I saw this article about “mom rage” yesterday on The Tot and it really had me thinking a lot about what we, as mothers – working outside the home or not – have suffered during this past year of incredible turmoil. Over 2 million women have had to leave the workforce, childcare centers and schools shut down leaving those lucky enough to have a job balancing child care, telecommuting AND trying to be a teacher to bored, restless children. Mothers who don’t typically work outside the home also suffered with no breaks, their spouse or partner possibly now working from home full time (its OWN stress!) and OH YEAH, the constant threat of a potentially fatal disease at every turn!!!! No wonder we all feel a little bit…”ragey”.
The other day I told Andrew I was going to get a coffee down the street and he looked at me in all seriousness, concern in his eyes, and said “you ARE going to come back, right?” Even I, one of the luckiest people on earth during this time period, have hit my breaking point. I have full time child care, my business is actually busier than ever, we are all healthy and have a beautiful new home. ZERO to complain about, obviously. And yet it HAS been hard – having a baby during this pandemic, after such a difficult road to get her here, really brought me to my knees concerning my mental health. Newborns are hard on a good day, add in a pandemic, a toddler at home, a job and two bouts of mastitis and I was steamrolled very quickly by post-partum depression to the level I never expected. Luckily I reached out for help and got it in spades. Not everyone has those medical and mental health resources, which is a whole other bag of worms we need to address.
But something I’ve come to realize recently is that I may still be struggling with post-partum depression, even as we approach Emma’s 1st birthday in a mere MONTH (how????). I got through the real weeds of sleep depravation, breastfeeding and caring for a newborn and on the other side of the really dark stuff I was feeling, but I’m still not “right”, and I think it’s from this pandemic lifestyle. I am exhausted from everything, bored and yet overwhelmed by duty and to-do lists, wanting to simultaneously get in my car and drive away but also fiercely protect these little people I love. And my fuse is SO short- ugh, SO SHORT. I get frustrated so easily with my “seemingly teenager overnight” Henry, who is struggling in his own way from all of this change and isolation and acting out more than normal (but also maybe that’s just his age?). I admitted to my therapist, and Andrew, that motherhood feels heavy right now, where it used to feel… lighter and more joyful. And apparently, I’m not alone! Praise be! We have taken on SO much for SO long and so yeah, here we are – with frustration, rage and sadness bubbling over the edge of our mental brims.
The issue is, we all tend to feel guilty about our collective struggle. We’re MOMS, we’re tough and should be able to do anything for our kids, right? Wrong. We’re humans first and foremost, and individual people that need care and compassion too. It’s hard to do, but necessary right now. We put so many people before our own selves, and most of the time, we’re happy to do it and capable of finding a balance on some level. But the scales have tipped, ladies, and all bets are off. I’m here to tell you (and myself), it’s okay to not be okay right now. It’s okay to feel crappy about whatever it is that’s weighing you down. It’s okay to take an extra 10 minutes to just sit alone in your car in a parking lot and cry, or scroll Instagram or close your eyes. We’re ALLLLLLLLL doing it!
Andrew asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day and I said “a day alone”. He asked what I wanted to do. I said “I want to not know- have no plan- maybe get a pedicure, go shopping, sit alone somewhere and have a long coffee and read- I want FREEDOM and SPACE”. He thinks I’m a little nuts, but you know what, it’s the biggest gift I can give myself and that he can give to me right now. Autonomy. Breathing room. No schedule. Just me.
I hope you are all taking care of yourselves and reserving some space and time for your own mental health. It’s tough out there, but as we always do, we’ll get through it.
Feel free to discuss and chat and vent in comments (but keep it kind, ok?)
Yes, you are one of the luckiest people on this earth so do us all a favour and please stop complaining. You have more childcare resources than the average person.
Thank you for this Erin. I really needed to hear I wasn’t alone in my feelings. Thank you for your honesty and bravery in sharing your thoughts.
Single mom on purpose – baby born on April 13, 2020 during lockdown. Thank you for your post. It’s been one hell of a ride. I cannot thank you enough for posting this. Love of love,
I love this thank you! Thank you for seeing all sides and being empathetic. For saying you are blessed but nonetheless regardless of how comfortable your life is, overall, it is still so hard. Being a mom is hard and being a mom during this pandemic is almost impossible. I SO needed affirmation that I am not alone and that I’m not being wuss.
This really helps me and I hope others to know we are not alone in their thoughts of guilt, anger, etc. I care for my 90 y/o mother and am a mom of a teen and college student. I feel alone even with the support of my husband and it’s very hard to cope and be a cheerful caregiver for my family and my mother. I cannot imagine what it is like to have small children during this time. I feel for all families out there that are trying to navigate these challenging times. We need support each other and be honest about what we are going through and not keep it all inside.
THIS. THIS is exactly how I’ve felt and still feel some guilt when people ask me what I’d like for Mother’s Day and my first thought is “SPACE. No one touching me. Doing what I want on my own schedule.” Thanks for sharing and verbalizing so many feelings.
Totally resonating here. And you’re doing great! Keep your chin up! Also, regarding Henry turning into a teenager: my son started getting real sassy around 3ish. He’s still sassy at 5 now, but he’s a little more reasonable? :) Cheers to being a mom!
