Dear Mom Who Feels Unappreciated,
There is post after post on the difficulty of raising children full time. Most of them try to laugh it off, even many that I have written, because a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. And sometimes raising our precious bubs feels like swallowing a cup of Buckley's. But after the laughter dies down we are faced with another nap cut short by the meowing cat and a night ahead that could leave us within an inch of sanity.
Not only can this be one of the hardest things we have ever done but often it is done in the dark, behind the curtains of our home and like one of those covert operations that high level CIA never get credit for...even their families are not entitled to the depths of their situation. And that my dear is how we sometimes feel.
Our families are the ones we want to be most appreciated by. The ones we sacrifice so much of ourselves for. We compromise, adjust and neglect our basic needs to uplift them and show them our deep love. And you know what, we are fine with that, aren't we? We don't mind eating later to make sure the kids are settled. We don't mind waking up multiple times for our teething baby or toddler having night terrors. We don't mind adjusting our schedule so the sick baby can nap awhile longer? And we don't mind even putting careers, hobbies or showers on hold to see our children through these fleeting years. So what is it that bugs us?
The lack of thanks. The lack of understanding. The lack of appreciation.
But as I am sitting here I wonder. Motherhood, parenthood, is an undercover job. Even our other partner does not fully understand our sacrifices and our needs, just like we do not theirs. Our children have NO CLUE, just as we didn't while we were being sacrificed for by our parents. Does my husband expect me to know what it feels like to do manual labour all day and then come home to be pestered to wrestle, play hockey and soccer? No. Do I even appreciate how hard it is for my transforming preschooler to listen, learn and obey as he is growing to understand this world? Not always.
So I am making up my mind to not expect to be overly appreciated for a job that only I truly understand to it's depths. It is not fair to my family, or to myself and I want to encourage you to do the same. Because really, we do what we do because we love our partners and we love our children. Feeling under appreciated reeks havoc on our mental health, leaving us bitter, drained and often angry.
So here it is Mom. You are doing an amazing job. I appreciate your hard work. I see you waking up all the time and when morning comes your squint, start the coffee and want to do anything but prepare breakfast for the energetic ones responsible for your lack of sleep. I see you struggling to teach, guide and prepare your children for the next stage. I see you researching options and trying to make respectable decisions though sleep deprived and over caffeinated.
And you know what I also see? I see a mother who adores her family. I see a mother whose heart is yearning to love on them in tangible ways, like preparing their favourite meals that may very well be rejected. Like staying up a little bit later to make sure their partner has clean clothes for the morning. Like getting bills paid on time to set their family up for success. Like taking the time to teach their children to tidy up, get dressed and eat their meals by themselves to enable them to grow into independent humans, instead of just huffing and doing it for them.
Now, we are appreciated! We will always be noticed by each other. Because we know what motherhood entails. The loud parts that everyone knows about and the quiet, even silent moments that take the most our of us yet are missed by others.
Appreciate yourself and your hard work, knowing you are making a difference in those silent times.
Love and appreciation,