My daughter swallowed a penny. I thought she was old enough to play with it. I was wrong. I saw her put it in her mouth and immediately screamed, “spit it out!” The sudden shout scared her, sending the thing right down her throat. I felt my body turn numb, it seemed to be more than I could take at that moment.
Kids have done worse. Much more harm has entered the esophagus of many littles. But this day that penny sent me spiraling downward. It was the crescendo of a hard week, and I felt in that moment I just wanted to give up. I really wasn’t good at this mom thing. Not too good at all.
I wanted to stop for a little while, to let the tears flow fast. But we were in public, we had things to do, and so I went on, pushing the tears back.
We’re really good at that, aren’t we? At pushing back the tears, at telling the emotions they will simply have to wait. We hold it in, we keep it tight. We meet with our mom friends and smile and laugh and talk about all the cute things our little ones say.
Sometimes, when I go to the play date, I want to grab the other mom by the shoulders and yell “I am having a bad day!” But I cannot, because it is not the time for heart to hearts. There are too many toys flying, too many juice spills to clean. So we keep the conversation sweet, light, the way it should be.
I want to call her sometimes, the other mom, to tell her about things like the penny, about the way it shook me. I want to call and tell her, but my kids suddenly become wild banshees the moment I pick up the phone. I could try to call when my husband comes home, but then she is having time with her own husband, and I really do not want to interrupt. And so I do not call, I hold it inside.
How I long to talk with her sometimes, to really talk. Not about dirty diapers and sleepless nights. I want to talk about fears and worries, dreams and passions. I want to pour out my heart to her and to listen to her pour her own out to me.
Sometimes moms of little ones talk of being lonely. It is not that we are truly alone. We find ourselves amongst one another constantly. We see each other at the park, the library. We meet for play dates regularly. We are not physically alone, but there can still be found a loneliness in our hearts sometimes. Feelings and emotions we all share, and yet most often have to process on our own.
Our kids will not be little forever. There will come a day when we will find ourselves having coffee and conversation for as long as we please. Not today though. Today we are kissing boo boos and holding hands across the street. Today we are teaching the meaning of sharing and being kind. Today we are checking the toilet to make sure a penny made its way safety through.
And this is okay. This is beautiful. And most days are really, really good.
Right now though, if you are feeling a bit alone, know this: you are a good mom. You are doing a really great job at this mom thing.
Sometimes this is all we really needed to hear. Yes, we long to pour out our hearts, but often in the simple hope of hearing just a simple encouragement in return:
You are a good mom. A good wife. A good friend…
Pass it on–a text, an email, a simple whisper as you hug goodbye. We may not have too many heart to hearts these days, and we may not know what the other mom is going through at the moment. We can always bring a little encouragement though.
And as every mom knows, a little can go a very long way.