I love your blog. Thank you for posting. You remind us that just because someone is successful, with beautiful children and many material things , doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer too. It is not privilege….it is your life. It is a very busy time with two little ones. Hang in there.
* A prayer for those those that never had the opportunity to become a Mom. I cannot think of anything more heartbreaking. I remember a great aunt who never had children yet she was one of the kindest person I ever met. Let’s think of these women too on Mother’s Day.
[…] Most moms we know are feeling this these days. Just in case you need to feel less alone. […]
For nearly 10 years I took Mother’s Day for myself. My husband brought me breakfast in bed (one year it was McDonalds!!!) then I went to church, got a pedi and headed to Wrentham for the day. Once every few years another mom friend would join me but usually I was alone and I loooooooved it. It was the only day of the entire year where I didn’t let myself feel guilty. Now that my kids are teenagers with one going to college in August I think I’d prefer to spend the day with them than alone.
[…] Mom’s On the Brink […]
That is what I have always wanted for mother’s day – time to not be a mom for a little while. Especially when your kids are young, it’s intense on the best days. Getting time to recharge is so important and right now it feels like there is no way to really do that. Give yourself a hug for making to to this point. It’s an accomplishment in and of itself.
I have no doubt that being a parent (mother or father) is extraordinarily hard. The struggle to be a good parent, being there for your children in ways that allow them to hopefully flourish, while also becoming contentious human beings is an overwhelming task. I work hard at supporting my friends who are parents, listen, ask how I can help. Where I struggle with all of this is, I myself have been trying to become a parent for almost 8 years. It has been physically difficult and heartbreaking in its own right, but what crushes me is the lack of support that seems to be there for those of us who desire nothing more than to be parents, yet seem practically invisible, especially it seems to other parents. Parenting is hard, and this is universally acknowledged, especially by groups of mothers – a plethora of understanding, being seen and heard and taken under wings. However, nothing silences a group of moms more, in my experience, then by talking about your inability to actually have a child. Talk about feeling invisible, unseen, unheard and to a certain extent, just plain like a freak who doesn’t belong. I’m leaving this comment with one of my favorite quotes, in this subject matter. Meanwhile, I hope everyone who feels they are on the brink, mom or not can feel free to express their concerns, worries, stresses and can absolutely get the mental health resources they need, which I know is sadly often not the case.
“The woman trying to become a mother, she’s never needed support more than she
When she gets pregnant and has her baby, the support will flood in from everywhere. Engulfing her with love and nurturing her while she navigates her new roles.
Friends, sisters, moms, aunts and grandmothers will all reach out to calm her fears, encourage and protect her.
They will say well done. Great job, you did it! But the truth is, this woman trying to become a mother, needs your support now.
People will later line up at her door for the chance to hold that newborn, but no one brings her freshly baked lasagna, or let’s her rest because she needs it now.”
“ I am exhausted from everything, bored and yet overwhelmed by duty and to-do lists, wanting to simultaneously get in my car and drive away but also fiercely protect these little people I love. And my fuse is SO short- ugh, SO SHORT.”. – that’s me right now.
OMG. It is so wonderful to hear/read the same frustrations coming from someone else. I start to feel like I am taking crazy pills sometimes, but knowing that we all are struggling is a small comfort in this uncomfortable world we currently find ourselves in. Thank you for saying it, all of it, outloud.
THIS. Thank you for this post. My kids are teens, which brings its own issues – try a junior in HS who spent the whole last year learning over Zoom and that’s now his most important year for applying to colleges. Eek. Each age brings its own worries that keep/wake us up at 3am. In my case, I want to be loving and nurturing but also make sure they challenge themselves, work hard and have opportunities, which can lead to well, let’s be honest, nagging. The balance of that on top of real world job worries, a pandemic, being cooped up together 24/7. I think we’re all at our breaking point. I’ve had those random crying moments in the car too. I feel you — and everyone in the comments. Let’s all take a deep breath and exhale a little more peace into our lives.
Oh Erin! I needed this… had a baby in October.. first pregnancy, at 37 years old, and he took 6 years to arrive… I’ve never felt more blessed, but so true, it’s been hard – the Covid isolation, not sharing this joy with others, and yet, taking on all the responsibilities and needing my own “space” and feeling terrible asking for alone time. So thank you for sharing your story too. Appreciate the sigh of relief- we moms are not alone.
Pandemic or not, being a mother is hard. These are all perfectly normal feelings. And BTW, I have always wanted to be alone for Mother’s Day. I just wanted one day off from being a mom. Oh the irony!
Keep strong! This is what it looks like. (My kids are in college., and it is still work.)
I hear you sister. Thank you for using your platform to remind me that I’m not alone.
🙌🏻. The CALM drink mix has done wonders for my mom rage. I cannot recommend it enough. Buy the brand CALM, not the Whole Foods version or any generic stuff. Start with 2 teaspoons right off the bat. Give it a week and you will notice a peace and patience you have never experienced before (or at least post kids!).
