I see you there, momma, struggling with two jobs and a baby just trying to make life work.
I see you there, momma, wishing it was all so much easier while reminding yourself to be grateful for every single thing you have.
You cry a little more than you used to, driving to work, wishing you could stay home with your sick baby who eats better at your breast and sleeps better in your arms.
You cry a little more than you used to, driving home, kicking yourself for turning in subpar work to the job that’s been generous enough to let you work from home part-time.
I watch your heart break just a little bit every time your baby laughs and then coughs because you just wanna hear her baby belly laughter again. You just want her to be better already. You just want this cough to be gone.
I hear your grumbling tummy, always hungry, never full. You’re never satiated. You just can’t eat enough to feed the all-consuming breast milk machine. Cooking takes time. Eating takes time. And your time is spent on work or on Baby and not much else. Others congratulate you for losing so much weight after having a baby. How little they know. And you couldn’t care less how you look. You’re just trying to eat enough to stay healthy and feed your baby.
And you know you’re a little crazy (no, a LOT crazy) for trying to build a writing career between two jobs and a baby, but the fire in your belly won’t let you stop because you swore you’d give your baby a Momma who’s wildly, passionately in love with what she does. And, aside from you baby, it’s what keeps you going. It’s what fills you up. It’s what lightens your heart. It’s one of the few things that does these days.
But this all makes you soooo tired.
This means you sleep even less than you should. When she’s napping, you’re working. When she’s sleeping at night, you’re working. If your eyes are open, you’re either spending time with your baby or working.
Because you’re a momma who loves spending time with her Baby, so working when she sleeps is the best option.
When you try to sleep at night she coughs so you wake up, rock her, hold her, sing to her, do whatever you have to so she’ll sleep…even if you don’t.
I see you there, Momma, doing way, way, way too much.
Your candle barely had two ends to begin with and you’re burning them down to a nub.
Your mind is already so frayed you can hardly focus and you snap at your loving husband more than before, but these things you’ve accepted as casualties of your currently crazy life.
You get up every morning praying for the sanity to get through the day and you go to bed each night praying for the energy to get through the night.
Everyone says you must put yourself first. Take care of yourself. Put your oxygen mask on before your child’s. Fill yourself up so you can help others.
Here’s what I say:
This is all so temporary. This too shall pass. Hang in there.
Soon, Baby’s cough will be gone and you’ll sleep just a little bit more than before.
Soon, Baby will be better, healthy, even more energetic, and you won’t feel nearly as guilty when you’re driving to work hoping to do a good job.
Soon, Baby will be laughing those loud, long belly laughs you’ve missed so much and your heart will grow lighter, filling with pride for having helped her through a long and treacherous illness.
Soon, writing will occupy so much more of your professional life that you’ll be thankful you plowed through as you did. You’ll be as proud of you as I am that you never stopped. You never stopped.
So I forgive you, Momma, for doing too much. I forgive you for not adding yourself to your endless list of things to worry about. You’re doing the absolute best you can.
I am so proud of you.
Thank you for juggling every dream, every need, and every desire all at once and not dropping any of them.
Thank you for being willing to do the hard things. You’ve always been willing to do the hard things.
Thank you for hanging onto wisps of your sanity despite the tears and the self-doubts and your inner bully.
Thank you for your strength.
Thank you for your faith.
Thank you for being you.
I see you, Momma, and I hold you in my heart with love.