She said she wrote it for another mother who asked what to tell her hubby when he came home and the house was a mess, so he asked what she did all day. It’s long, but well worth the read. (The following words are not mine)
I know when you come home and see the house in disarray, you think that I’ve done nothing. I’m sure it can seem that way when things are exactly the same as they were when you left this morning, if not worse. I want you to understand something though…I’ve done all I could today. It may not seem like much, but it may have been all I had to give.
I know you know this on some level, but my work day never ends. You may think that cooking, cleaning, and child rearing is a basic kind of job, but it’s actually the hardest job in the world. I challenge anyone who thinks otherwise. It takes 100% of my mental and physical capacity to give my children all I have as a mother. I’m sleep deprived, I’m lonely, I barely recognize myself, but I can’t allow that to affect them. I have to push forward. I can’t allow the endless tantrums, demands, crying, biting, vomit, feces, screaming, or out and out defiance to get to me either. I have to always be the best I can be regardless.
But I spend hours alone, at home, isolated. I’m with my favorite people in the world but none of them can speak to me on an adult level. My conversations don’t surpass elementary level. My entire day feels like an endless wait for you to get home, just so I can talk to you and tell you about my thoughts or opinions. I could go out you say. Meet a friend at the park. But then I’d have actually get ready. I’d have to get kids ready. I’d have to peel myself out of the yoga pants I’ve been wearing for 3 straight days and notice that, once again, my jeans don’t fit the way they used to. None of my tops can hide my fuller figure. Most days I’m truly disgusted with who I’ve become. I can throw my hair back in a ponytail but then it looks like I don’t care. But taking the time to actually DO something with it feels like a colossal chore. And for what? To have the baby pull on it and sneeze in it anyway. Then I have to fight with the kids about what to wear. Not the pink pants she’ll say, the princess dress. Not the blue shoes he’ll say, the black ones. We’d get to the park looking like a ragtag band of misfits. Most of the time it doesn’t feel worth the effort.
When you go out into the workforce, you meet new people. Your schedule changes, even if it’s only a little. Mine never does. Oftentimes I feel like I’m stuck in Groundhog’s day, replaying the same day on an endless loop, struggling to escape. The same chores pile up overnight even when I just took care of them yesterday. I just bought that gallon of milk and now half of it is puddled on the floor. No matter how many times I fix that broken shelf, the kids still climb on it and send it tumbling down again. There’s only so many times I can fix it before it seems better off on the floor. You get lunch breaks and bathroom breaks and afternoon breaks. I get followed no matter where I go. Half my food is given to children that just finished eating. I am never ever alone.
Then there’s the mental struggle I deal with DAILY (sometimes hourly ) with comparison. With decision making. Should we give our child these shots? What are the risks? Will it affect our child long term if we Co sleep? Is it wrong to shower with my baby? Am I making enough milk to breastfeed? Why is Susie’s baby walking and talking already when my baby is older than hers? Should I stop breastfeeding now that my baby is over a year old? Am I failing as a mother? What am I doing wrong? What can I do better? Why doesn’t this come easy to me like it does for everyone else?
If you have one baby they’ll say you’re spoiling him. If you have more they’ll say you’re crazy. My kids fight and scream and argue so they must be seeing that at home. My child is painfully shy so there must be something wrong with him. No matter what I do, I’m wrong, or someone out there is doing it better. It’s so hard to have faith in my parenting abilities. It’s so hard to trust my instincts when I feel like I can’t do anything right.
Every day I wonder if I’m teaching them enough. Every day I wonder if I’ve been a good example. Did I say no when I should have said yes? Did I say yes when I should have said no? Do they know how much I love them, or did they go to bed hating me because I lost my cool. I can’t believe I even did that…what is wrong with me.
Cleaning is difficult with a screaming baby. Cooking anything more elaborate than a ham sandwich seems impossible while trying to break up sibling rivalries. No matter how many times I ask the kids to clean up their mess, I usually have to do it myself. And while I’m busy in the living room, the play room is being destroyed. When I ask them to clean the playroom, the same cycle continues. If I don’t want to fight all day I have to let it go. But if I let it go I feel like I’m doing something wrong.
I feel like I fail, I feel like giving up, but every morning I trudge forward, because I love this job, regardless of how difficult it is and regardless of how much it drains me. Sometimes I just need someone to come home and tell me that everything is going to be ok. Sometimes I just need someone to notice that I tried my best, even if the dishes are piling up and there’s toys all over the floor. Sometimes I just need someone to recognize that small gestures go a long way. Holding the baby while I take a shower is a gift. Babysitting while I go grocery shopping is a gift. Telling me that my kids are amazing and I must be doing something right is a gift. That’s all I ask for. Just the understanding that you know how hard I work to maintain THIS level of insanity. If I let go, absolute chaos would ensue. I can’t express to you how close I feel to the edge some days.
I worry about you, I worry about bills, I worry about the future. I worry about how our kids will turn out. I worry that I’ve failed to live up to your expectations when you married me. When I stood up at that alter I had the highest hopes for this life of ours. I sometimes worry that you don’t think it’s worth it when you come home and see me ragged and struggling. I sometimes fear you would take it back if you could.
So when you come home and ask me what I did all day, just know how hard I tried. I did the very best I could, and sometimes crossing the finish line at the end of the day is a victory in and of itself. The house may not be clean but I had the best of intentions. I wake up every day putting my best foot forward. I hope you can see that.
I love you and these kids with all of my heart. No other job could be this demanding and yet this worth it. All that I ask from you is that you believe in me when I’ve forgotten how to believe in myself. I’ve never wanted to succeed in anything in life except this job, and this family. It’s been said a thousand times and I know it’s true… these days pass so quickly. This time together is so short. Each day may feel like a year, but each year feels like a day. I won’t take this season for granted. And I’m happy to be running this course with you.
Isnt that beautiful? Well said, jessica!