It's easy to see why a new Facebook post by popular blogger Bunmi Laditan is going viral with more than 21,000 reactions, and 12,000 shares. Because every mom on Earth can relate to that feeling when you've. Just. Had. Enough. And sometimes we feel that way as early as breakfast time.
"It's not even 10AM and I'm already tired," Laditan writes. "If my home weren't bursting with children and responsibilities, I'd take a swig of NyQuil and bury myself within my soft sheets, letting the morning fade into late afternoon while I dreamed."
I am right there with you, Bunmi. I was just saying to my husband last night that I feel like my life is nothing but responsibilities. It's exhausting.
Laditan goes on to nail the challenge we all face, daily: "The hardest part of parenting isn't picking schools or getting an overtired toddler to take a nap, it's raising children while healing yourself."
Bingo! Because it's not as if you can press "pause" on parenting if you have a headache, or a heartache, or need some TLC, or therapy.
Laditan shares some background about how she got to this brutal point, first thing in the morning. "My three-year-old wouldn't eat his breakfast. It's the same dance every morning. He sleepily scream cries for cereal, milk poured in the bowl first or else it's trash, and fights every single bite. It's exhausting and I'm already exhausted."
Like the blogger, I also have a 3-year-old. And like her, she isn't the first 3-year-old I've battled.
"I know they're all insane," Laditan writes, adding, "but as he pushes each one of my buttons, stretches my patience until it's as thin and clear as pulled taffy, and howls because a drop of milk touched his big toe, I feel it rising. The anger.
"I know anger is just a flimsy tent protecting other, scarier, emotions so I unzip the flap," she bravely shares. "It's fear, tinged with despair, served with a healing side of overwhelm."
So powerful. It's as if Laditan is peeking into my head, and the mix of intense emotions that—in one frustrating moment—can rise to the surface. Of course, it's not just that one moment that brought you there. It's a series of moments, in which you feel powerless, defeated.
"I can't control him," Laditan confesses. "I want to be lying down but instead I'm standing here vacillating between threats, attachment parenting-style comfort, and the occasional empty bribe. I can yell. I can shock him into sadness and make him afraid, then twist his raw emotion into compliance. Snap his will like a twig. And then, when he's a sniffling pile of hurt, push spoonfuls of soggy cereal into his tear-streaked face while whispering comfort into his bewildered spirit. 'Good boy,' I'll say, pretending not to notice how much smaller he suddenly looks. I can do that. Then breakfast will be over."
But as this mom, and every other mom knows, her child isn't being bad. He's being 3. And as excruciating as it may be, we have to be the adults, with responsibilities, the ones we well-know we can't escape. Even if we hide under the covers.
"I take a step back and my claws, the ones that I grew to protect myself against the ones that hurt me, retract," Laditan writes. "I will not cut my child against my broken edges. I won't."
She writes the words I have thought so many, many times in my head: "I can't control him, but I can control my breath." That's right; you can only control how you—the parent, the adult—react. This is true in all situations with kids. And luckily, in this one, Laditan's son begins to eat his breakfast.
What's your reaction to this powerful post?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.