Moms are a powerful group, but I am amazed how much apathy there seems to be among this group with the continuous school shut downs. Perhaps you all feel differently about this issue than I do. Our private schools have been in session EVERY. SCHOOLDAY. THIS. YEAR. With NO major issues. Does that mean that maybe your kids can’t see grandma, or other high-risk individuals? Of course it does. But soooooo many of these issues can be lessened if we get these kids back in school. It shouldn’t matter if the school is public or private, it should be open. Our private schools spent very little to manage this. I have zero respect for the teachers’ unions at this point. I know many public school kids in therapy, who are suicidal and some who have committed suicide. This is an older age group than Erin’s kids, but all kids need socialization. We have done our kids a disservice. It’s time to demand better.
100% THIS. The data on kids getting COVID speaks for itself. Twice as many kids die from drowning every year as died from COVID. And it is horrific to think of children dying at all…I am crushed thinking of any parent who lost a child in the last year. But we aren’t going to stop our kids from swimming. Or riding in cars. Or doing all the many things that are much riskier for them than COVID. I think the public schools have completely failed kids and parents this year. And if we are going to address the number of moms who had to leave the workforce, the public schools should be held responsible for that.
Could not agree more, and the data clearly supports this too. It breaks my heart the extent to which kids of all ages have been unnecessarily and detrimentally isolated by state covid regulations.
It definitely makes a difference where you were in the country during this last year. I’m mom of a two and four year old from Michigan, and we’ve had some of the most severe covid restrictions the entire time, and the isolation and fear has been very prevalent. Fortunately we were able to escape this winter since my husband was working remotely, and go down to Seaside, FL (highly recommend!!) for a several weeks. It was like night and day! They didn’t have the severe restrictions, although the business owners were all very sensible (contrary to the constant media portrayal of FL being reckless). We felt much more normal again, were able to get outside, eat at restaurants and have freedom again. The extent to which your state imposed severe restrictions, lockdowns and school closures made a huge difference in the level of isolation and fear. It was the decision to keep schools and daycare closed (that was not justified by data) that caused women to leave the workforce, and the variation by state is evidence of this.
Thank you!!! The only time I feel calm now is when I’m sitting in my car in a parking lot. It’s as though my real self returns during those precious moments, only to disappear again when I’m back home and every nerve-ending is reactivated.
Knowing that I couldn’t go out anywhere for my birthday this year, I told my family that all I wanted was for no one to ask me a single question for a whole day. No questions about where to find something, or to explain something, or about what was for dinner, or if they were allowed to do something, or if I would do something for them..blah, blah — it was heaven! I actually enjoyed my three kids and husband (all at home ALL of the time) again. Even I was surprised by how quickly my focus and sense of self improved when the constant stream of questions and requests were eliminated.
I’m a single mom (who got divorced right before the pandemic, so yay) with two teenagers, one in high school and one college. They are good kids and only live with me half the time. But the last year has felt so overwhelming. Online school. Social separation from their peers. I worry about them getting covid (they were quarantined with their dad after he brought it home with him from a vacation, they thankfully did not get it), I worry about me getting covid. I worry about everything from trying to find a full time job (since stay at home mom is no longer an option) and trying to find new friendships in a post-divorce life (much harder than you think). I feel tired. I am tired. I’m very thankful I did have a therapist to get me through the roughest spots. I’m in a better place now (even met a wonderful man in the last few months). It feels hard and is hard but talking helps and knowing things might be looking up for the world (I hope) is something to work towards.
I think we’re all 1000% in the same boat. I know very few people who haven’t experienced hardship over these last few years, and then it’s all compounded with lockdowns, a scary virus, isolation. Parenting little ones is hard work at the best times (although also very joyful at times!) but has felt like an incredible slog these past 14 months. It was Mother’s Day in the UK in March and I asked for a day to myself and it was incredibly rejuvenating – we need to look after ourselves and have that breathing space from fulfilling everyone else’s needs. Take care of yourself, you’ve got a loving partner who can handle the kids himself. It will do you a world of good.
Every Mother’s Day, even pre-pandemic, I have asked for that day to be mine – no expectations or responsibility! My four children are now all teens (the oldest turned 20 in December) , so I didn’t have to “teach.” I don’t know what would have done. if they had been elementary school age during all of this. Truly lost it, I’m sure. But the teen aspect has brought unexpected challenges as well, and I am so exhausted and over it. And yes, the brunt seems to fall on the moms – even the frustration , sadness and anger of the children. Somehow COVID is my fault. Ugh. I don’t even know where to turn anymore.
THIS. “ The frustration, anger, and sadness of the children” that we as moms bear the brunt of. Because not only did we have to teach, feed, and care for these little guys 24/7, but they are mad and sad at not being able to do so much and we bear the brunt of it. I’m so tired of trying to keep the everyone’s boat afloat..
So appreciate this post and your honesty. I feel all of this right now!
Thank you for sharing Erin!
