you just to throw up a mom bun and throw on some yoga pants in between the constant demands of your baby needing you. And I see how accomplished you feel on the days you do actually get to do your hair and makeup.
I see you looking at the shower debating if it’s even worth the effort to try to squeeze one in that day knowing it won’t be relaxing because you’ll either be listening to your baby cry with separation anxiety or listening to one more round of their favorite cartoon’s song you now know every word to that you hope will entertain them long enough so you can actually wash the grime off yourself.
I see that cup of coffee that gets a few sips in the morning, then is abandoned throughout the day, maybe sipped on a few more times in between the mom hustle, then when you find it at the end of the day, you are impressed if you actually see the bottom of your cup. Though that’s usually not the case.
I see those dishes and laundry piling up, and it’s perfectly ok, because when your baby actually naps, you just want to squeeze in your favorite TV show to recharge, or nap also, instead of actually doing chores.
I see you having just made your lunch in a peaceful quiet moment that you baby is playing, only to sit down and take your first bite and suddenly, your baby needs something… again… so you jump up to handle it, come back to shove in a bite, your baby needs something else, you shove in another bite, you baby needs something else, and you finally give up on lunch realizing gone are the days you can finish a meal in one sitting.
I see you wishing you had a mute button some days for the highest possible random screeches you didn’t know were possible as your child learns to find their voice like a constant alarm clock going off all throughout the day with no snooze button.
I see you wanting to have a normal phone conversation but knowing it’s just not realistic without a meltdown/highest possible random screeches starting any moment in the background in three… two… one….
I see you trying to debate with someone who can’t even talk yet to try to convince them at mealtime to take… just… one… more… bite.
I see you jumping up always trying to be one step ahead of them as they are learning to be mobile, never really sitting longer than 5 minutes throughout the day at any given point in your day.
I see you wanting to curse every stop light and stop sign because of how it triggers your little one in the backseat to completely lose it when the car, how dare it, stops at any given point in the ride.
I see you passing by the nail place, as much as you love you little one, wanting so much to just have an hour to yourself to go get a pedicure and read gossip magazines without a squirmy little octopus crawling all over you.
I see you trying to entertain your baby by giving them all the fancy toys we didn’t have back in our day, and all they want is the one thing they can’t have. Your phone.
I see you breaking every rule you ever had about limiting screen time because you just need a few minutes to recharge. Or pee.
I see you wondering if you will ever be able to use the restroom privately again.
I see you trying to make dinner and just when you think your baby is cool calm and collected in the high chair or playpen or walker to allow you to prepare dinner, that’s when they decide to meltdown, leaving you to decide, do you choose to burn dinner, or soothe your baby?
I see you dropping the baby off at Grandma’s to actually go get some errands done, buy some groceries in peace, get a date night with your hubby (all while sneezing at the dust you had to brush off your stilettos for that date night because who has time to wear those anymore?).
I see you tiptoeing away from the nursery after you just spent a good hour trying to put your little fussy one down for the night, hoping that the slightest noise won’t undo all your hard work only to have to repeat the cycle… all… over… again.
I see you trying to work from home, if you do, sometimes sacrificing what should be your relaxing evening time to get that work in, because it’s just too hard to try to focus during the day. I see you sacrificing even more sleep to hustle to want to provide a good life for your child. Because you just want so bad to give them the best of everything in this life.
I see you staying up even later after baby and husband are in bed to… just… have… a… moment… to… yourself… where no one needs anything from you… and deep breathe…. knowing you have to do it all over again the next day.
I see you wondering how much more exhaustion you can take caring for someone else’s every single need, but then they smile or giggle or lock eyes with you when you rock them, telling your eyes with their smile how grateful they are to have YOU as their momma, their fierce protector, their first true love, and suddenly it’s like a jolt of expresso to your heart and you remember all the sacrifice and loss of sleep is… absolutely worth it.
I see you. AND YOU ARE A GOOD MOMMA. Don’t ever forget it.
Photo at the top of Bara Faith at 3 weeks by the beautiful Ginny Hobbs. Photo above of Bara Faith at 9 months courtesy of my iPhone.