Dear Mom Who has it All Together:
I noticed you this morning as I drove my son to school. Your SUV was the one that was freshly washed with the happy stick figure people and soccer club stickers in the back window. I saw that you looked beautiful today, like you always do when you’re out. Your hair looked great, and I loved the outfit you had on.
I was the one in the dirty Jetta, still in sweat pants and a baseball cap looking tired and grumpy. I saw you blink as you looked at my pale face. I didn’t have my make-up on yet, and I was looking a little on the haggard side today. You didn’t smile at me, but that’s okay. I didn’t smile either. I needed coffee, and I was mentally tallying my to-do list for the day.
You may think I’m writing this letter because I envy you, or because I’m bitter. But I’m not. I’m writing you this letter because you’re doing it all so well, and I want you to know I think you’re great.
I may not have looked like you today, but some days I do. We are very much the same in many ways. I know it’s hard to keep it all together, and some days are easier than others. As women, we are part of a feminine sisterhood that has been holding space for us since humanity began. From our intuition, we hear the same answers, if we only learn to listen.
And I want you to know that I know.
I know that there are days when you wake up with a weight on your shoulders, wondering if you’re making the right decisions for your children. You wonder if they’ll turn out to be something special in life, or if they’ll cut corners like they do when they’re doing dishes or cleaning their rooms, and never grow to understand the value of working hard for what they have.
I know you have cried real tears when your child has faced the pain of rejection. I know you want more than anything for their friends and partners to see the same special thing you’ve seen in them since you wondered in awe at their perfect, tiny selves the day they came into the world.
I know you sometimes feel torn between being a woman and being a mother, when you only really have energy to do one or the other. It is hard to feel beautiful when you also carry the burden of providing, nurturing, and growing human beings, and when the guilt put on us by society says, “Do all things and be all things for everyone else, and be selfless in your sacrifice.”
Do you ever wonder if we’re doing it right? I mean, not you or me separately, but all of us?
We tell our daughters that they can be anything they want to be, but with the caveat that, once they are mothers, they must set their dreams aside and take a step backward so that their children will shine.
What if we tossed aside our endless quest for perfection and instead let ourselves become all we were meant to be—the leaders, the innovators, the dreamers we were born to become—and paved the way for the next generation to do it better, stronger, and more happily than we did?
What if we got rid of our expensive vehicles, downsized our closets—and homes for that matter—and recognized that the American dream is a prison that keeps us tethered to bills and opinions, and that has sentenced us to lives in which we will never have enough, be enough, or do enough to be truly happy? What if we decided that having our sh*t together was less about the pretty package we’re holding it in, and more about waking up and recognizing that it’s perfect just the way it is?
It doesn’t matter that our outsides look different today, or that we go home to different neighborhoods. We’re both rock stars, you and I. Let’s shine our light. It’s beautiful, sister, just like you.
Another Mother Who Knows
Author: Amanda Christmann
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Tiffany Krumpack/Flickr