Here in Germany we are still in a semi-lockdown. Thank god the kids can go to school again and things are starting to get a little bit more normal. Unfortunately now the kids need to be tested 2x a week, which I find so heartbreaking and makes me wonder what impact these type of rules and restrictions will have on the kids mentality in the long run. Their lives have been so unnatural the last year…
It has been hard on everybody, especially last year when the kids were home 24/7. In our personal situation, we don’t have a garden and weren’t even allowed to go on the public playgrounds, my husband is a doctor – he was working at the hospital all the time, we are expats and don’t have any family living around…it was, as you mentioned mentally draining. And even though, just like you mentioned we too have so much to be grateful for, sometimes knowing you are not alone with your struggles and that we moms have a right to vent out and have our negative feelings from time to time helps!
I feel like I am and wasn´t able to be the best mom that I could be and that makes me sad. I too have a short fuse and find myself frustrated and mad for small things…I pray daily that we can soon move on and go back to a normal life!
Hang in there!
We can do this!
I legitimately reared up reading this. Thank you for putting this into words. We have been SO BLESSED in this pandemic; we both kept our jobs, we got a house, had a healthy baby, still got to start our toddler in preschool and have all stayed Covid free throughout all of it. But my husband got to work from home, and I’ve been a nurse working nightshift while pregnant though a pandemic, with hypermemesis and a toddler, so no break at all. I am so in love with my babies but I am also so very exhausted. We have no childcare other than me, and it has just weighed so heavily on me. My anxiety has been at an all time high lately and I couldn’t see why; but this is so it. They talk about the “mental load” on moms and it’s so true. Thank you for just acknowledging it’s there, I don’t think anyone knows the solution but Otis just so nice to not feel so lonely in it all
For Mother’s Day it should be mandatory to listen to this podcast: The Agony of Pandemic Parenting – The New York Times. You will laugh and cry all at the same time.
I burst into tears listening to it. Especially for all the single mothers! It’s really worth a listen.
This is so hard! I didn’t work outside the home for most of the pandemic. I have 3 young children, one of whom is immunocompromised so the pandemic has been extra stressful as I worry about her. She was hospitalized for months when she was 4/5 and I was just recovering from that when the pandemic hit. And because of her health, I haven’t been able to send any of my children back to school at all, or let them play with most other kids. Unfortunately we live in a part of the country where most don’t take covid seriously. My kids are really struggling and I am too. I keep thinking that if I were stronger or more resilient I could power through this and somehow make things better for my kids, but I’m just so sick of it all. Ugh.
Nothing else to say except Amen. I’m right there with you. This has all been a lot – too damn much at times – and then there’s the guilt that comes with feeling/admitting that when you know others have it worse in many ways. Being open and honest (and not in a meme-y, give-me-wine way) is the only way for all of us to get through it. xoxoxo
Best Christmas gift I ever got was my husband taking our 4 and y year old boys to Lego Land … without me.
This was an incredibly brave and honest story. And so touching. I’m sure many will find comfort in your words.
Being a parent IS the hardest job in the world. I hope all the moms who read this take some time for themselves every day, even if it’s just a few mindful minutes.
Spot on! And the stresses of having teenagers during a pandemic and basically a year of teaching themselves and there’s a whole ‘nother dark reality of no sleep, worry and fret but bottom line is no matter what age our kids are. The worries, fears, exhaustion and being tapped out and checked out is happening at every age and stage.
A new level …it’s now OVER a year…spring, shouldn’t we be “normal” now? To you’re point, it’s ok to not be ok even if you are blessed and have so many things to be greatful for. We are only human! ❤️
I’m going to keep it kind because that’s who I am to the core but you make it really hard. I know you are writing about your own struggles but it feels VERY tone deaf and reeks of privilege. Not everyone is a mother and quite frankly your complaints seem insane. You have a thriving business, a loving and supportive husband, a dream home and two beautiful children. Your stress and anxiety are real however a LOT comes from the pressure you put on yourself. I’m single, have my first boyfriend of my life, and have to face the very real reality that I will never be a parent. So forgive me if I don’t care about what feels like complaining. Just STOP. And be present.
Alb – this comment is in fact tone deaf. Somehow you believe that if an article doesn’t speak directly to you and your struggles or if you can’t relate, then it is tone deaf. That Erin’s struggle isn’t real enough for you because you view her as having a life of privilege and therefore how can she complain? That is silly. Stop looking to be offended. Try to be more empathetic. It will bring you far more happiness.
Really? You think that was keeping it kind? Perhaps some soul searching is in order!
Erin acknowledged her privilege immediately. Telling another woman to stop complaining is gross and wrong. You don’t have to invalidate another persons struggle to justify your own. You chose to read a blog post clearly aimed at MOTHERS (hence the title) then fussed rudely about it being about mothers…….
Privilege is not a shield against pain and suffering.
Erin is speaking for A LOT of us right now, and this is not a competition of “who has it worse.” Don’t relate? That’s fine. But it doesn’t make her pain (or mine) any less real. Recognize that other people have valid experiences different than your own. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. I hope you feel better soon.
Read all the other posts before yours. Think. Try again.
Your response is not kind at all, it’s incredibly mean and dismissive. Had you bothered to read any of the comments you would have recognized that this message is resonating with many women. And just because it doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t make it less valid. I don’t have children either, it wasn’t by choice, and it’s something I think about almost daily. But that doesn’t mean I can’t sympathize with other women and respect their struggles and viewpoints. That’s the true meaning of kind.
