Hey, Mom, You Are Resilient.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from the things life throws at you, and moms get the brunt of it often. Here are 10 reasons why moms are the most resilient people:
1. Moms get physically abused and drained of resources
Have you been pregnant? It’s one of the most uncomfortable conditions women experience. We get sick, kicked, fat, hungry, sore, tired, swollen, roly-poly fat to the point of not even being able to reach our toes, drained of calcium so our teeth become soft and start to rot, and all of that is BEFORE we actually give birth. Right after birth, we leak from every possible orifice, deal with hormonal-emotional rollercoasters, have exciting problems with necessary physical bodily functions, and well, incessant unsolicited advice from people everywhere, whether we know them or not. And we start this new person’s life being 100% responsible to nourish them, while our bodies are struggling to heal our own wounds. Did I mention exhaustion?
2. Moms are tired.
Did I mention we start off the journey exhausted? Well, after 6 weeks of being baby’s everything, you’re likely even more tired. Oh, you have toddlers running around your house too? As they adjust to not being your main focus as the youngest (or only) child any more, the emotional roller coaster gets even more bumpy. And your patience is thinned out by exhaustion. Did I mention that we’re tired? I’m so tired that I can’t even remember.
3. Moms take last place. (Almost exclusively.)
When is the last time one of your kids actually asked what YOU needed? How about what you wanted to eat for dinner, or how many and what shape your sandwiches should be in? Oh, they didn’t? Yep, mine either. What time did you want to get up? Never mind, one of your kids will be your alarm clock. And on the ONE day you actually have plans that you need to follow through with, one of them will be up tossing cookies all night.
I’d also like to mention that children (as soon as they can walk) have this uncanny super-hearing. Think you can go into your bedroom and sneak a precious piece of chocolate that you deserve? Nope. “Mom, what are you eating? I want one!” Share or feel the tantrum wrath, right? There is no win in this.
4. Moms are the lowest of the low (to children).
I regularly hear how awful I am. Not sure about you. My daughter has been screaming about how much she hates me since she was 2. About the same time my oldest son was constantly testing his big-boy boundaries and telling me I was too controlling (he was 16). Now my daughter (who is 6) tells me regularly that I am the worst mom ever when she doesn’t get her way, and my second son is 16. Whew. Talk about constant feeling low self-worth. Being unappreciated but still being responsible to make sure their needs are met is a ridiculously thankless job most of the time.
5. Moms get sentenced 20-years to life for each kid.
It’s not exactly like jail, but you don’t get to walk away from it, or forget it. You’re always mom. Someone always needs something, wants something, needs to vent about something, left something out that now you have to clean up, or used/ate up the last of something and didn’t tell anyone. Now that you needed that roll of TP, guess who’s drip-drying or hobbling.
6. Everything is Mom’s fault.
From toddlers to teenagers, children don’t accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong. “It’s YOUR fault,” is one of the common phrases in my house - but only directed at mom. MOM didn’t remind me to bring my homework home. MOM didn’t tell me to clean the toys up so the dogs don’t carry them away. MOM didn’t make sure I was out of bed so I wasn’t late to school even though I have a phone with an alarm, and a truck to get myself there on time…. Have you seen the scene in ‘Bug’s Life’ where Hopper is talking to Princess Anta? He says something like “the first rule of leadership is: it’s your fault.” Whether or not, mom is generally a “leader” figure in the home. But no pressure or anything.
7. Mom is the pack animal.
Have you ever felt like the coat rack? How many bags do you take with you to leave the house? At one point, just to go to church I had a diaper bag, my son’s backpack, my purse, my bag of class materials (I was teaching a class of other people’s kids too…), and at least 3-4 coats. And someone still had to carry the still-baby girl. I haven’t yet figured out why it’s not acceptable for moms to have those shopping/utility carts that little old ladies have when they go to the store. Hey, just toss it all in, forget organizing, it’s at least all going to be there when we get home. IF you can pick the cart up and get it into the van without hurting your back. And ugh. Carseat-carriers. WHY do they have to be so heavy and awkward? Just sayin’. There has to be a better way.
8. Mom’s the library, internet, all-knowing.
WHY? WHY? WHY? Because you’re supposed to know everything. Not only are you supposed to know everything about how to raise your kids: make the best choices in food, schooling, healthcare, physical activity, outdoor play, water play, sensory play, Montessori play, pre-school, pre-reading, and extracurriculars to enhance their little developing brains, you also have to know the answer to every single question they ask, and how to answer the deeper questions in age-appropriate ways. Where’s a Siri that can actually understand the broken speech of a toddler and give a safe answer to all of life’s questions? There’s a million dollar idea!
9. Moms need a shower.
Be honest, how often do you actually shower every single day in a week? Those precious 10 minutes of warm and refreshing water falling over you washing the sticky finger remains, baby barf, dog slobber, and the ‘who even knows what THAT is’ off of your body id prime time for mischief. Even if you turned on the favorite movie of the week. Even if they were sleeping when you walked away. Most of the time it’s not worth the risk of the mess you come back out to. The other solution is taking the kids into the shower with you. But, well, while it gets the job done, it’s not very enjoyable. And man, it’s so satisfying for kids to squeeze the whole bottle of shampoo on the floor of the shower for you to almost kill yourself with. “Look Mommy, BUBBLES!”
10. Moms are judged too harshly.
We truly are our own worst critics. Through these years of exhaustion, lack, selflessness (because how COULD you even do what you wanted?!), we survive. We feel judged by other moms who appear to have it all together. We feel guilt because someone else’s kids are doing 5 extracurriculars, and yours are playing outside. We don’t know what to do, and carry that on our shoulders. We don’t use our best judgement in a lot of cases because quite honestly, our mental capacity is used up. And making one more decision? It causes us to shut down.
So here’s what you need to understand about all this - you did it (or you’re doing it). Your kids are alive at the end of the day. You feel like you suck. But you know what? We all feel that way. We all have been there, in a puddle of who knows what in the middle of the kitchen floor, letting the kids eat the Kid straight from the box we got from WIC because it’s the only thing they will eat that day. Every mom has these challenges.
And on the other side, do you know how strong you are? Do you see all of these crazy plot twists and unexpected chaos that you navigated? Meh, there are crumbs on the counter, and dog hair in the corners under the cupboards. But you’re alive. The kids are alive. And you did it today. YOU are amazing.