You don’t think I see you, Mama…
Standing at the car door, watching your baby walk into the building—venturing into preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school alone, as you get ready to go about the rest of your day, your mind whirling in thought: Did I pack a good lunch? Are those pants too short? Am I smart enough to actually understand their homework, let alone help them with it?
I see you as you pull your baseball cap down over your hair because there just wasn’t enough time for a shower. I see you write “Wash Me” onto the back window of your minivan with a smile. I see you get into your car and drive away, with the day at home or at work ahead of you.
You think you are invisible. You don’t think I see how hard it is to let them go into the day without you. You think I can’t see the break in your heart knowing that they’re getting picked up later by Daddy, and you won’t see them for 48 hours. You don’t think I notice as your brow furrows with the knowledge that you have so much left to do in your day: Clean, cook, organize, work, fill out permission slips. Oh yeah, and shower.
But I see you.
I see every single piece of you.
Because I am you.
I feel these highs and lows, the laughter that turns into tears as I pray ever-so-silently that these moments don’t go unnoticed or unremembered. This isn’t a social-media-post moment, but an imprint-on-my-heart moment.
The way my little boy smiles when he tells me that I’m the best mom ever in the history of the whole entire world. The way he cheers for my favorite baseball team like he’s their only fan. The way he sticks his finger in the muffin batter, brings it to his mouth to taste test, and then kisses me with banana lips.
I am you.
I am every mama.
I am a birth mother, an adoptive mother, a widowed mother, a stepmother.
I have one child.
I am pregnant with my fourth.
I am Catholic, Buddhist, and Agnostic.
I am a college graduate.
I am about ready to get my GED.
I can braid your hair in three minutes.
I rely on online tutorials in order to figure out how to actually create a fishtail.
I am adorned in tattoos.
I have porcelain, ink-free skin.
I have a garden full of daffodils and tulips, that we pick from lovingly.
I have a thumb as black as a permanent marker.
I make delicious, vegan meals.
I bake cakes full of butter, sugar, milk, and eggs.
I stay at home while you grow.
I leave my babies in the care of others while I work.
I put Pinterest to shame.
I can’t find time to create Halloween treats for school that go beyond a prepackaged candy bar.
I spend my mornings at the yoga studio.
I haven’t worked out in three years.
I have a standing bi-weekly manicure appointment.
I have roots that are at least an inch long.
I am the PTA President.
I couldn’t make it to the talent show because I work late to provide for our family.
I’m in a beautiful marriage.
I can’t remember the last time I was in love.
I read bedtime stories each night.
I send the kids to bed without dinner because of sassy mouths.
I watch CNN and wonder what kind of world we’re creating for the next generation.
I cut the cable cord.
I have regular nights out with my closest friends.
I moved far from home and don’t know anyone.
I take regular vacations.
I am living paycheck to paycheck.
I won’t leave the house in the morning without the beds being made.
I go to bed at night with dishes piled in the sink because I’m too tired to wash them.
I dream of retiring on the beach and waking up to the sounds of the ocean.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to stop working.
I look at other mothers and feel like they have it all figured out.
I feel depleted of the energy needed to take care of my family, yet somehow find the time to make sure they have everything they need.
I am so hard on myself, never feeling like I am ever going to get it right, and if I do, the feeling doesn’t seem to last very long.
I sometimes think that love and guilt have blended into one colorful emotion, leaving me hopeful and scared all at the same time.
I am doing the best that I possibly can in order to make sure my children have a happy, comfortable, and beautiful life.
I am you.
I am every mama.
Author: Jenny Roman
Image: Author’s Own/Unsplash
Editor: Taia Butler