Thank you, so very well put!
Sending love and hugs to you Erin and all of you Mamas. I too am very blessed and privileged and I know it. My children have actually been in school this entire year which I have not taken for granted for a second. We are in private school in Georgia. The sense of being unsettled, bored, and anxious is all too real though even with so many responsibilities. We embraced lockdown and enjoyed the family time and we embraced getting back to school and the new normal there but this just drags on and on. Also just when one part of life starts to swing toward normal you look up and realize the damn world is on fire in so many other ways. These are tough times! I know they come and they go and times have been tougher but the circumstances of the world are so new with technology and the pressure of the “do it all lives” we live. These are unprecedented times for Mom’s without a freaking pandemic or the current social unrest. Hang in there Mama’s and take care of yourselves… we have to pull through and raise these little people so they can fix this shit show one day soon! Thanks Erin for always keeping it real!
Thank you, Erin, for voicing what so many moms are feeling at this time. I love your blog for your impeccable style, but I admire you for your bravery and authenticity in addressing personal topics beyond style and design.
Only took us to become moms to understand why our moms always said all they wanted was “peace and quiet.” My friend, Kiki, who had kids a few years before me always said, “little kids, little problems…big kids, bigger problems.” I relate to you in this post. Maybe not with mastitis (although I breastfed triplets, and was a maniac), and who the hell knows if I had post-partum (my life was upside down with triplet babies and their 6 year old brother), but with triplet teenagers and a college kid, the pandemic and loss of my Dad in January 2021, I can relate to the crying in the car in a parking lot…usually the Whole Foods parking lot…and then being grateful that at least the mask hid the messy, teary face. As always, love and appreciate your honesty. You help so many people who can relate and not feel alone.
This is so well said. As my husband and I were sitting on the couch last weekend which I NEVER do. I’m always racing around, playing catch up, sports, etc. I looked at him and said “why do we have no motivation to do anything? Why are we so lazy and dont even care that we are?” I was thinking it’s just me chasing after a toddler all day but he came out and said “covid fatigue, it’s a real thing” and his answer actually made me feel a little better. Thinking to myself ok, maybe everyone is feeling this way. Not that it makes it any better that anyone is feeling like this. We’ve held so much on our shoulders this last year and it’s worn us down in ways we didn’t think possible even if we didn’t know it was wearing us down. I unexpectedly cried when I read the email that my kids would be going back to school full time. Not realizing how much of a weight that was on me. I saw my teenage son who actually enjoyed being home because of his autism smile after he walked in the door after being in school full time. It’s heavy. It’s all heavy and for ppl who already struggle with mental health, it’s even heavier. I cried on the phone with my therapist the other day and she said I seemed a little more emotional then I normally am. I’m emotional for many reasons but one of them is that she asked for recommendations for child psychiatrists. Parents in desperate need to find someone for their child to talk to but no one is taking on anyone new. This is incredibly sad for our children. Incredibly sad for parents. For everyone.
I wished for the same thing for Mother’s Day. I’d love to spend the day with myself but I’m so tired that I don’t even know if I have the energy to hang with myself. Maybe a nap in the car in the driveway! I want to thank you for talking about this topic. It needs to be talked about more so that we don’t feel alone.
Tears are uncontrollably coming down my cheeks after reading this. I reached my breaking point but didn’t allow myself to break. I needed to read this and feel that it’s ok to break down. And that tomorrow is a new day to feel better. We carry so much weight as working mothers and this pandemic just amplified our responsibilities and stress levels. Thank you for this. It really hit home for me.
Great post for all stages of motherhood now. The NYT article on languishing also hits the mail in the head, if you haven’t read it.
Stay hopeful-it is not just the pandemic that is
Making you feel this way. Motherhood is the most demanding job because someone always needs something, there are not enough hours in the day, we torture ourselves with doubts and questions whether we are “doing it right”, and we set unrealistic bars via social media creating images of perfect homes, children and lives. Balance is an important part of the answer to the craziness-accepting that some days are just really a mess-and valuing the love and support and wisdom of other Moms-don’t compete with them, LEAN on each other! As a Mom of four, and Grandmom of almost 6 I assure you Mothering is worth the struggle. And take a moment to ask your partner to describe their “perfect day-and share yours (they will be wildly different!) and give each other that one day as a gift each year/long after the kids are off living their own lives it will be back to the two of you and that love deserves Tina and attention along the journey-chin up and good luck!
Yes. Lots of love to all of you. I am at my wits end and find I am just clashing with everyone. My kids are teens and I got into a huge email fight with the band teacher this week. Insanity. Seems so many have forgotten that we are in a pandemic and that things don’t have to be so freaking stressful. I almost threw dinner across the room tonight when my husband brought up Mother’s Day and how we would entertain his mom one day and mine the next. I sound so awful and ungrateful but I just need less demanded of me right now. The end of the school year can not come soon enough. I am hanging by a thread. Funny my darling kids are not even the problem ( I could
Not love and adore them any more right now) —it’s the rest of the world that is insane. Hang in there and thanks for the post. I needed this today. Happy Mother’s Day to all! ❤️
I know how you feel with throwing things! I’m getting this at work and I sit there reading the email or on the call (off camera!) thinking “wtf wtf wtf are you trying to drive me insane?!?!”
