I'm watching my daughter's gymnastics class when I see it: a small but totally noticeable spot of crusted poop on my arm. And that's when I know, because I didn't even notice it until this moment, even though it's been hours since I was assaulted by my son's diaper explosion. Yep, I have officially left the building, and in my place is this mom person I've become.
I briefly consider creating a symbol for myself like the one Prince used when he became the artist formerly known as. But then my daughter is calling and waving frantically for me to watch her perform her bajillionth forward roll. So, yet again, I'm pulled away from my thoughts and sucked back into mommy world, a place I seldom leave.
I say this with complete sincerity and I want all my fellow overwhelmed, frustrated, unshowered mamas out there to really hear me: everything will be OK.
Need more evidence that motherhood has hijacked all aspects of my life? I'm typing this with one hand while I breastfeed my son. I only found time to do 12 minutes of a 17-minute yoga video this morning. I haven't been on a date with my husband since Obama was in office. His first term. It sucks. Yet, and I say this with complete sincerity and I want all my fellow overwhelmed, frustrated, unshowered mamas out there to really hear me: I know everything will be OK.
Why? Because this isn't my first ride on the crazy, all-encompassing roller coaster of motherhood. I've been mothering for 10 years. Four kids and countless moments of sheer desperation later and I can finally take a deep breath and actually believe the following phrase, which I want everyone to repeat after me: "It gets better." Go ahead. Try saying it in your head, or out loud if you don't care that people around you might suspect you're talking to yourself. If you have kids attached to you, they won't think anything of it.
I know what you're thinking: "Didn't you just describe a scenario where you have poop on your arm and absolutely no life?" I did, in fact. The thing is, it gets better, and then it gets hard again. The challenges of motherhood come in waves. You're in the trenches, then you're surfing past everyone else struggling to collapse strollers and eating cold, leftover chicken nuggets for dinner, feeling invincible. There are days I know I got this! I'm rocking a Starbucks iced coffee and clothes that actually match, I had time to do my yoga (all 17 minutes of it), and I talked on the phone with an old friend for an entire episode of Shimmer and Shine. Other days, I'm that mom; the one with the messy bun and spit-up-stained maternity tank top who clearly hasn't slept more than four hours in a row for months, whose kids are all whining about wanting more fruit snacks.
My point is this: if you're the fruit snacks mom today, or this week or this month or this year, it's OK. It gets better. Maybe it'll get better for a few hours, or a whole day. Maybe it'll get better long enough for you to catch your breath and get your eyebrows waxed. Maybe it's going to suck for a while. Just know you aren't alone, and we've all been there. You can do this. You are still in there, you just had to take a back seat to motherhood for a hot minute.
Oh, and if you see a mom who looks like she hasn't been there, she's just surfing today. Let her enjoy it. She'll be back in a fruit snacks phase soon enough.