“Carry me mama” pleads my 3 year-old
I respond with a “I don’t think I can buddy, not with a baby in my tummy” gesturing towards my sizeable 30 week pregnant belly.
“But you have to!! You have to carry me, it’s what moms do”
“What moms do ”We carry our babies, in my case I ended up carrying two that day…the one inside my growing belly and the current baby of the family, a sturdy 37 lb 3 year old, slung up and over my belly, victorious in his quest for my attention. His words have stuck with me since that day I carried him a few feet then declared that I was done and that I could hold him on a chair, but carrying was out of the question for the time being. Mama had just had enough and could not carry more.
I thought about all of the things that moms do:
We carry a lot. Not only babies, toddlers and preschoolers. We carry stress, often in our shoulders. As a massage therapist, that maternal stress is job security. As a mom, thats often the reason I ache at night. We often carry a weight that makes motherhood look like Atlas, carrying the world upon our shoulders.
We carry responsibility. Some of it is justified: as parents we have a responsibility for the health, safety and well being of our children. Other responsibilities we create for ourselves because we feel like we have to: like the responsibility to create the most magical holiday experience for our children. We just finished the madness that is Christmas and all the craziness that is nightly elf on the shelf positioning sessions. With that over, we now create madness for ourselves by insisting on handmade valentines then elaborate Leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s day. Even though my kids would be just as happy with store bought valentines and a bowl of lucky charms. We put pressure on ourselves all because “its what moms do”
We often carry more than we can (or should). Should I carry my 3 year old who is perfectly capable of walking? Probably not. Should I hold on to a judgy look or unkind word from someone? Probably not. Should I take on the responsibility or creating a pinterest worthy birthday party at 8.5 months pregnant? Definitely not.
In this month of new starts and resolutions. I propose a flipped script on what moms do. I want to be a mom that is there for my children without taking on so much I’m miserable. I want to be a mom that takes time for herself and recognizes when it’s time to ask for a little help carrying the load or when it’s time to sit down and realize when I just need to hold whats important, like a 3 year old who just wants to be the baby for a little longer. Above all we need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. That’s what moms truly do.