I had my son a month after Erin had Emma and echo everything she wrote. I just shared this post earlier today:
It’s maternal mental health week. After five months of trying to manage Andrew’s extreme colic, I called my OB’s office to explain what was going on. I told the nurse practitioner about his nonstop crying wearing us all out, the losses we endured during the past few months and the fact that the lockdown meant more stress and less help. I still don’t know how I got through last spring with Vivi’s daycare closed, working overtime, unable to have many in-person check-ups and not having Chris allowed at ultrasounds. Oh, and let’s not forget all the hate we were forced to consume on social media during the election or all the social injustice of last year. I remember my anxiety was high, but I just ignored it. I powered through but the harm was done and showed itself months later when I was no longer pregnant. The nurse practitioner said “Why the hell did you wait so long to call? Jesus, you’ve been through so much.” In the early days of this pandemic we pregnant mamas knew so little and were so restricted. Add in a kid who cries all the time and influx hormones and voila! You’ve got a new mom with PPD&A.
I’m doing well now and am getting the help I need. To all you mamas out there going through this or to those of you who have gone through it, I see you and now I understand. You’re so darn strong. There is no shame in this.
I crave being alone like I crave oxygen. I also have zero patience right now but my kids want to be like 5” away from me at all times. The only thing is, when I have managed to carve out alone time, it’s never enough bc I know I have to go back to all of it. Am now fully vaccinated, weather’s improving and I have childcare starting in 2 weeks so hanging on by my fingernails til then.
I’m not a mom but I feel the same way. I want to escape my home, my husband, our puppies, my job… I just want a few days of freedom and space. So it’s not just you – I think it’s all of us. Thanks for sharing and I hope it helps you to know (I hope it helps all of us) that you’re not alone.
Can I just say single moms are dyyyiiinnngg. This is great advice, and I wish I had the resources to do it. As my kiddos dad is non-involved by his choice, the self care piece is pretty much impossible. Oh, and I work in health care for a hospital in a clinical role (so no working from home, sometimes my kids have been quarantining/doing school at home with me at work up to 10 hours straight). So when I finally get home they need me and I feel like I can’t sit in my car and cry.
That said, all kinds of credit to moms of young kids (all moms, but still). I am a single mom with older kids (11 and 13) and it’s hard. But my sister with a baby and a 2 year old – even with a partner it’s equally hard or more so.
Thank you for bringing this up- single moms HOW THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THIS??? I honestly can’t even begin to fathom. I’m sorry and I see you and I pray better days are ahead. It’s insanely selfless and brave just to soldier on each day!
Thank you Erin. I have two young children 4 and 1 and often look around me and everyone seems to be thriving and surviving and happy when I feel completely overwhelmed, fed up with parenting, and EXHAUSTED. It’s wonderful to hear I’m not alone, and scrolling through these reply’s makes me feel as though it’s not that I’m a failure at this whole parenting in covid thing – that this is HARD.
Thanks for being real. It helps more people than you know.
I asked my husband for literally the exact same thing for Mother’s Day. 100% agree with all of your comments and thoughts. Thanks for sharing and making me feel like I’m not alone.
I do not know how young mothers have done it this past year. Please tell yourselves that you have survived a very difficult year and that alone is a great accomplishment! I am now a grandmother and have been for some years. I survived years raising 2 young sons while building a successful interior design business, after my husband suddenly left. I then married a very very good man and had a baby daughter, while trying to survive my sons’ teen years. Our daughter had sleep apnea and was on a monitor for 2 years…very little sleep for any of us, but we all survived.
I have said many times this year, that I am SO glad I am not a young mother trying to not only raise, but also teach children, have a career, survive a pandemic, etc on and on. You are all my heroes. Please do not compare yourselves to anyone else. You are all doing the best you can. Please give yourselves the grace you all deserve.
Thank you for this beautiful article. I so relate. Life is messy, hard and oh so special. I feel like I am failing at my job and being a loving, kind, gentle Mom, wife and friend. We are trying so hard to stay in California so we can be near family. It’s such a struggle.
So well put and so needed to be said and heard for so many moms, dad moms, grandparent moms, auntie moms, all the “moms”
Thank you for your honesty regarding mental health. It will help remove the stigma, a GIANT step that must be taken for all people to have access to help.
Be well Erin and stay fabulous!
Stop freaking trolling. There’s enough ugliness in the world.
Erin you took the words right out of my mouth.
I hear you. My daughter is older but still…. worrying about her and her husband who are now going through the beginning stages of divorce. Worrying about my husband’s health- he had kidney cancer and also discovered a total blockage of the widow maker artery during this pandemic, it’s been hard to say the least. My rage watching fellow Americans mouth off about wearing a mask or gettin a vaccine has been so hard to control. I feel like a pot about to boil over all the while trying to be super supportive and upbeat. Some days I want to run away from home from all the many worries. Here’s to hoping this year gets better and next year knocks our socks off (in a good way).
