Mom On the Run: The Secret Stress Society

Do you ever feel like you’re just doing TOO DARN MUCH? School runs, play dates, errands, full-time jobs, medical appointments, self-care, spousal care, homework and/or homeschooling, quality time, down time, alone time…kill me. Just kidding. Kind of. 

Really though, is there anyone here who can honestly, hand on heart say that they’ve never felt put upon or flat out dragged down by the rapid hum-drum of everyday life and obligations?

And the pressures. Oh man, the pressures. 

I remember when my first child reached 3 1/2 and was yet to utter a recognizable word. As his main caretaker I felt engulfed by the responsibility of helping him to verbalize, by the fears that he’d be a mute for life, and by the pressures to explain and justify it to every single person who asked me “Oh, he’s not talking yet? Why not? Have you tried speech therapy yet? Billy actually started talking at 18 months. It’s miraculous really. He’s already a shoe-in for MIT. Sorry about yours.”

First time moms get the worst of it in many ways, since by the second, third and beyond child most of us have learned not to give a hoot anymore in regards to ‘mom-petiton’ or the judgy eyes that litter the local playground. But once you have more offspring than parents rattling around the home, things start to take an interesting turn. 

Every trip out of the house, whether for familial or personal (ha!) need, suddenly takes on 17 alter egos as you figure out how to kill a dozen birds with one stone, since there is always so much to get done.

You rock a baby with one foot, while reading to a toddler, finishing a work email, and negotiating lunch with the four-year-old, and you like to think you’re ‘super-momming it’ but if you’re anything like me then you’re screaming a little inside. Because it’s not easy, and frankly mental energy is the hardest to recharge as it doesn’t always replenish with one okay-ish night’s sleep and an over-sized cup of coffee. 

Sometimes I catch myself with my heart rate peaking over 100 (cheers FitBit for telling me more than I really needed to know) just standing still and talking my two-year-old ‘off the edge,’ and I privately wonder just how high my cortisol level really is on a day-to-day basis. And I wonder from time to time, more than that really, why we very rarely talk aloud about these very real stresses without instantly following it up with a #blessed softener, or a ‘mom humor’ dilution of sorts.

I don’t know about you, but while I can often see the funny side hours or days later, at the time when I’m in the thick of it all, there’s no laughing. 

One of my biggest challenges, besides attempting to develop what feels like a beyond human level of patience (I’m failing at that by the way), is the fact that I struggle so darn much with simple, unavoidable, everyday stress. I stress when I can’t make the tiny people I’m 24/7 responsible for make good choices, speak politely, stop fighting with each other or stop creating larger than life messes in 0.5 seconds, and I stress when I just can’t handle it all in the way that I know think that I should be able to. 

It’s just not easy. Nothing in life that’s really worth our time and our hearts is though.

So maybe instead of solely inviting laughter and solidarity from others through silly photos of inconceivable messes and ‘hilarious’ toddler breakdowns in motion, we should lift the veil occasionally on how it actually feels to be on the other side of that scenario in the moment.

It’s okay to feel flat out overwhelmed. It’s okay to fail one second and then nail it the next and then fail once more. It’s okay to feel stressed to the brink from time to time, and it’s okay to reach out and tell someone else that you’re teetering. It’s okay for them to say nothing more than “I’m sorry. I get it. I’m right here.” That’s what (mom) friends are for, after all. 

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