I see you hanging on by one thread. Piecing everything together, perfectly placing objects in their place, and barely getting by.
I see you getting ready for the day. Trying to brush the knots away, hoping life’s problems can be easily undone. Carefully perfecting the winged eyeliner, just like you’re winging it every day. Taking a long exhale in the mirror, one last look before you tackle the day. You didn’t use to look this, tired and worn out. You think to yourself; this is the best it is going to get.
I see you looking at your wrinkles, the stretch marks, and the bags under your eyes. Your body gave so much to bring the most precious beings into the world. For months you suffered to grow another being, and for days or hours, you labored to bring life. The beauty you once had left in a bundle of joy, leaving you breathless.
I see you struggling to organize everyone’s schedules and anticipating the needs and wants of everyone around you. Making never-ending lists and mentally checking them off. Then going back to the list to see if you remembered that one thing or the other thing. Running into a room to only forget why you went there in the first place. You ask your spouse and kids to help, but they don’t do it the right way. So you say never mind and do it yourself.
I see you in the grocery store with your rambunctious kids. You try to calm them down. You use your low and stern voice, but when it doesn’t work, you bribe them. You see the watching eyes judge how you handle your children—the low whispers and shaking heads. You try to brush it off, but I see you. I know you’re hurt.
I see you packing lunches and carefully choosing healthy snacks. Reading the ingredients and googling the long scary names. Checking Pinterest for ideas and googling how to make the perfect grilled cheese. Only to open their lunch boxes when they come home to nothing touched or eaten.
I see you taking your child’s temperature. Feeling their forehead, their neck, then their body. You struggle to give them medicine while trying to convince them it’s a superhero concoction. You give them their favorite snack and a juice box. You Google symptoms to comfort yourself that it’s just a fever. You watch them intently, then call your mom crying.
I see you losing your cool on your kids. You can only handle so much weight on your shoulders, and now it’s all crashing down. They won’t listen, they’re complaining, and they won’t stop crying. In a split second, you raise your voice. You slam doors. You stomp across the room. You throw the food on the table.
I see you turn your back and start to cry. Put your elbows on the counter and bury your face in your hands. Tears trickle down your face. You start to cry and wonder why you’re not good enough. You think you can’t do this. You can’t do all the things because you’re too busy doing ALL the things. Your mind is constantly running with thoughts and ideas that you forget to slow down.
I see you, mama because I’ve been there too.
I brush my hair, wishing I can brush away the current battles I’m facing. I put on makeup to mask how tired I look. I take an extra look at my mom pooch every day. I have the weight of everyone’s needs on my shoulders, as well as the anticipated ones. I forget easily. I’ve cried in my car because of judging eyes in the store when my toddler wouldn’t stop screaming. I’ve searched on Pinterest for creative recipes only to order take-out instead. I’ve comforted my kids during periods of sickness and then call my mom for comfort. And I’ve lost my cool on my kids, more than I like to admit.
So when you think you’re alone in this chapter of motherhood, you’re not. I see you.