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To the Mom in the Trenches

Photograph by Getty Images

To The Mom In The Trenches,

I know some days it's hard—really hard—to pick your head up off your pillow and do it all over again. Your unrelenting days seems to mix and swirl together in a blur not even copious amounts of caffeine can fix. Mornings are arduous, you're exhausted and wonder if you even slept the night before.

Afternoons can seem like an eternity, especially if nap time resembles a battle. And trying to get through an evening—making dinner and cleaning up, while keeping your children happy to avoid a meltdown—is nearly impossible.

I know you have little ones following you everywhere, tugging on your sleeve, needing a snack, needing a drink, needing a story, needing you—just you—even during the moments their dad is standing right next to them.

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I know showers and phone calls are rushed. You lock yourself in the bathroom, or hide in the closet to steal a moment, catch your breath, and give your self a pep- talk. You tell yourself you are capable, and you believe it, but it doesn't mean it won't take everything inside you to get through the day.

It doesn't mean you are weak, and it certainly doesn't mean anything is wrong with you. Every mother has been there, especially the ones who say they haven't, oh, they certainly have.

A trip to the store or post office is something you dread with your kids in tow. It takes three times as long, it is utterly exhausting.

You use all your strength just to try and keep it together for these sweet babies that you adore, which is why you are so hard on yourself. You want it all for them, and you give it, gladly. But you feel depleted so often, it has become your normal.

When you're in the middle of your time in the trenches, everyone's telling you to enjoy every second because it goes so fast, and soon you will long for it. You know they are right, you know it. But it doesn't make you suddenly enjoy the tantrums, or the nightly struggle to get their teeth brushed, or tucking them in 50 times. Maybe on some days—the best days—it's a reminder to be a bit gentler on them, and yourself.

You're in the thick of it, and I'm not going to tell you how fast time slips away, and one day you'll miss this struggle. I am going to tell you to hang on because soon it will get better.

We aren't supposed to enjoy getting woken up at 4 a.m. by our toddler when we were up with a sick child the night before, or we have another that wants to take over our bed. It's so hard not to lose it and keep our emotions pulled in tight. So, over time, we do snap once in a while, because it's normal. Then the guilt comes, it gnaws away at us and we tell ourselves we will do better, we will try harder. And we do—some days.

You're in the thick of it, and I'm not going to tell you how fast time slips away, and one day you'll miss this struggle. I am going to tell you to hang on because soon it will get better. Your kids won't need you to do everything for them. One day they'll occupy themselves for hours and you'll catch your breath without hiding in the closet or bathroom.

The time will come when they won't need you to fall asleep, and hectic bedtime will be a thing of the past.

You will feel like getting dressed each day, and running simple errands will be just that: simple.

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And guess what happens then? You become a better version of yourself. It's almost like the woman you were before you had kids, and the strong, nurturing woman you are now, meet for the first time and are able to coexist.

And it is glorious.

You're tougher for being a mom, you know how to take care of shit, you can deal with anything that gets thrown your way. But you're softer, too. You've been changed by the love you have given your kids, and by the love they give you everyday. It's unconditional, and it gives you what you need.

So hang in there, mama. You will make it through this day, and the day after, and the day after that. And you may look back at this time and say "I wish they were young again," but you also find yourself reading, or talking to a friend, or sitting with them in a cafe without incident, looking up at and thinking, Look at my kids—look how well they turned out, I did that.

And it will all be worth it. Promise.

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