“I can’t do this anymore”. It’s a phrase I find myself muttering at least a hundred times a day.
At 3:15am, when I’m standing alone in the darkness, patting, patting, patting the warm back of my tiny human. Exhausted and in desperate need of sleep because it’s the 4th time I’ve been awakened by her cries… I find myself holding back my own tears that threaten to spill their dam as I plead silently with God “Help me, I can’t do this anymore”.
At lunchtimes when we engage in yet another battle of wills, and I find myself bribing, negotiating and finally, pleading with my child to eat just one more mouthful … I mutter – defeated – under my breath “I can’t do this anymore”.
In the evenings when my already high maintenance child turns into the worst form of herself, throwing her head back screaming in yet another tantrum for no apparent good reason, I choke back hot tears as I contemplate running away and think “I just can’t do this anymore”.
On Sunday afternoons, after a long weekend of not having even a single minute to myself, still in pajamas because I haven’t found the time to shower, expired from the endless cycles of feeding, playing, singing, reading to the kids… all the while building a wall of guilt around myself for not doing enough, I find myself feeling drained and inadequate with only one thought: “I can’t. I can’t do this anymore”.
If you’re a mom, I’m pretty sure you feel this way at least once (if not many times) a day. When the fatigue overtakes you, coupled with a healthy dose of guilt for good measure, it’s not hard to feel like you’re coming up short in just about every area of Motherhood.
But what I need you to remember is this:
In those dark hours of the morning when you feel all alone rocking, nursing, patting, lulling your baby back to sleep for what feels like the millionth time … You are NOT alone. I can guarantee you that a few hundred other moms are walking in your shoes at that very moment.
When your child won’t eat the meal you found time to lovingly prepare, and would rather spit it down the front of her T-shirt … know this: You are NOT alone. All over the world exasperated moms are fighting that very same war.
When your toddler throws down the mother of all tantrums because you won’t let him smack you in the face with the TV remote … stand strong – you are NOT alone. Parents have lived through their children’s outbursts since the beginning of time.
When the weekend seems never-ending and you feel like you don’t have a single thing good left to give … hang in there. You are NOT alone. Monday will come and Daycare will reopen; and as you sit at your office desk surrounded by the adult company you longed for, you will find yourself daydreaming about those sticky, chubby hands around your neck.
My point isn’t that misery loves company… but merely a gentle reminder that you are NOT alone.
The world over, moms have faced arduous moments. Moments that threatened to break them. Moments that seemed to expend all they had inside them. Moments that made them want to scream out loud: “I can’t do this anymore!” But they got through it… by sheer will, by insurmountable love; because no other choice exists but to keep ploughing on.
And when they had climbed their respective mountains and reached the other side where the sun shines so brightly, they realised that they COULD do it. They had it in them all along.
And so do you.
Exhausted, frustrated, sleep deprived mama: on those days that seem unending, in the groundhog existence of feed, change, sleep and repeat … just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Keep ploughing on. This too shall pass.