I was hunched over on my son’s bedroom floor.
My body was tired from carrying his little brother around for seven months, my mental capacity was shot from dealing with an 18-month-old all day, and yet, for some reason, the stupid laundry still sat strewn across the floor needing put away. The audacity of laundry, am I right?
It was in this moment of sheer exhaustion that my tender, quiet, sweet little boy came over and did something he’d been doing fairly regularly for about a month: he hit me. For no reason, completely out of the blue, just for fun.
Except it wasn’t fun.
It’s not that he’d hurt me physically, and I know that wasn’t his intention, anyway. He was simply attempting to communicate something to me that I had no way of deciphering.
But it did hurt me. It hurt my heart.
There are things that we knowingly teach our children. We do it intentionally, or even unintentionally, but if we take the time we can carefully trace back the steps right to where they learned that word, action, or habit. This wasn’t one of those things, though.
And not having a clear answer as to where this terrible inclination had been planted and taken root was extremely frustrating. It left me feeling helpless, having no idea how to correct a behavior that most certainly demanded correction.
Not only that, but I knew that in a matter of only months another sweet, much more vulnerable little boy would be a part of our beautiful family, and the thought of him being the target of his brother’s blows broke my heart into pieces.
So, it was in that moment that I did the only thing I knew to do: I cried.
I guess it’s considered more than crying when you have a difficult time catching your breath, so maybe sobbing is the more appropriate term. Right in front of my son, as I released my body’s weight against his crib, realizing that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. Not a clue.
In his genuine tenderness, my little man began to cry, too. He snuggled up in my lap, tears streaming down both of our cheeks, neither of us knowing what to do next.
It was only after I’d regained my composure, convinced myself that I was possibly slightly insane and undoubtedly extremely hormonal, and moved on from that fleeting, fairly terrible moment in time that I realized that I can’t be the only mom that’s ever been there. I can’t be the only one that’s been faced with a difficult parenting situation, however trivial or monumental, knowing nothing else to do but cry.
And guess what? That’s a-okay.
There is no foolproof “Mommy Handbook” to follow; no sure-fire parenting advice catered to your specific child with his specific needs and your specific family situation in mind; no magic recipe to follow with perfect results guaranteed.
We are on a marvelously messy journey, mamas.
It isn’t meant to be cookie-cutter flawless, no matter how much I oftentimes wish it were. And none of us are meant to have all of the answers, either. Some moments it’s a complete guessing game, and others will make you feel like superwoman.
So, most importantly, don’t give up. Press in and press on. Then, once you’ve picked yourself up off the floor and wiped the tears from your eyes, shift your focus to the incredible, strong, relentless, beautiful, awe-inspiring team that you are a part of. You belong, and you are never alone.
No matter what you’re going through, you aren’t the first. Many women have already trekked the daunting, marvelous path ahead of you.
And, at the very least, love your fellow mamas well. Show them unfailing grace and compassion, remembering that we’re all in this together.