I owe an apology to every single mother.
Before I had children myself, I worked as a full-time nanny. I grew up with babies in my family, I was one of the top go-to babysitters at my church, and I was great at what I did. I took parenting classes and incorporated my southern raising into every child that I kept. I cooked, I cleaned, I disciplined without losing my patience, I did crafts instead of TV. I was the real deal. I could not wait until the day that I got married and could have a family of my own. I was going to rock at being a wife and mother. The dishes would always be washed, dirty laundry would not be a thing in my house, absolutely no screen time, and we would only eat organic.
What a load of bull. As you probably have already guessed motherhood threw me right off my high horse and into a dirty pile of laundry where my kids sat on my face with a fancy little iPhone in hand watching baby bum. Everything is sticky; no one is listening; my patience long died when I lost my soul trying to keep up with the laundry while burning dinner. My husband is a lucky man who usually gets sandwiches for dinner that he made himself while I cry in the corner with a bottle of wine.
So, to all the mothers that I have advice to when I was young and thought that I knew it all, I am sorry. I never judged you, I loved being your helping hand, but I thought your dirty house was just your personality. Not all of us feel the need to vacuum every morning, and that was okay.
I honestly had no idea that you had been up since dawn trying to make breakfast while your child cries because his socks were red and not yellow.
I had no idea that your laundry lived in the dryer for three days because your toddler figured out how to unlock the locked door to the bathroom and threw everything he could find down your toilet before your first cup of coffee.
I never knew that you made a frozen pizza for dinner because you were in the trenches and just trying to keep everyone’s head above water.
I never knew the guilt that you felt when screen time was introduced because you just needed five minutes of no one talking.
I never knew that at six o’clock at night you put makeup on for the first time that day so that you could look put together for your husband before he came home. His laundry is still dirty, you are serving him frozen pizza for dinner, and you feel like the worst wife in the world. So maybe the makeup will mask how you are feeling inside.
I’m so sorry. I just didn’t know.
Motherhood is beautiful. I love the snuggles, I love going to the park as a family, and Christmas is magical again when you have children, but you will never know the other side of parenting until you are indeed a parent. It’s the best thing in the world, it truly is, but nothing worth having ever came easy.
Be kind to the woman with a screaming child in Target. You have no idea how hard she is trying to control her little human and the tears that are burning in her eyes.
Let the woman in line at the grocery store with a newborn go ahead of you. Her hormones are raging, and her body is sore, but she still has to keep her household running. That extra five minutes that you give her will make a huge difference.
Remember that whether you are a parent or not that you do not know it all. Every family is figuring out what works best for them and their children. It’s okay that it looks different for each family. So put your parenting advice back into your mouth and leave it there unless it’s asked for.
Be kind, be gracious, never come to the door without coffee to share.