Why Mommy’s Back Hurts

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back7:01AM- I hear you before I see you. Tiny hands reaching for mine. The early morning whispers. “It’s time, Mommy. It’s 7:01. Let’s go!” I sit up and stretch, wondering how I can sleep (read: sleep with interruptions) yet still wake up tired. I stand and shuffle past the heating pad on the floor at my bedside. “Does your back hurt today, Mommy?” I yawn and assure you I just need to stretch. I’m ready for our full day ahead.

7:55AM- We need to walk out the door for the bus stop in five minutes. I’m hunched over the open dryer door, sifting through an over-stuffed load in search of your favorite t-shirt. I can feel your anxious movements behind me without needing to look. You worry we won’t find it on time, and the shirt you have on just doesn’t feel right. There’s no amount of hunching or twisting that would be too much for you. I’ve got this.

11:30AM- I meant to get up and stretch over an hour ago. My posture needs a serious makeover, but when that workflow hits the sweet spot, I just can’t stop. I spent years dreaming of this part-time role so I could be with you more—years of networking, budgeting, and endless experiences to get me here. I shift in my chair and feel that delicious pop in my lower spine. I power through the afternoon to reach my goals, just in time to be the first thing you see when you step off the bus.

4:50PM- I struggle to prep dinner while holding your brother. Inching his way toward two and a half, he’s a pretty heavy little accessory. These days, I live in a constant state of panic, watching our baby grow before my eyes. I can’t resist that little voice asking me to hold him at the end of a long day. He hangs from my neck, reaching for cookies as I retrieve ingredients from the pantry. My upper back screams. He meets my eyes and whispers, “My Mommy.”

5:15PM- Dinner. The three of you sit at your barstools, eating and chatting at the kitchen island. I love this view. You pick at your food, giggle at silly faces, and spill a cup of milk (or two). I stand across, soaking you in, taking the chance to lean forward and stretch out while the moment allows for it.

5:30PM- Your sister has cleared a large space in the living room for front walkover practice. “Can you spot me, Mommy?” she asks with her blue eyes lit up. Dad takes over dinner clean-up as I kneel beside her for 5-50 practice runs. Nothing about this feels great physically, but watching her determination takes me back to my own front walkover days—what a gift. I don’t want to miss this.

5:40PM- The rain has just started. In the warm summer air, those tiny drops are not stopping us. You take my hand and ask if we can jump on the trampoline together. I’ve never seen joy quite like this on your face until we started this tradition. Just you and me, weightless and out of breath. You laugh and tell me this is your favorite thing to do. I try to bottle up the moment and silently ask my body for forgiveness.

6:30PM- I run back and forth from the master shower to the tub in the kids’ bathroom, attempting to wash three little bodies at once. Washing someone else’s hair from the outside of the shower- not a fan. We do our best and call it. We all end up kneeling over the tub, watching the toddler “swim” until the last drop of water has escaped the drain. It’s all fun and games until someone has to wrestle his wet body into pajamas. That someone is me.

7:35PM- Your dad and I take turns laying with each of you at bedtime. I let out some very age-revealing groans as I climb into each bed, exhausted from the day. The tiny morsels of conversation to be had in these moments before bed are worth every ache, every pop, every trip to the chiropractor.

Yep, Mommy’s back hurts. It hurts because it is carrying me through the best years of my life. It shows up day after day, ready to love on my family.

8:00PM- Where’s my heating pad?

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