I'm not the happy mom I thought I'd be.

I’m not the happy mom.

I always thought I would be that mom whose smile beams every time she sees her baby, and who can’t stop talking about how fulfilled motherhood makes her.

Maybe at first I was that mom. But not anymore. I’m not the happy mom.

I see myself more as the frustrated mom, and I worry that my kids see me that way too.

I scowl more than I smile. I yell more than I whisper. I get mad more often than I laugh.

I hate it. This isn’t how I thought it would be.

Sure, people have told me I’m in a “rough season of life.” But how long does that last? And how do I keep myself from being hardened during the rest of these years, based on how I’m living now?

It’s difficult, we all know that. We knew mother hood would be difficult, we just didn’t know how difficult it would actually be.

All the sleepless nights. Nights with no one helping us. Days alone while our spouse worked. Alienated from friends. No one to talk to. No one that understands. Afraid and embarrassed to reach out. With no village.

Saying this is a rough season of life sounds like an understatement.

There are nights I go to bed with my eyes wide open – not ready for another day, so I try to lay awake. And I worry: I worry that I’m disappointing my kids, that I’m not there for them emotionally the way they need me to be, that they will end up with issues of their own, thanks to me.

And that makes me frustrated. And angry. And sad. And depressed.

I have a feeling that you’ve experienced some of these things too.

I get it.

A lot of people don’t understand. But mama, I do.

On my good days I remind myself that all of us are going to have frustrated days, and grumpy days, and I-can’t-even-make-myself-get-out-of-bed days. And sometimes those days run back-to-back for several days.

And that happens. It doesn’t make you terrible.

But it does make you exhausted.

And as moms, we can’t afford to burn out on these kids.

We need to take care of ourselves better.

And no, that doesn’t mean that we should neglect our kids for our phones under the guise of “self care.” That doesn’t mean that we should constantly expect someone else to do the hard work of mothering for us.

It does mean that we owe ourselves a break every once in a while.

Some days that will mean you go out and get that pedicure you’ve wanted for a month.

Or that you finally get your hair trimmed.

Or that you spend an hour browsing Barnes & Noble with a drink in your hand.

Other days the only break you’ll be able to take will be an extended trip to the pantry where you take a deep breathe and tell yourself you’re doing the best with what you’ve got right now.

And isn’t that all any of us can do?

Tomorrow we will know more, and we will do our best again tomorrow too.

I’m right there with you.

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