Maybe it was because I woke up in Navy wife beast mode this morning, but my Facebook feed was flooded with shares of a blog post that several friends responded positively to and my hair nearly caught on fire. It’s not because I didn’t relate to the author’s woes of being an overtired, “lost”, overwrought mom – I most definitely did. It was because she apologized for it.
In “An Apology to My Friends and Family“, Kiran Chug writes:
To the man I fell in love with in the days when I had no worries, to my two beautiful darlings who make everything brighter, to my family who keep everything going with their endless support, and to my friends who I’ve been rubbish to for too long: I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for shouting.
I’m sorry for snapping.
I’m sorry for being grumpy.
I’m sorry for not being much fun these days.
I’m sorry for crying.
I’m sorry for not seeing the brighter side.
I’m sorry for rarely laughing.
Kiran, you are a wonderful mum. I too have these feelings, this tiredness, this despair. I have my fair share of pity parties on and offline. But maybe it’s because I’m the mother of a teenager AND two toddlers living in a “life 2.0” that I have this sort of hind sight anger and often self directed frustration over moms being sad and tired and APOLOGETIC.
Sisters, I say this with the utmost respect: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SORRY FOR SHIT.
This may sound harsh, but this reminder has occasionally been offered to me by my friends who don’t have children – You CHOSE this life! This exhausting, frustrating, exhilarating, joyous life that is motherhood! And despite what you might have felt or continue to feel, NOBODY WHO MATTERS expects you to know everything and do it all perfectly with a smile on your face. If there’s someone in your life who is longing for you to be the person you were before you had kids, well, maybe they need not be in your life right now. And if that someone is your own inner voice, that tape needs to be ripped out of your head immediately. People who know you and love you will understand that motherhood changes you and will not only survive, but support you through your crying, your bitching, your sulking on the couch because you’ve been pooped on for the 10,000th time this week and you’re just fucking DONE.
Moreover, friends, not to slight our men, but when was the last time your partner/husband/father of your children apologized for being tired, yelling too much, and being ill equipped for fatherhood? Like women, men also don’t magically become the greatest, funnest most awesome parents on earth when that baby makes its grand entrance from the womb. When did HE last apologize for his sometimes half assed effort on the elusive date night to get dressed in something ironed? Did he apologize for no longer drowning himself in cologne or having that excited, “Oh my God, this girl is amazing” look in his eyes because he too is exhausted from parenting or working? He MIGHT, and sometimes my husband, in a state of sleep deprivation, will make these admissions. But he doesn’t have quite as much anxiety and frustration over not always having the energy or time to be that hot, fun guy that just wanted to make me smile and laugh. Stop having so much anxiety over not being that hot, fun woman that smiled and laughed all the time. You are still that woman, except as the mother of his children you are a far more powerful force in his life than you realize.
The reality is, right now, we’re juice covered, spill wiping, sleep deprived moms who struggle to maintain an identity separate from our parenthood. Parenthood CHANGES YOU FOREVER. You are NOT the same person you were and you never will be. Believe me when I say that at the end of the crying baby, battling toddler, awkward teenager phases of your life, you will be YOU, but BETTER. Wiser. More appreciative. And, if you allowed yourself the opportunity to appreciate the joyful moments that also come with parenthood, you will be more joyous, more fun, and the keeper of the most spectacular and important memories of your family’s life. Don’t be sorry for the price the people that matter have to pay for your parenthood – your woes, your grumbles, your tears. Those who matter will understand that you pay a price for parenthood, too. You too need to allow yourself to understand and embrace that these struggles are a part of who you are right now and that in time they will not only dissipate, but turn into the sage advice you can offer your children and mothers you meet in the future.
So for now, to your children, you’re the lady that takes them to the zoo, says “WEE!” when they slide down the slide, blows bubbles, surprises them with their favorite snacks. Yours is the first smile they see every day. You are the human embodiment of FUN. You are the singer of songs and the reader of exciting, scary, funny stories that turn their imaginations and fuel their dreams. You are the reason they feel safe in the world to explore, make messes, and learn. Yes, you may snap, you may grump, you may scream, but that’s not WHO you are to your children. In truth, YOU are home, YOU are joy, and YOU are the one woman they never want to live without. Don’t be sorry.