“It goes by so fast”. Everyone says it. I’ve said it, people have said it to me.
(By the way if you said it to me, I know you meant well!)
I see people post things about this online. If you find these things encouraging and inspiring, I am happy for you and keep on keeping on.
And it does go by so fast. I love my kids so much. They are such blessings. They bring me great joy and I love being their mom. When they were born I was able to comprehend more how much God loves us. To think, if I love them this much…how much more does God love me? It’s completely mind blowing.
With that said, if you don’t always find phrases like “it goes by so fast” encouraging, I want you to know you are not alone. Jennifer Fulwiler understands, she said : “Anyone who tells me to savor these moments because they go by so fast will have their IP address summarily banned and a virus downloaded to their computer that causes it to catch on fire. ” Ha!
You see, most of us moms out there…we love our kids so much. We miss when they were babies. They do grow up so fast. We know how precious our time is with them. And that is why we try SO HARD to make the most of it. We try so hard that we are crumbling under the pressure.
So when someone says “it goes by so fast”, we may feel more pressure. We may wonder again how we are doing with it all. We may feel like we are failing, again. We may feel guilty for feeling angry. We think again, that we aren’t enough. Insufficient. Inadequate. Especially if you say “it goes by so fast” while our child is screaming or had a poop accident in a fancy book store and you had to leave the play area early and both of your toddlers were having full-on meltdowns while you are trying clean up said poop (This happened today.)
My point is, when you are in the trenches it is exhausting and overwhelming and it takes all you’ve got. I think we need :
- Less platitudes.
- Less humble bragging.
- Less judgement.
- More validation.
- More honesty.
- More vulnerability.
- More building up.
- More encouragement.
- More support.
- More authentic stories about motherhood.
I think these phrases would be helpful to hear:
- “What you are doing is so hard, and so important. I’d like to help.”
- “You are doing such a great job, I’m so proud of you”
- “How are you feeling, truly? Of course you are tired. What you are doing is so hard.”
- “You work so hard, may I watch your kids for you so you can go grab a cup of coffee or get your hair done?” (ha ha)
I think we moms need, more than anything, to know our efforts don’t go unnoticed. God sees what we are doing. He sees how we try. We need to know it’s okay to feel tired, angry, sad, depressed, frustrated, stressed, and whatever negative feeling we may have from time to time. We don’t have to be ashamed of these feelings. They are normal and it’s okay to talk about them. It will take their power away. It’s not okay to let these feelings dictate your actions of course. But you must know, we all get these feelings and I don’t think people talk about that part of motherhood enough.
Indispensable to Society
Indeed, mothers aren’t the only people who suffer, we all do and we all need to know that someone sees how we suffer. Here’s what Pope Francis has to say about mothers:
“Mothers are indispensable to society and the church, showing the world what it means to generously give oneself for others, to respect life and to display tenderness and moral strength even in times of trouble, Pope Francis said.
Speaking to some 4,000 people gathered indoors for his general audience today, the Pope continued his series of talks about the family, but also gave a second talk about beauty and harmony when he thanked a group of circus performers at the end of the audience.
Tying the theme of the family to the church’s celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of God,on New Year’s Day and the Epiphany on January 6, the Pope looked specifically at Mary’s role in the Gospel accounts of Christmas.
“She gives us Jesus, she shows us Jesus, she lets us see Jesus,” the Pope said.
Even though mothers are often “exalted” with praise and poetry, he said, they often get very little concrete help and appreciation. In fact, he said, “the willingness of mothers to sacrifice themselves for their children is often taken advantage of in order to ‘save’ on social spending.”
“One should better understand their daily struggle to be efficient at work and attentive and loving in their family; it is necessary to better understand what they are striving for in order to express the best and most authentic fruits of their liberation,” he said.
Pope Francis recalled his own upbringing as one of five children, and spoke of how much work and how many problems, but also how much happiness, come with motherhood.
“Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of selfish individualism,” he said.
A world without mothers would be “inhumane,” he said, “because mothers always know how to give witness — even in the worst of times — to tenderness, dedication and moral strength.”
“Being a mother does not mean just bringing a child into the world, but it is also a life choice. What does a mother choose?” he asked. “It is the choice to give life and this is great, this is beautiful.”
If societies do not do justice to the contributions and sacrifices of mothers, the church is not always better, he said. “Perhaps mothers, who are ready to make many sacrifices for their children and often also for others” should find greater reception and attention in the church, he said.
It is often the mother who passes on “the deepest sense of religious practice” as she plants and cultivates the seed of faith in a child by sharing prayers and devotional practices, he said. “Without mothers, not only would there be no new people of faith, but the faith would lose a good portion of its simple and profound warmth.”
Mothers are the biggest enemies of war, “which kills their children,” he said, admitting he has thought many times of those women who receive the dreaded letter notifying them of the loss of their children in their defense of the nation. “Poor women. How much a mother suffers,” he said solemnly.”You can find the whole article here.
Let’s do away with the notion that a strong mom is the one who is always okay. Let’s redefine a strong mom as the one who, much of the time is struggling, but continues to get up and try again. Who feels negative feelings but does her best. Who fails but keeps trying. Who is drowning but tries to do the next right thing anyway. Who asks for help.
Love to the Point of Inconvenience
I think people say this because they want to be helpful. It’s convenient to be able to say something like that, and stop there. Let us remember “We love only to the point we let people inconvenience us.” (I heard this on the “Jen Said What?!” podcast, I wish I knew who said it originally.) So if you see a mom struggling with her little ones, validate her and offer her support. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Distract her kids, make them laugh. Try to ease her burdens. It may not fit as easily into your schedule, but you can be assured it will be an act of love that will bring much relief.