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To All the Moms Who Feel Like They Totally Suck Right Now

Photograph by J&J Brusie Photography

For the past week, my kids have been living off of French fries and Lunchables, I have spent way more money at gas stations than I care to admit, and I honest to goodness lost track of how long it had been since at least one of my children bathed.

I have a lot of excuses I could give you to justify my poor parenting, from my youngest daughter getting admitted to the hospital while we were in a different state on "vacation" to our car breaking down not once, but three times, to coming down with a vicious virus of my own, but honestly, the details really don't matter all that much.

What matters is that right now, I am kind of crawling to the finish line each and every day as a mother.

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What matters is that we all have moments and days and weeks and heck, even months, when we honestly can't fathom how we are going to keep going. But we keep putting one foot in the front of the other, keep changing one diaper after another, keep feeding little bellies and changing loads of laundry and resting our eyelids for "just a minute" while children play at our feet.

When it comes to motherhood, I am constantly taking one step forward and five steps backwards.

What matters is that it's OK for our children to see us cry. The lesson in your little 5-year-old wrapping her arms around you in a moment when you feel broken is perhaps the best thing you could ever teach her and certainly more important than any latest and greatest educational toy from a store.

What matters, I have found, is that even in the midst of brokenness and outright mama suckiness, there are still moments to look forward to. I never really understood people who talked about "living in the now." I mean, what the heck does that really mean? Even in the now, I'm thinking of either the future or the past. It feels impossible to really just be present. But it's in the moments when it feels like everything else is in disarray around me, when the future is uncertain and I am neither here nor there, that I realize what living in the now boils down to: It's when you hold on to moments, however small, when all that matters is a slight smile from your baby, the laughter of your children, a whisper of a soft breeze or the feeling of sunshine on your skin.

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Somehow, it takes everything else around you sucking majorly for you to embrace the true blessing of living in the present. You can appreciate each moment as they come for nothing more than what that moment presents to you. There are no expectations, no planning for the future, no memory captured on your phone. It's just that single moment, fleeting and frozen in time.

I feel like when it comes to motherhood, I am constantly taking one step forward and five steps backwards. I feel like I can't really tell how much I am messing up my children or if I'm doing any semblance of a good job whatsoever. I feel like I am fighting a never-ending battle to be better while giving myself grace when I stumble and fall, over and over again.

I feel like when it comes right down to it, the days I suck at motherhood are probably the days I am succeeding more than I realize.

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