Dear Mom with Small Children,
I saw you today. You were struggling with your toddler while your baby wanted to play. I saw your tiredness, your frustration, your emotionally drained heart. I saw that you did all you could to get the kids ready to go, and actually make it somewhere (kind of) on time. I saw that you spent a couple of hours trying to entertain your younger two kids just so your oldest son could have some fun with kids his age. What others didn't know is that you went to bed at 1 a.m. after working. You got up at 5:30 a.m. to nurse your precious baby. And again at 7:30. And again at 9:30. And every 2 hours for the rest of the day. You're tired. You're drained. You're just trying to stay afloat and make sure your kids have as much fun and learning as possible in one day. I am you.
I saw you at lunch time. You were hungry. You've only had a banana, a granola bar, and a pack of gummies (all while on the go). You nursed your baby and gave him some toys to play with (to which he only wanted the toys that were under the couch, covered in dust). You made your toddler fish sticks (which he thinks fish is chicken...) in the oven for 20 minutes and then he decided he didn't want them any longer. All the while, you taught your 8 year old a life lesson on family, kindness, and honesty. You reheated your food multiple times because lunch for the kids took over an hour to prepare and you ended up eating cold food in 3 bites because you are needed. You rush to load the dishwasher so when your husband comes home for lunch, it looks like you have done something. I am you.
I saw you at school time. It's finally quiet time. You get to spend time with your oldest son. You have the privilege to homeschool him. But then the dog ate the cat poop and threw it up. You had to spend school time cleaning cat poop dog barf. I am you.
I saw you at nap time. You spent an hour to get the 2 little ones to bed. They finally went to sleep and you enjoyed a cup of coffee. Only realizing, crap, it's time to pick up the oldest child from her school. You have to wake both littles to go and get the oldest. Now you have tired, whiny children. I am you.
I saw you at the grocery store. You had to run to the store to get a few needed items. You have a stash of lollipops to keep the toddler quiet long enough to make a mad dash through the store with 4 kids. About 67 too many people commented about how tough it must be with 4 kids. I am you.
I saw you at dinner time. You attempted to make great a tasting meal only to have it flop. I am you.
I saw you after your 3 older kids went to bed. Your husband played with the baby so you could finally work. You put your heart into your business and work at night, so it doesn't take too much time away from your kids. I am you.
I get it. I know. I understand. Motherhood. Hard. Challenging. Beautifully messy. Imperfectly perfect.
I saw you smile when your baby giggled in the Ergo while you were running after the toddler.
I saw you smile when your toddler ran after the lizard on the playground and his eyes lit up with joy.
I saw you smile when your toddler peed on the potty while out in public.
I saw you smile when you looked down at your nursing baby while in public.
I saw you smile when you ate those gummies. Dag, those things were tasty.
I saw you smile when you started the dishwasher.
I saw you smile when your oldest son got a toy from under the couch that your youngest son wanted (without being told to do so).
I saw you smile when your oldest son was excited that school was put off to clean cat poop dog barf. A joy of homeschooling is laughing at these times and you can just do school at another time.
I saw you smile as you downed your cup of coffee in 7.7 seconds. A record. It was still amazing.
I saw you smile when you picked up your daughter from school and heard how her day was.
I saw you smile at the grocery store when your kids used their manners towards strangers.
I saw you smile at dinner when jokes were made about your cooking abilities (or lack thereof).
I saw you smile while editing pictures of a mom and her baby. And even the occasional watery eyes seeing the interaction and love between parents and their children.
I saw you smile when you nursed your baby in the middle of the night in complete silence.
Mom, motherhood is tough. It's challenging. It's draining. It's exhausting. It's work. But it's also rewarding. It's fulfilling. It's amazing. It's indescribable. It's beautiful.