Show Up

Spring, you vixen. Gracing us with your witchy ways – today, I shall present 60 degree sunshine and make little blooms pop from the once frozen ground! But, tomorrow, I shall cause a wintery, wet downpour and you will be trapped indoors with your children! Dramatic? Maybe. But the schizophrenic weather patterns of the past few weeks has me feeling very stop, start. It doesn’t help that sickness (cold/flu/diarrhea/pink eye) has been a revolving door around here, which perpetuates my rollercoaster of emotions. One week we’re up and ready to take on the world, and the next someone is contagious and we shouldn’t leave the house.

In all honesty, I’m exhausted. After having my third baby in the fall, and enduring winter with two toddlers, I feel like I’m in a constant state of emotional, physical, and mental turmoil – a ping pong bouncing between all the highs and lows of each individual in our household. In a lot of ways, I’m overwhelmed by emotions – I’m as happy as I’ve ever been, and yet my patience is spent, sanity lost.

One of the best ways I deal with these emotions is by channeling them into activity. Getting out the door is usually my mom cure-all – it resets the kids and me, but lately, just getting to the door feels like I’ve run a half-marathon. My typical “I-think-I-can” attitude is a bit more “I-think-I’d-rather-not,” but I am reminded that an essential component of motherhood is showing up when no one else will/can. Everyday, we have the opportunity to be the rock, the anchor, the beacon of hope for our families. We get to be the person who is HERE – armed with snacks, hugs, or well-timed potty jokes.

That being said, the day in, day out of motherhood is hard. We recently had one of those barely-make-it-out-the door mornings as we ventured to one of our favorite farms to run around, dig in the dirt, and feed the baby animals. Trying to time the drive for my 7-month old’s morning nap, I pull into the farm parking lot, and it’s empty. Shit. Are they even open? Did I just drive 45 minutes for nothing? I did what I often do when I doubt myself. I call my mom. I tell her the situation and how I guess I’ll just GPS a nearby park, when she jumps into action mode and calls the farm on the other line. Ha! Rationale. Something I often lack as a sleep-deprived, strung-out mama. Yes, they are open, come on over. So, I turn the car around and park, hoping we’re just early birds. 

We unload and head straight for the giant sand pit that houses toy construction trucks and diggers. The boys get busy, and I get the baby snuggly secured in the Ergo, and happily see a few more cars start to pull in. I see a mama with two girls, and another woman with a small boy. We all start casually chatting about the weather (it feels like spring!), and then do what moms do – compare ages, share a funny story or two, and intercept the kids as they throw sand or steal toys from one another.

One of the mamas had kids the same age as mine, and after they all started following one another from one activity to the next, laughing, and hugging like they’ve known each other their whole lives, I totally drop the classic, “I don’t wanna be weird, but do you wanna exchange numbers?” line. We’re becoming fast friends, and I marvel at how having children as the common denominator opens up dialogue and has given me countless conversation starters – I share things my former kidless self would never care to admit.

But what astonishes me most is the level of support fellow moms lend to one another. Trying to leave our playdate at indoor splash pad yesterday, all three of my children were in hysterical tears – the baby was tired, the two-year old was cold, and the four-year old was upset we had to leave. As I turned embarrassingly to my new mom friend to apologize for the hot mess we we’re, she simply grabbed my shoulder, gave me the most understanding look of compassion, and said, “You’re doing a great job, mama.” I wanted to cry. We’ve only known each other a couple weeks, been on a few playdates, and yet this woman saw me. She gets it because it just as well could have been her walking out with crying kids. We’ve all been there. And, we’ll all be there again. Keep supporting one another, mamas. Keep showing up.

You Got This,