They say you can’t pour with an empty cup, but what they don’t say is how hard it is to fill that cup. Being an exhausted mom is no joke.
It’s 6 am. I wake up, freshly irritated by seeing those numbers on the clock- the same ones I see day after day despite my hopes to miss it while sleeping.
My son puts his face close to mine and says those words I’m met with every day, “I’m so hungry”.
I adore this boy with his storm of brown curls and long eyelashes, he is my second son and probably my penance from a mischievous childhood. What goes around comes around, and I am currently in the phase of life where I am eating my pride for every single thought I ever had of who I thought I would be as a mother.
That patient woman with the energy, enthusiasm and focus on crafting awe-filled moments for her children in reality is a tired, worn-out mess.
My son challenges me with his fierce young intelligence never making my days easy. He is independent, whip-smart and stubbornly determined to go his own way. He rarely ever listens to me on the first attempt.
I lose my temper, am easily frustrated and impatient with my child. Those days I go to bed dreaming of the new chances tomorrow will bring. Chances to do better and try again in spite of the guilt that I feel as I lay my weary head down to sleep. I often feel like I fail over and over again.
I’m at the point in motherhood with my tribe of three children, where I feel like all the detox baths, solitary rage runs, and Mom’s Night Outs are not enough to refuel me to a place where I feel caught up with myself.
Where I feel as though my energy is restored and that I can focus on my kids without the fear of failing again.
Working, Momming, and trying to stay sane have put me in an energy deficit that feels impossible to crawl out of. My empty cup runneth dry.
Especially at 6 in the morning, while being greeted with someone else’s needs.
My logical mind knows that if I were somehow able to start the day a little brighter, a tone would be set that might make for smoother sailing. However, my actual mind, the one that’s a little more instinctive and a little less logical, struggles not to feel like my personhood has been stripped by the exhausting and immutable demands of parenthood.
Every night I go to bed with lofty intentions of being more patient and making more of an effort to be an even toned mom.
And then I am woken up reminded of the fact that my cup is empty.
It’s taken me months of living in a depleted, frustrated state to realize that my own Mom guilt is the very thing preventing me from feeling refreshed. It drains me of the energy I need to face the day, and it keeps me scrambling for a break. My mom guilt is sabotaging my efforts, and its coming from a deep misunderstanding within myself.
My cup doesn’t need to be full in order to be the best mother for my kids.
Perfection is not required- what I do need is just enough to get by.
The thing about motherhood is that it’s built in seasons and stages. And while my kids are rapidly growing through teething, toddling, and first days of school, I am just trying to keep my head above water. And while my sense of self may feel lost right now as I wade through endless chores and responsibilities, that too will come back.
Just knowing all of this feels like permission to breathe again as the clock strikes 6:00.
I open my eyes and look into giant brown eyes, lashes that curl onto firm chubby cheeks.
“I’m hungy” he says.
My feet hit the ground.