I sat sobbing on the turquoise couch; tears jumped from my sun-kissed freckled face and splashed down to my bronzed legs. Still firm, the Caribbean hotel couch was probably seldom used. Most guests spent their afternoons on sandy covered plastic lawn chairs but here I was inside crying on a beautiful tropical island. The time away from my kids alone with my husband gave me time for my own motherhood reflection, my thoughts were overwhelming and the desire to do better as a mom had filled my heart and mind but my body was thousands of miles away. So while outside the sun was shining and blenders mixed pina coladas, I sat inside, wearing my swimsuit on that couch and cried to my husband.
I cried for strength to do better in motherhood.
I cried for forgiveness in my lapses of good judgment and decision-making.
I cried for lost time complemented by fear of the speed to which our life raced.
But I also cried in relief knowing I had the opportunity to do better and that there was plenty more time to find strength in my motherhood.
My husband sat silently with his beach bag filled with sunscreen, water bottle and books leaning against his leg. He didn’t rush me. He let the sloppy insecure words tumble out of my mouth. And when I wiped the last tear with my beach towel and attempted to hide the redness with my big movie star sunglasses, he said it simply, “You’re a great mom.”
My chest puffed out and relaxed, moments and breaths usually just reserved for yoga class. He lifted the weight I carried with his words. He gave me strength through empathy and truth telling. He didn’t discount my insecurities or support the failures I admitted, he just carried me. He carried me when I wasn’t feeling strong in my motherhood.
When we returned home, gone was the sunshine and tropical drinks with umbrellas, replaced were sleeting winter days and spilled cups of milk. My motherhood and marriage were renewed with strength and spirit to be ready to do better. Supplemented with the knowledge that sometimes I need to be carried, I ask for motherhood strength:
Give me the strength to get through the day not knowing how many times I will be up tonight;
Give me the strength to drive to work, knowing my heart is at daycare and school;
Give me the strength to not show my worries to you, my child;
Give me the strength to let only kind, thoughtful and supportive words leave my mouth;
Give me the strength to hold back my own hesitations and let you try it yourself; and
Give me the strength to find the words to comfort you child when you have been wronged.
My pleas for strength in motherhood change every day reflecting a life with changing children and situations. The statements help me not bottle my insecurities, even just saying them outloud to myself in the car brings ease to my heart. But sometimes admitting these moments to my husband allows me, someone who is constantly carrying others, to be carried.
My desire to be strong in motherhood is unwavering, so each day I ask for strength in motherhood with these pleas for support and know confidently, I’m a great mom.