Big hearts to you Erin… ❤️❤️
It HAS been hard!
With you. Our family has been extremely conservative with Covid precautions but still the fear of something happening to us (the parents) or to our small kiddos has driven me to a point I’m not sure how to come back from. It’s like 24 hour a day worry. For our jobs. For our health, for our planet. And on and on.
I’m at the grandmother stage of life but I have watched my daughter and daughters-in-law navigate through this challenging year snd I’ve often asked myself if I could have done this 30 years ago without losing my mind! All three families have school and pre school age children so juggling hybrid learning schedules along with needs of infants/ toddlers has not been easy so I empathize with what you’ve been dealing with. Take that time for coffee or a good book ! You deserve it!
Things are improving and Georgia is pretty open. When we were in lockdown I would hide in my “office” aka car. I said to my friend recently that I missed hiding in my car in the garage with a nice glass of rose. BTW Hubby is still working from HOME!
“Why am I bored?” I asked yesterday. I am so busy with projects, a job, a child and volunteer ying yangs. I concluded that nothing satisfies me or fulfills my passions. Now I need to know what are my passions. But I am not alone in this weird space. Thank you for your blog.
Once again your open and honest words from the heart speak volumes to so many. I am not a young mother anymore, but experiencing many of the same feelings and unsettled emotions as my husband is still working everyday and older son is back here while working remotely instead of being cooped up in a small apartment. I have kept up with friends through texts, emails and calls, but it just not the same. Thank goodness for our little neighbor park and walking path!😉 Bless all the Moms of little ones juggling multiple tasks – this is definitely the year for pampering even if that means- peace and solitude! This post of yours should be Broadcast on the Nightly News for all to hear! Thank you for reminding us it is okay not to be okay everyday! We are human!
Happy Mother’s Day!🌺
Great read!! Thanks for being so authentic as other moms need to know its ok to have time to themselves. I was just telling a friend that I can’t actually paint, which is my actual job as a working artist, because I am insanely busy running a household of five and two businesses with two kids graduating from two schools, college acceptances, planning and financial aid processes, managing the school accountability committee… the list goes on and on! My kids may be much older but our job as a momma never ends!
I did however realize my stress level and scheduled some acupunture, cranial sacral, a walk and a quiet evening with a friend for this week and have been prioritizing meditating every day. We need to fill our own wells so we can nourish those we love. Its just like the oxygen mask needs to go on the adult before the child or everyone dies ;) Enjoy your oxygen mask this week!! And Bravo for learning these valuable lessons so early in your parenting as it took me until my third child to even start to get over the guilt of not being able to be all things to all people!
Happy Mothers day!
I love your honesty and can relate 100%. I know how lucky I am but Iam really struggling with being a mom right now. Managing two IEP’s for my sons and it has been exhausting and much less joyful. I feel so much pressure to make sure my kids are ok and my therapist told me that I have to realize there are going to be falls and fails and as long as my sons know they are loved I am doing my job as a mom. I hope that this advice might help other readers.
I love this post even though it made me cry. I have older children- one in college and two in their early 20s. This has been such a hard year as a mom- no matter the age of your children. I don’t recall being tested like this and for so long. It’s hard to sustain it when you feel like your reserves are all used up. I do try self care, but I need more, so I’m making a vow to do more for myself. I wish I could tell you Motherhood gets easier…..It does in some ways because you know more as you age- that is the beauty of aging- but it is a hard job. Here’s to taking care of ourselves in whatever ways we need. It’s easy to prioritize everything over ourselves and that’s the biggest disservice of all. Thanks for the reminder & Happy Mother’s Day!
“It’s hard to sustain it when you feel like your reserves are all used up.” YES, 100%. Thank you for eloquently putting into words what I’ve been trying to say for months. So thankful for the solidarity of this and for the women and mothers brave enough to speak out. Motherhood is a hard f’in gig!
Yes- SO grateful for the solidarity of Moms everywhere. It was so rewarding to read all these comments.
AMEN! You have spoken for/and to so many moms.
My young adults are 28, 26, and 22
I have ALWAYS been left alone ( by request)
on Mother’s Day. My friends were always wondering … what about brunch ? Walks with your kids?
What about breakfast in bed?
Fancy dinner plans ? Nope. Just me ALONE!!!
Such a gift.
I will continue my tradition this year even though we are empty-nesters.
Thank you for being so open and honest.
Deep breath everyone!
I’ve been re-thinking how I talk to myself about the priority of my needs over everyone else’s. Everything I do for myself makes me a better mom, wife, sister, etc. For example, I am not a bad mom if I tell my teenager that the 45 min I take for my workout is my “one thing”, so please don’t interrupt unless someone’s hair is on fire.
Thank you so much for sharing. Feel so much of this…had a baby in November after IVF and lost my job due to the pandemic last year. It’s been overwhelming a lot of the time
Having kids is so hard, especially now, but that ability to recognize the need for space, quiet, time etc is a huge first step! Good for you for recognizing that you need some quiet time to regroup. As your kids get older, you naturally get some more time and breathing space (school etc) and it’s a GAME CHANGER! Hang in there. These times will pass. And there is no need to apologize for feeling like this even when things are going well. Moving and renovating are signs of blessing, but are still hard! Thanks for sharing and for being vulnerable.
