Hey Frazzled Mama,

I see you.

I feel you.

I was you.

I am you.

Nap time is never long enough. Your to-do list is ever growing. You feel like the world is going to collapse if you aren’t on your A game. You feel like people will judge you if you take a second to yourself. You feel like every mom but you has her life together.

Sometimes nothing seems simple—like when you need to go somewhere Right. Now. and your child refuses to get in the car seat. Then your inner critic comes up strong and says you’re a failure.

Or when it’s bedtime and you have saved things on your to-do list for “after the little one is sleeping” and you’re so looking forward to alone time. Then she doesn’t fall asleep—because of course. The frustration mounts and builds and then you exude negative energy that penetrates the air and crawls back into your child’s psyche and makes her even more wide awake than before.

You get more frustrated than you want. You start using a tone that you don’t like. Your guilt mounts and you feel so hopeless. You are being the mother that you promised you would never be. And you wonder, why didn’t anyone ever prepare you for how hard this was going to be?

Why didn’t they tell you it would change you?

Why didn’t they tell you it would change your relationship with your husband?

Why didn’t they tell you it would bring up old wounds?

Why didn’t they tell you that it would be so lonely sometimes?

Why didn’t they tell you that your inner critic would be so harsh?

Still, you push through because you know no other way. You just don’t believe there is time to reflect about how you should feel.

But, hear this: Healing yourself is the best gift you can give your family. Healing yourself is the best gift you can give YOURSELF.

So where do you begin? Start here: Be simple. Be gentle. Breathe. Embrace the quiet. Embrace the calm. Put your hand over your heart.

See that there? That was simple and gentle and quiet and calm.

And it only took a few seconds—so imagine if you gave yourself 10 minutes.What about an hour? Could you spare a day?

I promise the world won’t stop spinning.

In motherhood you’re always questioning if you’re doing something right. You know in your head how you want to be but reality is so much more unpredictable. (Because you are tired and busy and preoccupied and… human.)

No matter how much you don’t want to, you find yourself in a rut that is low on self-comparison and high in negative comparisons to others. You beat yourself up and down and all around until you don’t even know who you are. You are your own worst critic.

And by the way you know that mama over there? The one who you thought had it all together? She looks at you and thinks the same thing.

So take a step back and realize that we are all in this thing called humanity together. We are all “in the trenches,” trying to figure it out and doing the best job we can. And the more we realize that, the deeper we are able to step into our own humanity and be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

So be gentle with yourself. And dare to dream bigger…

For yourself.

And your littles.

You deserve this.

And, while you’re at it, remember to hang in there, mama! We’ve all been there.

This post originally appeared on Motherly and Her View From Home.

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