Updated: Apr 29
“Mommy, you never spend time with me these days. Why are you always home so late?”.
She started to cry over the phone. That was what happened last night. Rachel was calling when I was outside having dinner with my friend, Silvia. And when she said “never”, “always”, she referred to “ 3 days of not picking her up from schooI” (sigh.)
The old me (merely 2 years ago) would have become panicked, guilty and rushed back home. The old me would have started yelling in my head
“Tiffany, how could you go out like this? You should be with her every day!”
But the present me listened to my girl with calmness and I told her
“I love you baby, I will see you soon okay?”
I finally met Silvia after 1 year and we had so much to catch up on. We talked about sisterhood, community and support. We talked about our moms. When I got home, Rachel was in deep sleep. Lying down next to her, I gave her a kiss, hugged her and fell asleep. We still sleep together till today. Yesterday, my mom picked Rachel up from school. My dad helped her with the spelling practice. And my sis brought her to bed. We have our birthday coming real soon and it will be an exciting weekend with family and friends. I am beyond thankful for the support that I have.
9 years ago, I had Rachel at the age of 26. She came as a surprise but I always knew I was meant to be a mother. I spent my days and nights with milk powder, diapers and sleepless nights. The adrenaline and excitement of a new mom kept me going till I started to feel drained. I remember there were nights I held her in my arm and tears kept rolling down my cheeks. Feeling so exhausted, stressed and lonely in motherhood, that was me.
I wanted to do-it-all and when I couldn’t do it, I felt like a horrible mother. The first few times being away from her for even just an hour, an overwhelming sense of guilt swallowed me as if I was neglecting my own child. The anxiety and guilt continued to last for years.
Fast forward to today, we have grown so much together. I made mistakes, but at the same time discovered invaluable lessons-
- Being a single mom made me a stronger person than ever before.
- More than asking for help, accepting help from others. There is no shame in that.
- It is not selfish wanting to do something for myself. It is fundamental for being a sane mom.
- No matter how much we try to be perfect mothers, the guilt will always find us.
- Don’t run away from it. Face it. Accept it. Embrace it. There is wisdom in every child. They come to this lifetime to teach us.
If you are a mom or planning to be a mom someday, I don’t wish you “to be strong” every day. I wish you to love yourself more. And I wish that you could have a loving community and support to lean in.
And being a mother, it won't get any easier. But it is worth it.
With love, Tiffany