The pharmacy cashier asked what my relationship to the patient was.
“I’m her mother.”
I was picking up some prescription pain medication for my daughter who was at home with my husband and still super emotional from one of the general anesthesia meds she’d received. Just an hour earlier she’d been medically oblivious as nine baby teeth had been extracted by the oral surgeon.
As I drove home with the medicine that might as well have been labeled “gold,” I noticed a familiar sensation creep into my consciousness. It was utter exhaustion. I reminded my constant companion we still had to get the medicine into my daughter, encourage her to drink and eat some more, and get an ice pack on her cheeks. My husband was working from home today, but that didn’t mean he was free from all work-related responsibilities and our toddler Addie was cutting a molar. In other words, I told my exhaustion to suck it up because I still needed to get a lot done before I could rest.
[bctt tweet=”Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing. -Ricki Lake” username=”ChoosingWisdom”]
The Motherhood Skill Set
I don’t have a ton of out-of-the-home work experience, but I can tell you that being a stay-at-home mother is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Some days it’s the physical exertion of holding a teething toddler all day that makes me bone-tired. Others it’s the near-constant mental and emotional strain that leaves me in a near-comatose state each night.
A mother’s mental load has been a hot topic ever since Emma’s now-famous cartoon called “You Should’ve Asked” was picked up by many media outlets. The mental load coupled with the physical execution of daily tasks is the reason why many mothers’ constant status is “tired.”
[bctt tweet=”The mental load means always having to remember. -Source” username=”ChoosingWisdom”]
While at Walmart’s pharmacy, I was thinking about everything I would need to over the next day and week. I thought about all of the directions the discharge nurse had given me (ah! I forgot to put an ice pack on her). All of the soft food we had at home (maybe she’ll eat a banana, do we need more protein powder for her smoothies? Maybe I should get some just in case). And our dinner plans (I hope she’ll be able to eat the French toast she requested; I know how disappointed she’ll be if it hurts too much).
I thought about the primal fear in her eyes as they prepped her arm for her first IV. Or her weight as the discharge nurse and I helped her to the car after her surgery. I thought about her nervousness. About being made fun of at church and school for having nine teeth missing at once. And all the while, I thought about how I needed to set aside my fears, relief, hunger, thirst, and fatigue until I could finish taking care of Elle.
[bctt tweet=”Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. – Newt Gingrich” username=”ChoosingWisdom”]
Motherhood Is a Beast, But So Am I
In the 10+ years, I’ve been a mother, I’ve learned so much about my limitations, inadequacies, and flaws. I’ve been brought to my knees in utter humility and desperation. I have played the role of doctor, professor, therapist, and life coach with no training in any of it. I’ve gone to sleep wondering how in the world Heavenly Father thought I’d be able to handle this motherhood gig. But each new day I wake up and do it all over again.
While motherhood has left me gasping for air plenty of times, it’s also strengthened and empowered me. Motherhood has all but cured me of my needle phobia as I endured over 100 injections for our IVF and FET treatments. Motherhood has connected me with my inner advocate as I’ve fought for my ADHD daughter. My petite frame carries a 27-pound 16-month-old around throughout the day. Every day. Motherhood transforms me into a better, stronger, greater version of myself when my kids need me.
Motherhood is a great honor and privilege, yet it is also synonymous with servanthood. Every day women are called upon to selflessly meet the needs of their families. Whether they are awake at night nursing a baby, spending their time and money on less-than-grateful teenagers, or preparing meals, moms continuously put others before themselves.” Charles Stanley
A Shout Out to All Moms
Standing in line at the pharmacy, mind racing and concern over my daughter high, I knew I wasn’t alone. Yes, I had my husband at home to help. Yes, I had God just a prayer away. But I was also aware of the millions of mothers who have stood in the place I was. Mothers the world over who will cheer, comfort, guide, advocate, strengthen, remind, encourage, carry, teach, feed, and love their kids. It’s humbling to be ranked among such a powerful force for good.
So, next time you’ve found yourself – again – telling your constant companion “Tired” to suck it up because there’s still work to be done, remember, Mama: Motherhood is a beast, and so are you.