I knew I should have stayed up later and packed lunches last night, but I had mom fatigue. I knew I should have laid out clothes instead of relying on kids to find matching socks when it’s nearing laundry day. I knew I should have done more, and here’s the proof [gestures awkwardly at “everything” with a coffee cup in hand]. 

But I didn’t want to stay up and do all of the things the night before. Because the day before had been a trying day hence mom fatigue. The kind that tests your spirit and your ability to hold yourself together. The kind that makes you cry, but you hide it so the kids don’t see. The kind that makes you start car games, encouraging the kids to look for out of state license plates, ensuring they won’t see you wipe a stray tear here and there off your face, through the rear view mirror. Mom fatigue. 

RELATED READING :: Quick, read this before your children distract you. Mom Break Confessions.

On top of the now regular pandemic exhaustion, on top of the stress and strain of being an outnumbered mama, on top of the hard work of delving into major emotional and soul work to stay afloat and to be better, on top of the predictable yet sobering job of parenting two “older young kids” who are coming into themselves, and into a world – that I barely recognize, on top of all of that… I also received some gut-wrenching news about a family I care about.

News that no parent can ever prepare for or fathom. News that doesn’t leave space for any other worries. News that, for at least that reason, alleviates the sting of absolutely everything else around you, temporarily. News that makes it hard to breathe and hard to concentrate and hard to bear. News that makes you realize that everything else is trivial. Everything. 

News that hard makes you realize, again and again, that the most important thing is our role in motherhood. So you slap a silly smile on your face. And you steal off to the downstairs half-bath, or a closet, to have yourself a good cry. And you hug your kids a little closer and tighter than they may care for at that moment. And you sneak into their bed after they’re asleep to big spoon them and just inhale their being. 

Exhausted, I finished the work day. I got everyone to their practices and picked back up again. I made dinner. I tidied up around the house. I answered emails. I started a load of laundry. I replied to some missed texts and checked in on some friends. I pulled out my calendar and made sure I didn’t miss anything that day, and that I’m ready for tomorrow. I even made a quick grocery run. 

But when I came back home and got all the kids ready for bed, I went to the book cabinet to pull it open and find a book for my youngest. I pulled the cabinet door open. And the knob fell right off. And I lost my ever-loving mind. The flood gates opened like the Hoover Dam and before I knew it I needed a tissue or ten for the snotty mess that had become my face. My pitiful, sorrowful sloppy self couldn’t even seem to hold itself up and I slow-motion fell to the floor. I melted. I gave up/in/around and every which way. I hear the shower going upstairs meaning at least one child won’t see me in this state, and I’m grateful. I let myself sit there. And cry. And held myself. I took my right hand and rested it on my heart. And I took my left hand and I held my face the way I wished someone else could in the moment. I closed my eyes. And breathed. And felt. I took my pull-knob moment and made it a self-love moment – because it’s the only way. 

So I ask you, fellow mamas. Have you ever had a pull-knob moment? How did you show yourself love and compassion at that time? The power to soothe is right within us. It’s in our breath, it’s in our mindset, it’s in how and where we are able to focus our thoughts, it’s in our wishes and focus of energy for ourselves and for others, and it’s even in our own soothing touch.

Next time you find yourself experiencing mom fatigue and in a puddle on the living room floor, cover yourself in a blanket of self-compassion. Hold yourself the way you would your child. Sing to yourself, hug yourself and close your eyes to breathe. Remember that parenting our own inner-child is a necessarily prerequisite to parenting the others.

Photo Credit :: Allison Turpen Photography

Anya is a teacher, writer and single mama to two. Iggy is in middle school. He's an empathetic hockey player who recently discovered his love of reading. Analee is a creative comedian-in-training who wears her learning difference as a badge of honor (this hasn’t always been the case). Anya has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and a Masters of Education in Physical Education from Texas State University- San Marcos. Currently, she is a writer, a Physical Education and Yoga teacher and sits on the Board of a local Youth Hockey Organization. Anya loves puns, humor and learning to slow down after a lifetime of chasing the next thing. She is excited to bring her writing to life and share on her upcoming personal blog at www.anyabokeria.com

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