Do you ever get to that moment in your day?
The moment when you have had one too many tantrums, one too many meltdowns, one too many toddlers hanging from your leg as you try to walk?
The moment when even the sweet gestures of a little one’s hug can make you want to slink under your bed because you have just had way too much touch?
And those are rhetorical questions because we all get those moments. Every single one of us. And yet when we are at that breaking point, at that moment, we can’t think in terms of other people or other times or other situations. All that exists is now, and we feel lost and alone, swimming uphill in a current of dirty diapers and lullabies.
It’s during those times when I think we need to widen our gazes. We need to look out into the world around us, look behind all of the other white picket fences and know that within those walls are whining toddlers and thrown food and dogs barking to be let out.
Motherhood can be so loud sometimes. Mainly in good ways, of course. Like when we drop our first off at school for the first time and we feel that combination of pride, terror, and loss. Like when we get a much needed hug after a very long day. Like when we embrace the crying infant and we hear her cries subside and slow to hiccoughs as she hears and calms to the heartbeat she heard before her own.
Those experiences can make us feel like the world is a story written just for us. That we are the central characters. That we are the protagonist in some story as old as time.
That loudness, though, is also what makes it so deafening when things aren’t going well. When we have had a rough day. When we just need a moment of peace.
They always say that it takes a village to raise a child, and the more I think about it, the more that I believe it also takes a village to raise a mom. To support her and calm her and listen to her and nurture her so that she can, in turn, nurture her little ones.
And I think that when we have trouble seeing our village, when everyone and everything seem so far away, it’s then that we most need to seek it. We can seek it in a phone call or coffee with a friend; it can be in stories told over email, on the web, or in a book. It doesn’t where we find it. It just matters that we find it.
Because what we need is communion.
We need to tell our stories so that others may listen, and we need to listen so that others may speak. We need to find women across town and across the world and find the commonality in our experiences. We need to seek to find that which we have in common rather than that with which we disagree because if we are always disagreeing, we will never feel in communion. We will always feel separate. And that can lead to feeling alone.
Motherhood is beautiful. Motherhood is holy. It is life giving and it is life affirming. And it is exhausting.
Let’s try to make it a little easier on ourselves and on each other. Let’s hold hands and jump on in because we are all in this life on this planet at this one time, and it’s a whole lot easier to swim when you are buoyed up by all of those who travel with you.