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What to Say to a Struggling Mom

An Open Letter to the Mom Barely Hanging On

Dear Fellow Mom,

I saw you earlier today in the store. You were pushing the grocery cart — hair in a messy (and likely greasy) bun. Your two boys sat side-by-side in the cart, both looked to be less than 2. Irish twins, I assumed. It was before naptime, so the crankiness was setting in. One boy reached for the candy and threw it on top of the cart — over and over again. Your "nos" weren't quite doing the trick. Your other boy just sat there and wailed.

You are every mother. You are me. I see you.

I hope my attempt to try and distract the boys didn't offend you. I wanted my smiles to erase just a few seconds of stress from your day. I know you could have handled it, but when the kids are that young and not cooperating, the days are very long. You can feel like the loneliest person on the entire planet. I was there once before, too. I felt like I could never quite catch my breath. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone in motherhood.

You are every mother. You are me. I see you.

Before you checked out, your eyelids became buckets of water, only you tried so hard to not let your tears spill over the brim. Your young boys still fussed, blissfully unaware of your current sense of tired defeat. But you don't have to pretend to be tough, especially not around mothers. We've all been in the grocery store, library, or children's museum with a crying, out-of-control child. And it's OK to want to disappear. Don't ever feel guilt, shame, or sadness for that.

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You are every mother. You are me. I see you.

And although you don't always have control over your small children, you are indeed the biggest influence in their lives. You hug them when they're sad, frustrated, angry, and happy. They run to you with their triumphs, no matter how big or small. You're there for every game, scraped knee, bedtime story, and early morning cuddle session. You're the only thing they know. You're their everything. And being someone's everything is a lot of pressure.

You are every mother. You are me. I see you.

As you were finally paying the cashier, I saw patience exude from your tired and watery eyes. After you kissed your two boys on their foreheads, their demeanor quieted. One even smiled. With that touch of your lips, your boys understood that they are loved in this sometimes messy world. They knew their mother was there for them, even if it meant they couldn't get that desired chocolate bar.

You are every mother. You are me. I see you.

When you feel like falling apart, or that you're the only one in the world who could possibly be this tired, know that you're surrounded by mothers who feel the same. Give yourself permission to fall apart. And then reach out to a friend, your own mother, or even that random woman at the grocery store to help you put yourself back together again. We've all been there, and we all need to help each other get through it, strangers or not.

You are every mother. You are me. I see you.

Love,
Someone Who Gets It

Image Source: Pexels/Josh Willink
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