I took this picture today because I want to remember the messy, hard, falling apart days of mothering.
This is me after one of my kids had a giant public meltdown. The kind where I carried her flailing and kicking past teachers and students, and then put on a little show in the corner of the school yard for all who enjoy watching a mom try and tame a wildcat.
The tantrum didn’t end even after the half mile walk home. By that time I had threatened to take all of her toys FOREVER and was mentally fantasizing lighting them all on fire in the backyard. We headed straight to her room, I set her on her bed (as well as one can “set” a tornado in a place), grabbed every toy in sight, shoved them in their giant toy chest, and pushed it out the door taking a piece of floor trim with it. She was wailing “Nooooo not Flufffffy!!!” as I rammed it down the hall to the garage past my other three wide-eyed children.
Don’t worry, I settled on three days of toy jail. No romantic wine and toy-fire for me tonight, I guess.
I then sat down in the arm chair and started to cry.
I just lost it. I don’t always lose it, but today I did. It was enough to where my boys asked me if I was okay, and that is a pretty big deal because usually they just ask me for a snack if I’m crying.
Parenting is hard sometimes.
I am a mom and I am a mess.
There are moments when I feel so ill-equipped, so in over my head. There are times when I’m sure I have no idea what the eff I’m doing.
How am I old enough to be these people’s mother?
Now this recently tantruming girl is snuggled in my lap. Her red swollen eyes are matching my red swollen eyes and we are all tangled up…a beautiful mess. We are a beautiful, exhausted, red-eyed mess.
I’m sure a thousand strangers have seen me unravel. They might not know I was unraveling, with my stoic face and teeth sinking into my bottom lip. They may have seen me with a carseat in one arm and a little hand in the other as both babes screamed and I struggled to swipe my credit card. They may have seen me hunched in a corner trying to nurse a baby who was colicky and angry. They may have seen me rushing into an urgent care with my six-year-old in my arms. I may have seemed calm, but inside I was almost entirely undone. I was unraveled to the point where there wasn’t much left to hold me upright. My hands were shaking and I fought to keep back the tears.
I am not a “together” mom, I don’t think. I’m an unraveled, doing her best mom.
I think we are all that way sometimes.
These days are sacred and precious. They are beautiful and hard.
So, I took this picture because I don’t want to just remember the highlights. Motherhood is beautiful even when we’re broken.
Maybe especially when we’re broken.