by Erricka Starnes
Alright, little mama,
Let’s talk (ps another long erricka post)
To the mom who feels alone. The mom overwhelmed. The mom feeling like she is failing everyone around her. The mom who feels like she is failing herself. The mom who has nothing but guilt. The mom whose mind runs nonstop. The mom that loves those littles so much. The mom with a supportive partner who might not fully get it. Or the single mama doing it all alone:
The mama with post-partum anxiety, depression, psychosis, or just general stress and lack of sleep. Treated or suffering in silence:
I see you.
And my opinion isn’t worth much I promise.
But as I was talking to a sweet friend this week just expressing how she feels like any mom has felt at some point and hearing, “social media doesn’t help.”
So, let me start with saying. Yeah, 90% of our social media accounts is of our precious babies we love so much and love to show off. The sweet holiday crafts and snacks. Matching clothes. Happy outdoor photos. Our coordinated professional photos in a hay field.
And while those moments make up a huge chunk of our lives. It isn’t everything.
Like me sitting in the bathroom floor this evening needing a moment to reset from all the laundry I need to do, a teething baby that hasn’t slept, a full work day, and trying to squeeze in all my never ending to-do list that makes me a “good mom and wife.”
If you ask any mom how they are?
Fine. Great. Happier than ever.
If you ask if they need help?
Of course not, this is their job and their responsibility.
Ask if anything is wrong?
Of course they can’t say anything because someone has it worse or you don’t want to appear that they’re complaining about these kids they love so much.
What you don’t see? The endless guilt to meet the standards of motherhood. Feel like you’re giving 100% at your job. 100% to your spouse. Does your child or children have all needs met while also ensuring every memory, tradition, and play session can be achieved. And what even is, “self care”?
And I get it. People have been moms from the beginning of time.
But I promise, even if there is a long way to go, mental health has come a long way in awareness.
We didn’t wake up every day and see everyone around us post an online scrapbook into picture perfect lives and open all the windows of doubt of how we don’t match up.
Or the fact we lived through a pandemic where your village was isolated or you added the additional fear of needing to protect your littles.
And let’s not mention the constant daily “memories” of our pre-mommy bodies, friends we haven’t had time to message and catch up with, or times when you didn’t have a care in the world. We see every child professional and child game/craft possible.
We don’t post the piling dishes. The lying awake at night thinking of how we will do things differently tomorrow. Mourning our kids growing in front of us. Reading those endless articles how to handle every situation from breaking the bottle, to potty training, to how to phrase. Wondering if we are doing our best by working, staying home, how we parent. The crying alone because no one can see otherwise. The second guessing, comparing, and endless awful internal monologue we speak to ourselves.
And the guilt. Oh, the guilt of anything: a basic shower, alone shopping trip, or night away.
And I’m sorry, mom guilt is beyond anything else in this world.
We equate our entire worth on how clean our house is, how much we seem put together, and if everything on our unrealistic to-do list is checked off. Did we fix a big meal for supper. And read enough books.
But we don’t count for the times we play, sing, talk, teach, cuddle, read, love, and make all the moments that will never be documented for the world to see.
And even if we don’t hit all of that on that list, our worth is still always enough.
And none of feeling overwhelmed or guilty makes you less of a mom. Trust me, I have to remind myself every single day. Because no one shows up and out for our babies like a mama. No one loves those babies like us.
All of that to say, you’re seen. You’re heard. You’re understood.
Even when you feel the most alone, there is another mom feeling the same.
Okay, love you, bye.
by Erricka Starnes