You might call my BFF a germophobe.
She keeps a gallon sized container of hand sanitizer in her car and has single-handedly kept Clorox is business. (And is kind enough to overlook my subpar relationship with germs.)
So, when she texted me this morning to tell me she caught her daughter playing with the toilet brush, I asked her if she planned to burn her house down or just close the bathroom door and never go in again.
Those were her only two options, obviously.
Just two days ago, I had to change my son’s poopy diaper in a porta potty, which is on the list of top five worst experiences of my life. While cleaning up the disgustingness, all I could think was that if my BFF were in this position, she might literally die.
I also thought this would be a non-issue if I would just potty train the kid. But I don’t have that kind of energy.
Motherhood is so glamourous, isn’t it?!?
It’s not that I thought having kids would somehow make my life cleaner, cuter, and more sanitary. But I severely underestimated how gross it would be. And how hard it could be.
There are a million things I love about being a mom. I think you know that about me.
But, dang, it is hard.
The hard would be more easily tolerated if it were celebrated, thanked, and noticed.
But the reason the hard is so dang hard is because no one sees me.
I’ve spent the better part of ten years wiping butts, counters, toilets, floors, noses, and hands. No one notices.
I want to veg out and watch TV at night. Instead, I lay with each of my kids, singing their favorite songs and scratching their backs…because, according to them, they can’t fall asleep until I do. No one sees this.
Clean clothes magically appear in everyone’s closets and drawers. No one thanks me.
I make 21 meals a week, taking into account each child’s food preferences. Everyone complains anyway.
Raising children is so friggin hard. And it feels like no one sees.
I want you to know, sweet mama, that I see. I see you. And so does the sisterhood of mamas everywhere.
When you post precious pictures of your newborn, I know how exhausted you are. And I know the not-so-precious thoughts you’ve had in that exhaustion.
When you post pictures of making cupcakes with your kids, I know what your kitchen looks like outside of the cropped photo.
When your toddler throws a tantrum in the grocery store, I know how embarrassed you are.
When you tell me your kids are sick, I hear the words you don’t say: how tired you are, how many Clorox wipes you’ve used today, and how awful it is to see your child so miserable.
When I see your new family pictures, I know how much effort went into picking out everyone’s outfits. And I know how much bribery is behind those smiles.
So, when you tell me you found your child playing with the toilet brush, I will bring the gasoline to burn down the house.
(But I really would do it.)
This business of raising kids is so thankless. And it feels like no one sees.
But it matters. You may not see the fruit of your labor for years, but it matters. You matter.
The baby you rocked for hours will run to you first when their heart gets hurt by a friend. Your hugs and kisses matter.
The cupcakes that destroyed your kitchen will be waiting for you after bedtime when you need to eat your feelings.
Rolling down the windows of your car and singing “Let It Go” at the top of your lungs will embarrass your school age children far more than their tantrums ever did. It’s the circle of life, baby.
Your kids eventually learn to make it to the toilet when they’re sick, but you will always be the one who brings them comfort. I’m in my 30’s and still long for my mom when I’m sick. There’s a reason for that.
The cute family pictures will be treasured for a lifetime. And your kids will forget the death threats you made as soon as the milkshakes hit their lips.
You are so important to your children.
All of the selfless acts matter.
It may be a very long time before they ever thank you, but there will never be anyone who they want more than you.
I wish I could reach through the computer, give you a hug, look into your eyes and let you know: I see you. I see the hard days. I see the sleepless nights. I see you giving every ounce of energy you have to your children. And them some. I see your sacrifice.
I may not be able to come through the computer, but you know I will totally defend your alibi should you ever need to burn down your house.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.