Mothers can sleep tired and wake up tired, but still do whatever it takes to keep their family happy.
"You will never understand!" she said and slammed the door behind her.
That's when every inch of my body sank and I just dropped to the floor, sitting motionless for a while. It was disheartening. And it is during times like these when I tell myself, "It's the age. She's a teenager now and it's normal to argue with your mother." I guess it is.
I always thought that motherhood would get easier as the years passed. Now I realize that it's just about transitioning from one tired phase to another. Before you come out of the exhaustion of one phase, you have to dive into the next whether you're ready for it or not. There's no vacation, no breaks, no pause button, no escape route.
From the outside, we would look like the perfect suburban family. A happy, loving, typical family. But that's what it always looks like when a mother does her best to keep things together. And she does it without letting anybody know just how much load she is carrying. It's the price you pay when all you want to do is keep everyone around you happy.
And you do it even if it means sacrificing your own satisfaction and peace of mind.
You do everything you can to see your kids laugh, but you don't remember the last time you laughed your heart out, without having to pretend. You do everything you can to keep up with all your family's needs — soccer practice, cello lessons, helping with your 4th grader's science project, hosting your partner's colleagues for dinner. But you can't remember the last time you did something just for yourself.
Ever since my daughter was born, I don't remember a single day where I didn't feel tired. The thing is, the day she came into my life was the day I realized just how much I could love someone. But it's the love that makes you shut your eyes and forget about all your desires and feelings. Because from that moment onwards, your kid's life becomes your life. And when it's time for your second and third child to follow, you think you would have the hang of it by now. But no matter how many times you do it, each of your children has his or her own needs. You may have one set of problems raising your first child, but the second one will have a whole new set of problems that you never even thought of.
When I got pregnant the first time, I used to think that my husband would be an amazing father. And he is. But I see him come back home from work, tired on days but always with a huge smile on his face when he greets our children, so fulfilled and content. And I wonder why I always feel like something is missing in my life.
I wake up each day for my children and I work from sunrise to sunset to meet my family's needs. I lie sleepless in bed, either worrying about the laundry (which I forget that I already picked up) or worrying about who will agree to go out with my awkward son to prom.
Most mothers sleep tired and wake up tired, and go about their day tired. But that's not even the most challenging part. The most challenging part is that you can do a million things right and never have anyone notice. But I'm okay with that. Because I know in the warm hug my 9-year-old will give me, the ice-cream my daughter and I share to make up after every argument, the way my middle-schooler brags about his mom's cookies to his friends, and the way my husband leaves thank you notes for me all over the house, I know there is gratitude in all of it. And that's all I need.
The most important thing I learned about motherhood is that you have to take it one day at a time. On some days you will feel like a supermom and on other days you will feel like a hot mess mom. On some days you will get it right, on other days you won't. But you hold their hand and keep moving, taking one day at a time.