It was a cup of milk that tipped me over the edge. I know they say there’s no use crying over spilled milk, but I couldn’t help it.
My three-year-old had accidentally knocked a cup of the stuff over as he sat at the table eating his tea. He was inconsolable because his favourite Batman t-shirt was now covered in it. He was upset because he didn’t want to wear a wet t-shirt and was trying to pull it off and getting stuck. But then when I offered him a new top to wear he had a meltdown that he couldn’t wear the Batman one. As much as I tried to explain to him that it was dirty, he just wasn’t having it.
The milk had also spilled onto his big brother’s dinner plate and he was also freaking out. The milk was dripping onto the floor. The floor I’d swept and mopped earlier that day.
I looked around at the carnage in my kitchen, the dishes piled high, the machine full of washing from yesterday that I hadn’t had time to hang up. I looked around at my kids getting upset about nothing really worth getting upset about, and my eyes just filled with tears.
It wasn’t just the milk, of course.
It had just been that kind of day.
A mission getting everyone out the house and to school. Feeling like I was failing at even the simplest tasks because there were no clean school socks for my son. The public tantrum from my youngest about not wanting to come home from the park. Wiping down the kitchen table and stacking the dishwasher every couple of hours like some kind of groundhog day. Putting load after load of laundry into the machine, hanging it out to dry, ironing it and putting it away. The after school grumps. The asking and asking to put toys away. The complaining they don’t like what’s on their plate for tea when I know that they do. The husband out late after work and missing bedtime for the second night in a row. The kids having a meltdown because daddy’s not there. The kids squabbling non-stop. Me shouting at my kids because I just couldn’t take it any more…and then feeling terrible afterwards.
It was about so much more than the milk.
It was about me feeling like a failure of a mother.
Feeling like nothing I do is good enough and feeling completely unappreciated.
The realisation that while I love my little family more than anything else in the world, and that all of this is part and parcel of being a parent, some moments, some days, are so bloody hard.
Sometimes it feels like you are the only one who is aware of how much you do for your kids and your family.
Sometimes you just want to feel appreciated.
Sometimes you just want someone to say thank you once in a while.
I remember reading once that the biggest de-motivator in the workplace is employees not feeling appreciated. Staff were more likely to quit if their boss didn’t acknowledge their hard work or say thanks for a good job once in a while. Employees are more likely to graft away for a business if they feel like what they do matters.
And so it is with parenting.
Sometimes, all you want is someone to notice what you are doing and tell you you’re doing an awesomely.
That’s all I really wanted that day. Someone to say “some days are challenging… but you, my dear, are amazing.” (There are days when Cardiff Daddy does say this to me… but like I said he was out the house so much that particular week I don’t think he realised how I was feeling.)
I presume you are reading this because you have days when you feel this way too.
So in case no one has said it to you recently… thank you.
To the mum who is feeling like no one notices what you do, day in day out, thank you for doing all of it. The house would likely fall apart with you.
To the mum who has cleaned the kitchen table and floor five times in one day because your toddler thinks throwing food on the floor is funny, thank you. It’s relentless but you are doing an awesome job. And he won’t always throw his food on the floor.
To the mum whose kids moan about everything you make, thank you. Thank you for keeping the cupboards and the fridge stocked and for filling your kids with nutritious food and not letting them starve.
To the mum who had to deal with a child’s public meltdown and the judgmental stares from passers-by. You are rocking this motherhood thing. Even the days when you feel like you are not. There are a thousand mums who have been where you are now and who are most definitely not judging you.
To the mum who played pretend shops all day to the point she was losing her mind. Thank you. Thank you for helping your little one use their imagination and creativity. Thank you for helping them make sense of the world around them.
To the mum who genuinely can’t remember the last time she peed without an audience or someone clambering all over her. I hear you! All you want is two minutes alone. It won’t always be this way, I promise.
To the mum up all night with the baby and who is so tired she can barely see straight, thank you.
To the mum who comforted her child when they came home upset from school because another child was mean to them. It’s so hard when someone hurts your baby. But your baby knows they will always be safe in your arms. Thank you.
To the mum who is juggling looking after her kids and the household responsibilities and her job. With the colleagues who don’t understand why she has to leave early and the child who doesn’t understand why she can’t always do the pick up or come to all the events. Thank you. You are doing an amazing job.
To the mum who doesn’t work because she is a stay at home mum and who wonders where ‘the old her’ went. Not to mention her ‘me time’. Thank you. You are still you. Things are just a little crazy right now. Please tell those around you that you need some time to yourself away from the kids and the house. You deserve it.
To the mum who wonders if anyone actually notices that she did the dishes, the vacuuming, the washing and the drying. Thank you.
To all the mums who feel under-appreciated, under-valued, overtired. Thank you.
You ARE appreciated.
You are wonderful.
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