Do you remember receiving those packages marked “Fragile: Handle with care”? I do. Unsure of how precious the item inside could be, I would avoid flipping the package over, shaking it or dropping it. I was reminded of this recently when I noticed how stark of a contrast there is between these delicate packages and the way we treat moms—when, really, we deserve that kind of care, too.
This is especially evident around the holiday season. We will always put the people we love and care about before ourselves. We will bake the treats, find the perfect gift, decorate the home and make the magic, often to our own detriment. What we need is to be handled and treated with care.
The mental load of life and responsibilities we’ve had to carry—feeding and nap schedules, doctor appointments, lunchboxes, meal planning, grocery shopping, bedtime routines, Zoom meetings, proposal deadlines, budgets and so on—this past year has been impossibly heavy to bear.
In the past 24 hours alone, I received calls from both my son's preschool and my son's elementary school about accidents/injuries. I took one son to urgent care to check for broken bones. I made gingerbread houses, called several people about a stressful situation involving work, had to follow up for Zoom meetings, missed a timed exam and woke up at 2 and 3 am with my toddler. I could go on, as I am sure many mothers could.
We could just "go on" because that's what mothers do.
It could be the “student/working/mom” aspect of my life that makes me extra weary and worn down this time of year. Chronic illnesses do not help either. But I'm sure most mothers have extra factors in their lives—like anxiety or depression, financial strain or worry, or grief from missing a loved one that passed away this time of year.
If no one reminds you this holiday season, mama, you have done more than enough this year.
This year I do not want more noise, pressure and ideas to make the holiday more “special” and “magical.” I do not need more reminders of my physical, mental and emotional limitations. And, mama, I bet you don’t either.
So, instead, let's remind ourselves and other mothers of our value and worth, that our humanness is ok and normal (not something to feel guilty for) and that the load we have had to carry is not normal. Remind yourself that the way you carefully handle your kids' favorite toys, and blankets, is the way you deserve to be treated, too. If no one reminds you this holiday season, mama, you have done more than enough this year. You are more than enough for your kids. They may not remember what toy they got for Christmas at ages 3, 5 or 7, but they will remember what your warm hugs felt like and the magic of waking up with you on Christmas day.
Go easy and slowly, Mama. You deserve to be handled with care.