Hey girl, hey! Today I thought I should write you a letter. It’s for later. Much later. It’s for when you really need me.
Right now we are lost. We are feeling broken and defeated. See, you decided it would be a great idea to have two babies back to back and carry on a full-time demanding career. You thought the timing was great because you work from home and your awesome mother-in-law is a wonderful nanny who won’t even charge you more for another baby to care for. Girl, you grossly underestimated how hard it would be to have two children under 2 years old.
You work from home full time and you hear crying and whining all day. ALL. DAY. You try to drown out the sounds with music and Netflix plugged into your head as you attempt to continue to be as productive as you were before. The sound is getting to you. All you want right now is quiet. You go from mom to employee and back to mom again without any moment of transition. You can’t breathe.
You don’t sleep at night because your 6 month old refuses to follow the protocol that you laid out for your previous children. You can’t figure her out. The moment you think you’ve finally got it with her, she changes the game to let you know you ain’t got shit. You feel like you’re failing. You feel like you’re failing your husband. You don’t even sleep in the same bed most nights because one of you is always tending to the baby. You need to have more sex, but you’re both so tired.
Your 1 year old runs the house. You have no control because you are too exhausted to battle with her. She eats cookies and saltine crackers for dinner some days because you just can’t fight. “At least she ate 3 green beans today,” you tell yourself. She screams when she doesn’t get her way. You lose against her iron will every day. She is the Alpha and everyone else is her bitch.
Your older children sense your brokenness. They need something more from you and you cannot pour from the empty jug that you are. You feel like you aren’t what they need you to be.
There isn’t a “self care” bubble bath deep enough to drown your cracked spirit. Some days you want to disappear. You are riddled with the pain of guilt because you chose this life and cannot even rise to the challenge. Your house is covered in toys, there are dishes everywhere, laundry never stops piling up and you get paralyzed with inaction as you sit writing this, thinking that all the things you have to do are insurmountable. You think about doing things like shaving your head just to have one less thing to worry about. Shit, you now understand Britney Spears circa 2007. You feel broken, sleep deprived and inadequate. Life is eating your soul right now. You constantly think “WHAT HAVE I DONE?”
Even in this darkness there is a sky full of stars. Points of light. Your husband is the brightest of the stars right now. Remember that when his light fades a little and he needs you to shine for him. Be good to him. You don’t always say the right things. That 1 year old that makes you crazy? Well she also makes you laugh every single day. She is smart and quick. That little baby loves you so much. You can see it in her eyes. You can feel it in her snuggle. You absolutely melt at her toothless grin. You love her so much it hurts. Your oldest is at a tricky stage in life right now. You remember what that felt like when you were about her age. I know you just want to protect her from everything, but you can’t so just be there to remind her of how amazing she is. She has a heart of gold. Don’t forget her in the craziness of everything else. She was once the only one there, and was all you had that kept you from being a mess when your life fell apart before.
I want to remind you of all of these things because if you’re reading this, you got to the other side. Look, it didn’t last forever! You survived. Well done, you. Right now, as you write this, you don’t think you can. But in the future when some other challenge is biting into your flesh, ripping your spirit apart, breaking you down, remember you’ve been here. Remember the day that you wrote this that you cried at how lost you felt. It was temporary. The plan is for you to read this when you are in pain again; when you are confused and frustrated and angry and limping and torn. Let this be a reminder to you that you’ve been here before and you made it through. You can do it again. We’ve done it many times before. Remember 2011… that shit was REAL and you made it. There’s muscle memory in your pain. Go ahead and cry. Go ahead and drink that drink. But this too shall pass.
Me… or You. This is time travel and I’m not sure of the rules.