I’m writing this letter during one of the hardest weeks we’ve had together, as mother and daughter. Between the sleepless nights and the hours and hours of crying, this week has really taken a toll on both of us.
I like writing you these letters in difficult seasons especially, as a reminder to myself and future you that I enjoy you and our journey. This letter though, I think you should tuck away; save it in a special box, with keepsakes from your childhood and love letters from your husband, at the back of your closet. Keep it in that box, until you feel beyond unqualified and exhausted with being a mom – like I do these days – and read it then.
Because that’s where I am. And while I don’t have a letter from my mom from a hard season of mumming, I do have late night texts from my mom, sisters and friends, and other moms online who are telling me that it’s going to be ok and that I’m going to make it through this.
This week has brought out the worst in me, and shown me things that I don’t want to see. Things that I think I’ve worked through, but they seem to resurface again and again. There’s nothing like a lack of control that shows you your need to control. And there’s nothing like motherhood to show you that you can’t fix everything, or always have the answers. These feelings lead to the overwhelming feeling of being unqualified, of failing.
I know better then to believe these feelings, but still, I get hung up on them whenever we enter a season that tries my patience and tests my endurance. Right now, we’re in one of those seasons; between teething and sleep training and you just being a baby, it’s just a hard season. It’s easy as a mom to get stuck in the minutiae, in the day to day, because it’s all our life is right now. Sleep patterns, and healthy poops – that sort of thing. It’s important to step back and see the big picture – you, growing up, right in front of me, and both of us growing together, in our relationship.
The hard seasons are hard, but there is so much good in them too. They remind me that offering myself grace and acceptance is just as important as offering you comfort and reassurance. If you’re reading this as a mother and in a difficult season yourself, my girl, I won’t offer you any simple platitudes or nice sounding encouragements (‘this too shall pass’, ‘enjoy each day’, ‘they’re only little once’) because it’s really not that helpful. Instead, I’ll offer you these words:
I love you. And I enjoy you. In every season and stage. And even though we’re having a hard week, (which could turn into two weeks, or a month – Lord have mercy), doesn’t change my love for you. Some parts of motherhood are so, so hard. But they teach me to keep my heart open, to hold the tension between the hard days and the picture perfect days, and to give us both as much grace as I can. The greatest thing I could ever do for you as your mom is give myself grace, and let go of those feelings of being unqualified, of failing, let go of the mom guilt. And if you’re reading this my girl, and you’re a mom yourself now too, I hope you can do the same.
Give yourself grace. Let yourself cry. It’s ok that you don’t know what to do. Just keep loving your sweet baby, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute – and you’ll make it through, together
I love you jj.