Jax is 1 now. Can you believe it?! Seems like I was just doing my maternity shoot. These sixteen months with her have gone by so quickly. She has developed her own little personality and it has been truly amazing to witness. She’s a girl after my own heart with her strong-willed nature, love for pancakes and ability to communicate so naturally.
Even with only eight teeth she has a smile that could light up a midnight sky. Her eyes are captivating; big, brown, beautiful and full of wonder. Her overall presence brings about immense joy to all she encounters, especially me. I think that’s true for most babies. They are such gifts to us all. And like when given any gift, you don’t want to complain, because you’re grateful and never want to seem as though you’re not.
Nevertheless, being a mother, a parent, a guardian, even with all the love, joy and light babies bring, some days are more challenging than others.
Last week, I had a few of those days. Nothing in particular or life-altering happened. I think it was just a series of little things that built up over the course of a few days that left me on the verge of tears. More than anything, I was in need of some downtime. A chance to retreat and recharge so I could then come back, at my best and give my best to my baby.
It can be hard to admit these feelings. Society tells us that we HAVE to be strong, we have super powers and we can handle the pressure of anything - everything on our own! We tell ourselves that and we tell that to each other.
I wish we wouldn’t because, it simply isn’t true. We all need help sometimes.
We create these impossible expectations for ourselves [and each other] and I believe it creates fear. Fear of reaching out, being honest and asking for help; afraid that by doing so, we will be perceived as weak or don’t see the blessing in motherhood.
I hate that for us.
Most of us are trying to heal childhood wounds and trauma, while simultaneously attempting to ‘adult’ AND mother our babies. We have to be ‘on’ and at the top of our game within our respective fields and professions, manage households and budgets and raise children while also trying to also finish school, slay it in the gym, support and maintain healthy relationships with sista-friends and our men.
It’s a lot.
Sis, I don’t know about you, [but even with an extraordinary village], sometimes, a lot of times, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. In addition to the mom guilt, I have a hard time asking for help, because I miss Jax before she’s even out the door. Most times, I have relief available, but I don’t take it, because I want my baby with me as much as possible. It’s a constant struggle between wanting to be active and present all the time and needing time for self-care. Nevertheless, every now and again I really do need a moment where I don’t have to be anything to anybody else.
A small window of time where I can lay in a piping hot tub of water, lights off and a single candle burning at the end, with my eyes closed and my head tilted back on a soft, plush towel that’s rolled up tightly placed at the nape of my neck. A chilled glass of Sparkling Rosé and a slice of red velvet cake so moist that it falls apart as I lift it up towards my mouth. A whisper of background noise coming through the Bluetooth speaker provided by the incomparable Gregory Amos or Robert Glasper.
A moment in time where I can release my thoughts and just be...
Without someone calling my name or crying for me.
Without worrying about what to prepare for dinner or when to do the dishes and laundry that’s competing for my attention.
Without concerning myself with a list of errands to run and bills to pay.
Without picking up toys, changing diapers or cleaning up spills.
Without scheduling doctors visits or reading labels to make sure the daily intake of nutrition has been met.
Without second-guessing whether or not my decisions to vaccinate, stop breastfeeding at a year or let her have a sweet treat were the right decisions.
When I started writing this, Jax was asleep on my chest [the picture above was taken real-time, right after she dozed off]. A second ago, she woke up from her nap, crying hysterically. After giving her a drink and a healthy snack, she spat it out and continued to cry. In that moment, I didn’t know what to do or what she wanted. I’m not sure she even knew. So, I did the only thing I knew to do at the time. I picked her up and held her close to me. Being in my bosom seemed to cure whatever was ailing her. After a few moments passed, I offered her the rest of her drink. She sipped it and when she finished, she placed her tiny hand on the side of my face while starring at me with those amazing, calming eyes, then she laid her head back on my chest. I guess that was her peace offering, because she hasn’t made a sound since.
Even though she has no idea what the weight of the role of a mother is, maybe she sensed that I needed a moment. And if it couldn’t be a moment alone, maybe it could just be a moment of silence.
Ladies, I believe we can be incredible, capable, loving, nurturing mothers who are grateful for our children and still feel & communicate the weight of the load we carry. It does not mean we don’t love our babies or want them. It just means that the greatest responsibility on earth can require more than we have to give sometimes, if we don’t take care of ourselves too. I believe we can can ask for help without losing our power. Not doing so can cause us to lose ourselves.
And if that happens, nobody wins.
People see the pictures and posts filled with milestones, matching outfits, laughter and cheer [the highlight reel], but, this here, is the highlight ‘real’ of motherhood. Yes, it’s wonderful, rewarding and a blessing, but it can also be challenging and overwhelming sometimes.
Ps. Before I could proofread & edit this post and barely click send, the crying commenced and just before I put Jax in the tub, Q called from college requesting guidance with an assignment.
Jesus be a vacation!
Calgon, take me there!