After a particularly exhausting few weeks with her kids, a U.K. mom of two shared some honest thoughts about sharing the “grittier” side of parenthood.
On Sunday, Yvette Lamb of Nottingham posted a photo of herself with her 3-year-old and 1-year-old sons on the Facebook page for her blog, Big Trouble In Little Nappies. In the caption, she offered a message about appreciating the gifts of her children while also being honest about the reality.
Lamb opened her post with a disclaimer that she was operating on “half a glass of wine, little sleep” and feeling emotional about her baby’s first birthday.
“But there’s something I need to say,” she wrote.
“We are so lucky to be parents. We are so privileged. And life really is very precious,” she wrote.
That evening, Lamb’s younger son woke up crying. After holding him and soothing him back to sleep, she wound up in a slightly awkward position with one hand trapped under his chest.
As she felt his heart beating, the mom remembered seeing it “flickering” during an ultrasound while she was pregnant. “The same heart that beat inside of me, cocooned against mine all those months,” Lamb wrote. “This same heart beats and grows and loves every single day. This heart, with its arrival, filled ours up to bursting point.”
Reflecting on this joy, she added that it is “sad,” “heartbreaking” and “humbling” to think of the countless stories of parents losing children, couples facing infertility, and kids battling fatal illnesses. Connecting this perspective to the small challenges parents face everyday, Lamb wrote:
“I think it’s important to be honest about how tough this gig can be, and that to find it difficult doesn’t mean we’re getting it wrong or aren’t good enough. I completely champion sharing the grittier side of parenting, which is hard and exhausting and worrying. But I think it is also important to acknowledge that we are lucky, and gratitude can be shown without the pretense of perfection or of cherishing every moment. (Who, after all, really cherishes being puked on?)
So though I don’t and never will have this whole thing sussed, tonight I need to say I truly appreciate my children. They are our biggest gift and I am so very thankful to have them in this world.”
Lamb told The Huffington Post these thougths had been brewing inside her for awhile. “After a few weeks of feeling quite ground down by motherhood - getting no sleep, dealing with tantrums, stressing about dinner-refusals and the never ending piles of laundry and housework, I realized I’d began to lose sight of what life is really all about.”
“Our children were so wanted and are so loved, and when I looked around me or read things online, it was a stark reminder that so many people do not have what we have: a happy and healthy family and that we are so very lucky,” she said, adding that she has a close friend whose son is currently very sick and knows many others who are struggling to conceive.
Reiterating her message, Lamb said she understands people can’t live life treasuring every single little detail every single day simply because others are worse off.
“This post wasn’t written to make anyone feel bad for having a moan or needing some time off from the relentless and intense role of parenting,” she explained. “We all feel tired and fed up sometimes and we all need a break ― I am completely in that camp!”
Rather, she wants to remind people of the beauty, joy and laughter amid the messy and mundane parts of life. And she hopes people like her can pause to just be with their kids and “remember what really matters, far more than sleep or a tidy home.”
Lamb told HuffPost that if her post inspires just one person to briefly let go of the stress and live in the moment with their child, she will be overjoyed. She’s trying to live her life with this in mind, as well.
“It’s not that I don’t still struggle at times and feel ratty or tired; we all do,” she said. “But I’m trying not to sweat the small stuff so much, and I’m trying to be grateful for the biggest gifts I’ve ever been given.”