I can’t figure out if this, my son's first year of life, went by really slowly, really quickly or if I’m too tired to cognitively understand what the heck is going on. All I know is this:
I made it, y’all.
My second (and last! Because I can’t do this again—ya hear me, birth control?) child turned 1 a few weeks ago. While I know we’re supposed to be throwing parties for our kids, I wanted to throw a party for myself. I survived.
I made it through the hardest year of my effing life, and I’m still standing.
Yes, my posture is all jacked up, and I’ve got an extra fat roll on my back. But listen ... I am standing.
This is what we need to be celebrating every year. By "we," I mean us mothers. The “this” is the whole parenting thing. For every moment you wanted to sleep in and couldn’t, you had to get up anyway. When you could have spent a little extra on something for yourself, but you bought something for your kids instead. You had to focus at work, look attentive in parent-teacher conferences and recitals. You’ve had to pretend to really be interested in hearing that same story for the 234th time.
As I watch my baby boy beam up at me, I’m like, 'Dang, we really made it?'
So, hell yes, girl. We absolutely deserve to celebrate. As I watch my baby boy beam up at me, I’m like, “Dang, we really made it?”
I didn’t think it would happen.
Mental health counseling played a huge role in helping me get my emotions and actions to play nicely with each other. Regular moments away from my children were integral and necessary, so that I could actually have the time to miss them. I think about all of the moments I had to run to the bathroom just so I could get two freaking minutes to myself without someone asking something of me.
As much as it bugged me and suffocated me at times, it gave me purpose. Still, I didn’t think I’d survive that craziness.
I felt guilty, but not really, because as much as I adore my children, they needed to know that Mommy had timeouts, too. They needed to know that sometimes I didn’t want to talk and be super happy and playful mama. They needed to know that sometimes I was tired, frustrated, sad or angry.
They survived. I survived. We survived. I didn’t think we would. I thought for sure that, at some point, one of us was going to lose it. Granted, the threenager loses it regularly. But each night, she made it in bed with an unhungry tummy and (mostly) clean feet. Each night her baby brother slept a few feet away from her. I thought he’d never be able to sleep away from me. I thought he’d never detach himself from my breasts. I thought he’d never allow me to be more than a few minutes away from him. I thought he’d remain my needy little guy. As much as it bugged me and suffocated me at times, it gave me purpose. Still, I didn’t think I’d survive that craziness.
You survived too, Mama. Pour yourself a glass. Take yourself out on a date. Blow kisses to yourself in the mirror. Do what you have to do to celebrate the fact that you freaking survived.
Photograph by: Brittany Minor