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To The Girl With The World On Her Shoulders
First of all, I see you….
Those are the words I want you to read, to hear and to believe.
I took my kids to the pool after our first week of school. I had been overwhelmed with work and other responsibilities but I knew they needed a way to unwind from the weeks’ activities and this was their favorite thing to do. So we went to the pool and that’s where I saw you.
You were the mom in the pool with two kids, one under the age of 2. I could have spotted you in a crowd. Your eyes were heavy and I recognized it immediately, it was the same eyes I’d seen many times when looking at my own reflection.
I didn’t know you or your story but your eyes told me that you were carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. You had “the look” that too many of us can easily recognize. Your eyes were screaming:
You were in the pool trying to hold it together. Your boys were splashing, playing and laughing and you used your last bit of energy to force a half-smile. They had no idea that you were falling apart on the inside…
You made an effort to show up that day. The mom guilt motivated you to go out with the kids even though you didn’t have anything left to give–
“I’m such a bad mom if I don’t go.”
“Other moms can do it all, why can’t I?”
These are the thoughts you wrestled with as you gather all the necessary items needed for an afternoon at the pool. Next, you forced yourself to put on a swimsuit that made you shutter when you looked at it. The body shamming you will put yourself through today will be pretty intense.
I watched you go through the motions, sunscreen, snacks, swimming….you were there but you weren’t present. How could you be? Your story was probably like many others filled with relationship issues, unpaid bills, and health issues. It’s not just your story, it’s all of our stories. This phase of life isn’t easy for anyone, especially for moms.
I watched you look over at the group of women talking and laughing together. Your eyes appeared to sink into a deeper shade of gray. You were probably reflecting on your own group of friends that have become distant. They’re busy, you’re busy–everyone is just trying to keep their head above water. You deeply miss your support group.
To the girl with the world on your shoulders. I see you…
I smiled at you once, hoping to spark a conversation and to somehow give you an escape from your darkness even if just for a moment but you didn’t see me…as often is the case when we’re buried.
To The Girl With The World On Her Shoulders,
I saw you today. I know you were doing your best to mask the pain, to hide how exhausted and overwhelmed you felt but I saw it. I’ve seen that same look on the faces of many other moms and felt it myself all too often. I do not have all the answers and this makes me feel pretty helpless. I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone. We may at times feel that the uphill climb is a path made for one, but let me assure you it’s not. There is a whole group of weary travelers in this journey of motherhood. Today I saw you, I heard your silent story and I understood. You’re not alone my friend.