I saw you today.
I saw you at the restaurant, when your baby was screaming, and the middle child threw their cup on the floor. I saw when it splashed up and hit the people at the next table. I saw the look they gave you when your older child jumped up to “help” but knocked into the waitress instead.
I saw how defeated you looked.
I saw how tired you looked.
I saw you again at the store. You had the baby in one arm, a stack of dresses in the other, and was pushing an empty stroller. The two middle kids disappeared in a clothing rack before you even noticed they had stopped holding the stroller. You turned and shouted for them, and again, people glared. Your kids ran out, laughing, and you turned red as you mumbled something at them under your breath.
I see you everywhere.
I see you at home too, when I look into the mirror. I see the frown lines, and the furrowed brow. I see you unsure and tired. Oh, so tired.
I see you, and I see me.
And I don’t know what to tell you.
Well. Maybe I do.
I know this, Mama. You’re doing the best you can. I am too. We are good Mommas. We are good, even when they scream and cry and whine and make a scene. We are good Mommas even when everyone else glares and grumbles and makes us feel like we are nothing.
We are not nothing.
We are the ones who love these stinkers no matter what.
We are the ones who see past the tantrum, and see the hurt.
We are the ones who know the folded arms and stomping feet just mean she’ll be able to stand up for herself when she’s grown.
We are the ones who know the excess energy and big ideas are going to change the world someday.
I don’t know when the kids will grow out of their naughty stage… or if they ever will. I don’t know of any magical new parenting tricks. I don’t have any tips for you.
Hang in there. Take a deep breath. And know you are doing a good job.
Love, Me (Mother of 4 under nine)