When No One Sees

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(They’re only smiling because I promised Frosty’s if they cooperated. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you know how well that turned out.)

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.

Metaphorically speaking.

(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.

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28 thoughts on “When No One Sees

  1. Ahh Sarah, you have nailed it. Every week I deal with the fact that I have to lower the standards on my expectations. Not lower the love or enjoyment, just my expectations. So glad you are willing to share the truth. I embrace you and every other mom brave enough to admit all this. xoxo

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  2. This was excellent! My only addition might be that our Heavenly Father sees it all, and knows every single second what you are going through. It may not be glamorous, and you may never see all the rewards this side of heaven, but you are carrying out a tremendous ministry by serving Him in this oh, so important mission field…your children! Thank you for comforting the hearts of these weary moms! The memories will slightly fade of how hard it was, and you will look back and see that these days were a tremendous gift!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tears. Literally TEARS. I SO needed this this morning. Thanks for the metaphorical hug! BTW: Do you dispose of cars too? My kid said she saw a spider on the back of my headrest this morning so I now don’t know how she’s getting home–there’s no way I’m going back in there! ;P

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  4. This was shared by a friend on Facebook today. It’s more then exactly what I needed. It’s more of what might get me through this week. I’m drowning in all aspects of my life. A single mama with a 2 and half year old that needs me in sites at all times while working full time job that’s the hardest job I’ve ever done. I need some to say it’s freaking hard and that’s ok.

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  5. Oh my goodness! I bet every mom cried reading this. You are correct it’s hard work but it does pay off. I’m not able to have kids so I decided to foster the children without parents. They are the most damaged children, but they love me for wiping their noses, kissing their booboos and just loving them. I love that you see it and you explained being a parent so well. I’m going to call my mom and tell her how much I appreciate her!

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  6. So glad I read this tonight. We just had our first experience with lice. I was starting to feel sorry for myself. Aside from the girls having their hair treated for an hour and a half, no one else’s life was much affected by this, except of course, for mine. Guess how many thank yous I’ve gotten for the countless loads of laundry and all the vacuuming? In short, please bring the gasoline. Thanks for the post!

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  7. A friend shared this blog on my Facebook wall Friday morning. I cried. I had a horrible morning getting my two teenage kids off to school. It’s so hard when no one in the house wants to get out of bed, including me. Every morning is rough, but Friday was beyond rough and I repeated it again today. It seems to only be getting worse. Anyway, I lived these younger years and the appreciation really never comes as your children get older. They only feel “more entitled” ….. I’ve never blogged before but I had to join just to leave this comment which has about turned into my own little “blog” so maybe now I’ll start. It may be a peaceful way to relieve some stress from my life. Thanks for the inspiration. Being a parent is the most difficult thing to do, is a completely thankless job but the reward of watching your children grow and become young adults is worth it. Keep trucking along!

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    • Oh, Chris, hugs to you!! I don’t have teenagers yet, but I can imagine the thanklessness only increases. I never stopped to thank my parents until I was an adult (and could finally see all they did). That day will come for you.
      Blogging is definitely a great way to relieve stress. Somehow writing thoughts out helps. It feels like free therapy. I have found so much camaraderie as I’ve shared my own struggles. Awesome! I can’t wait to see what you write!!!

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  8. A friend shared this blog on my Facebook wall Friday morning. I cried. I had a horrible morning getting my two teenage kids off to school. It’s so hard when no one in the house wants to get out of bed, including me. Every morning is rough, but Friday was beyond rough and I repeated it again today. It seems to only be getting worse. Anyway, I lived these younger years and the appreciation really never comes as your children get older. They only feel “more entitled” ….. I’ve never blogged before but I had to join just to leave this comment which has about turned into my own little “blog” so maybe now I’ll start. It may be a peaceful way to relieve some stress from my life. Thanks for the inspiration. Being a parent is the most difficult thing to do, is a completely thankless job but the reward of watching your children grow and become young adults is worth it. Keep trucking along!

    Like

  9. Pingback: Cupcakes On A Tuesday: Sweet Relief for the Early Years of Motherhood | The FUNctional Mom

  10. This is amazing!! It’s soooo from the bottom of your heart! Hands down…this is what it is all about!
    When you become a mom, you are automatically subscribed to a sisterhood called Motherhood, and he only ones who understand you are your new sisters!
    And God gave us a huge heart, and the ability for UNCONDITIONAL LOVE so we could perform this new journey fully… so we would not give up! Because He needed for someone in the family tree to be the love giver and keep everyone together.

    We are giverslife givers, lovers, unconditionally lovers, superwomen, doers, miracle doers, healers,….everything healers!

    Thank you for sharing and pouring your heart out there!

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