Thank you for this. I too have a very privileged life, and yet with two little kids at home this year and a husband traveling for work weekly, I feel like I’m struggling every minute lately with “my struggle”. It seems like for the first time in my life I just can’t pull myself out of this funk by my boot straps and that is exhausting in and of itself.
Yes to all of this post! As we limp towards finishing my son’s first year of kindergarten at home, I find myself frustrated and feeling so very unappreciated. To the point that I am in tears. I am immensely privileged and yet I am tired of constantly making meals and snacks, wiping butts, and not being able to focus in the small pockets of time I am not doing those things. I love my children with everything I am, but I want to walk through a mall by myself. Oh and sleep through the night without my daughter waking me up to refill her water or nights sweats from perimenopause.
Erin, I am sending you so much support and love. I am past your stage but at one time had a baby girl and two preschool boys and practicing law and I felt like I was losing myself. On my maternity leave with our daughter, I would walk right out our front door and down the street stopping only to hand off the baby to my husband on his way in. I couldn’t talk or tell him what stage dinner was in or ANYTHING. I just had to be by myself for a while. When we could finally get a vacation, he said he maybe couldn’t get away from work and I said “No problem, I am going away either way.” That is the reality of modern mothering. But, we did take that vacation and I did hire help or trade with friends or lean on family and was fortunate that I had all of those ways to keep us all safe and eventually thriving. It will get easier but parenting is a WILD ride and you need to budget for that if you want to know your kids and end up with good adult relationships with them. xo
Pep needed a day and night alone in a hotel, with room service dinner, a movie, and nowhere to go.
AMEN and a HUGE thank you for saying it out loud!
Thank you for sharing this. I also had a pandemic baby in June after a long IVF journey and have been privileged to be able to stay home with her for the past year. And I’ve also been struggling SO HARD and grappling with postpartum nearly a year later. Solidarity.
Yes to all of this. With 3 young kids and a demanding full time job, I feel all of this and am right there with you. Not sure if you’ve seen this article yet, but it was super helpful for me, just knowing that what so many of us are feeling (while it sucks) is normal, given everything: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html
Thanks to Erin for sharing and to Cathleen for the wonderful article link on languishing. Sending you both good wishes as we exit this pandemic and the challenges it created. We all need a good dose of happy and I am excitedly waiting for it!!
I should have added: getting vaccinated has significantly helped my mental health recently. The fact that both my husband and I are now fully vaccinated is wonderful and we feel (psychologically) so much better already. Now just waiting for the vaccine to be approved for 2 year olds and up 😊 having said that, I also asked to be alone for Mother’s Day this year…everyone needs a break, especially after the year we’ve all had.
This was just what I needed today! All the bedtime routine frustrations tonight (namely my five year old waking up my 7-month IVF baby from his nighttime sleep – similar age gaps and story to you — in an epic meltdown). As both kids screamed and cried, I couldn’t help but laugh and try to memorialize it, after reading this post. My fuse is so short these days and it reminded me to take a breath.
A Mother’s Day of solitude sounds wonderful :)
[…] Source backlink Erin Gates […]
Freedom and Space, that says it all
This is very important to share … because we DO feel guilty. No matter our social or economic status, the pandemic has brought pressures no one person can bear easily bear. So glad you mentioned BOREDOM. It so often has felt, and continues to feel, like Groundhog Day. An endless round of mundane daily chores. All work and very little play. My children are young adults, and the lack of social interaction with their peers is hard on them. And I, being mom, take on that worry. My oldest couldn’t stomach college online (try learning art and design over a computer monitor) and left school to work full-time. And I, being mom, take on that worry. Am I being productive enough working from home? Am I being there for my aging parents? For my kids? Uggghhhh. We need to talk to and support each other. This is hard stuff. I worry (like I need to do more of that) that it will leave a long-term imprint on all our lives. Thanks for speaking up, Erin.
I had my third baby the end of January and you put into words exactly how I’ve been feeling for a while. I needed this today. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone ❤️
Not a mum and thankful not to be, especially now. One of the reasons for not having children was resilience and how I’d cope with a child and my disabilities, which include mental health. So I can feel that that was a good decision for me.
But I completely agree with you on having a short fuse. I have 0 resilience. I can be grateful that my partner and I have jobs and are solvent, but we have an eviction notice for our rental and trying to buy in this market is nuts.
I have sworn at work and I don’t do that. I’m about to have my second lockdown birthday and what have I achieved?
So, I sympathise with you. I know that mindfulness and fresh air will help so I need to prioritise that. Drinking less wine and more water. Remembering that people at work aren’t out to get me, they are feeling the same frustration. A day of no plans sounds great for you. I invite you to think about a few things you would like to feel on that day, and to take your actions accordingly. It’s a little like Sundays for me, with no plan whatsoever I can get to the end of the day and feel worse because I didn’t achieve relaxation, I just didn’t do anything, if you see what I mean.