The Exaggerated Life As a Mother

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Life sometimes feels like an exaggeration. When I open my mouth or write about something regarding motherhood, I think and look back on it and wonder if it’s actually believable. Life happens rather dramatically at times, at least in a mother’s eyes. When you feel like you carry somebody else’s world on your shoulders and you’re trying to keep a balance (whatever that means) to shape a wholesome upbringing, your own body can grow stiff and even brittle until you crack.

I’d like to think most days I’m even keeled, and that I have healthy habits like exercise and writing to ease my woes. Yet sometimes the troubles I feel, however seemingly mundane, are also immense. They grow larger until I lose my balance and I tip over, causing bouts of stress to spill outwards in uncharacteristic, maybe even irrational ways.

I have not slept in a week.

This house is always a mess. 

I can never finish the endless loads of laundry.

My kid keeps getting sick.

Exaggerated. So exaggerated.

Yet the weight of it all remains heavy and inescapable, even in the brevity that is childhood. I find myself cracking in places I thought I’ve meticulously caulked in an effort to keep it all together. I begin to question my role as a mother and if the toll it takes on me is typical of motherhood —

Am I the only one who’s ever cried in the shower due to the building tension of motherhood? 

Am I the only one who goes from feelings of “this is awesome” to “what the hell am I doing?” in a matter of seconds? 

Am I the only one who relishes the sound of silence now that it is scarce? 

I just want to feel normal — to feel okay that laundry and sleeplessness has gotten the best of me. To know that shedding tears once in a while — perhaps even daily — during my only alone time in the shower is okay. To admit that the tight ship I try to run sometimes goes astray, and I allow my limp body to flow with the currents as my head barely bobs above the water. To confess that sometimes I need a lifesaver, a moment to circle back, gasp for air and regenerate. To know that it’s okay to feel these things.

I’ve learned that where there is life involved, it is not an exaggeration. Motherhood, fatherhood, child-rearing, none of it is an exaggeration. It is utterly demanding, all-consuming, heart-wrenching and back-breaking. It is a labor of inexhaustible love coming from human beings.

So I’ll say it, from one mama to another: it is okay. When you lose your balance and you need to cry, it’s okay. When your brain is clouded with too many thoughts and you begin to question yourself, it’s okay. When you admit, as difficult as it is, that you simply need a break from the work that is being a mother, it is more than okay.

It’s normal.

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