As a mother to two rambunctious little ones, with another one on the way…I feel your pain momma. Everyone professes how challenging the early years with babies, toddlers and preschoolers are. But one cannot fully comprehend it until actually going through the day-to-day, living each and every crazy minute of motherhood.
And multiply the crazy factor by 100 if you’re a single mother.
Mother whose spouse travels frequently.
Stay-at-home mother with no help.
Or mother with no family nearby to lend an extra hand each day.
A vortex of chaos consumes you the moment you rise. Whether managing the wailing cries of your infant, tending to your toddlers antics or prepping lunches and bags for your preschooler. It’s a battle you aren’t ever really prepared to deal with the second you open your eyes after a long, restless night.
I know personally that getting my 3 year-old ready for school each morning is unbelievably difficult. He is a boy at a tough age with daily behavioral challenges. But it begins with both boys dueling for my attention before heading for the stairs, opening the safety gate and making their way down, nearly causing a heart attack.
They dart in separate directions; One toward the dog bowl and the other towards the fridge. I see my oldest son lift a gallon of regular milk in one arm, while balancing a half a gallon of chocolate in the other…all before crying bloody murder if I don’t mix each of his favorite cereals together. Then it’s spilt milk and muffin crumbs galore on the family room rug as I run to tend to my toddler. I try to clean up the mess before realizing it’s a lost cause, at the rate their going.
Before I can turn around to start packing lunches, my older son has already managed to rile up his little brother. I hear screaming and crying EVERY few minutes. I reprimand him and yell for him to listen and stop the bad behavior. Tears are shed and not only by the kids.
Forget about making myself a meal or changing out of my pajamas (if I managed to even put them on last night instead of yesterday’s leggings and t-shirt) — it’s time to coerce my 3 year-old to put on some new clothes, as I see the clock ticking and we are running late yet again.
No words can truly describe how stressful mornings alone with little ones are. But let me just say, this time in motherhood can really test you. IT IS HARD.
And sometimes turning to anger management class to calm the chaos is key!
The afternoons aren’t any different, as nap time battles ensue. When the rocking in my arms and quiet time activities aren’t enough, a ride in the car can seem like the only solution. And God-forbid someone misses a nap. Because if that’s the case, the rest of the day is guarantee to take a turn for the worst, with overtired kids having tantrums, refusing meals and playing rough all day.
Moms are left feeling out of control, exhausted, questioning their skills…and wondering if anyone understands. But let me remind you, no one said it was easy (although some may certainly have it easier than others!). Mothering young children is a lonely, all-encompassing job that can seem to rule your life. IT IS HARD.
The evenings are always up in the air. The days you have help, or anxiously await the return of your spouse from work can mean a quick break for momma to finally shower, start dinner or regain her sanity. But after hours of chasing and yelling at kids it’s no surprise you are left physically and emotionally drained, redirecting your frustration and stress at the person walking through the doors…because you’ve had a tough day, again and don’t think anyone truly understands how HARD IT IS.
And fortunate are the moms who can afford a nanny or have an extra set of hands to help during the day AND night, but some may not have it that easy. Some may struggle with a difficult child who just won’t listen or behave. Some may wish they had family around the corner to turn to when overwhelmed.
Remember momma, no matter what your challenge is, know this truth: the struggle you’re facing is real. No matter what someone else may think or assume. This stage in life is NOT easy. Particularly in your circumstance. IT IS HARD. And you will get through it. One day at a time.
Some days you will have to push on alone and do the best you can. Some days you will need to ask for help. And one day you will see what a tough, yet amazing job you did.
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.