Motherhood—its beauty and brutality—makes me cry

Tears. The tears. They bubble up without warning. In grocery stores, in the car, watching my daughter’s dance class.

Motherhood—its beauty and brutality—makes me cry

I used to think I had something wrong with me for the number of times I spend in tears each day.


Truthfully, I still wonder from time to time if it wouldn’t be easier to be the sort of person who could mosey along, not feeling so much, just doing what needs to be done and contentedly calling it a day. At times that seems like it would be an easier situation than the one I find myself in constantly. But of course, I’m not sure this really exists at all.

Tears. The tears. They bubble up without warning. In grocery stores, in the car, while singing with my students, watching my daughter’s dance class, during final relaxation in a yoga class.

I feel them stirring, first in the base of my throat, quickly rising up throughout my head, flowing from my eyes, and subsequently, cracking my heart open deeper and wider.

Lately, instead of being embarrassed for the quantity of tears I spill, I’m looking to them for guidance. I need them. They are cathartic. The authentic me needs them. I have a wandering soul—I can quickly feel confined, restless, stuck, needing release. I am on a constant search for beauty, I adore words, music, nature—the places that open my soul to its highest calling. I need my heart cracked open often to remind me of the intense passion I feel for this world.  The passion that gets dimmed from time to time with the practicalities of adulthood.

My tears save me from resentment. Motherhood can still conjure up resentment in me. Resentment that I spend large portions of my day doing things I don’t really enjoy. Dishes. Errands. Putting my needs aside again and again. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for all of it, and I would never trade it for anything else. On my good days, I wash dishes in a Zen like state, create meals filled with the nourishment that comes with love. But regardless of all the gratitude I feel, too many days without solitude leave me with an unnamed rage that terrifies me.

This morning I was feeling that rage. I can’t even explain all the feels that were happening. Some sort of grief for the little boy that suddenly turned big as he went to kindergarten. Anger that I was woken from sleep every single hour last night. Frustration that I had to be patient all day with my fiercely independent three-year-old who needs to do everything her own way, no matter how long it takes. A yearning for silence, for solitude, for my soul’s voice to rule the day instead of the needs of the people around me.

If I’m being honest, I hate this rage that occasionally rises. I judge it; I tell myself that if I were a good mother I would never feel it. I would remain in that place of love and gratitude always. So I stuff it down, I keep pushing forward with what needs to get done for our day to happen and for all people to be where they need to be.

But the tears don’t let me off that easily.  Sitting in gobs of traffic, desperately trying to get my daughter to her first day of preschool on time, I flipped on trusty Channel 20 on my car’s Sirius radio—the E Street Station. It took, literally, the three first bars of Bruce Springsteen singing Prince’s Purple Rain for the tears to fall. As I sung along, I felt the stress lift from my shoulders, the light return to my heart, I felt truth settle into my bones.

I also heard beauty coming from my back seat. Grace, staring out the window at the newly turned fall leaves, mused,

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen purple rain. I think I would like rain that was purple. That would be really pretty.” 

Tucker told me during the next song that came on, The Ties that Bind, “Bruce Springsteen is my most favorite singer. I really like the songs he makes. They feel good.” We went on to have an adult like discussion about music and feelings that left me wondering just how many lifetimes that old soul had already lived.

With my tears this morning, I recommitted to my own authenticity. To shed the parts of society that don’t fit, to show the passionate me, the me who cries at least ten times a day.

With my feet grounded firmly in the sand, my eyes watching the osprey hunt, my heart feeling wide as the sea in front of me, I let the tears fall once more.

The tears remind me I’m alive, the tears remind me I’m more than just ‘mom,’ the tears are my truth. It’s when they aren’t falling that there is a problem.


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