By Carolyn Hecken
When we made the decision to grow our family for the first time back in 2009, I had no way of fully comprehending the intense love and joy I would feel for my children, nor the perennial barrage of challenges I would face juggling family, work, home and personal needs – and all in the absence of family support.
A couple of days ago, I was really struggling. These days it seems nearly impossible to keep all the balls up in the air. You see, for the past few months, I’ve been following an overwhelming, instinctive urge to focus primarily on the needs of my family. And that has meant letting one or more balls fall to the ground. Admittedly, some of them, like our household in particular, has not only fallen but rolled pretty far out of reach. It’s a hard fact to accept that, sometimes, you just can’t do it all. And, quite frankly, it’s become a steady source of frustration.
In my desperation, I reached out to my friend, Andrea to, as the Germans put it so aptly, “kotz mich aus.” But we’re both self-employed moms, so there’s no time to chat in between the escapades of adorable, yet terribly curious and investigative toddlers, or the unrelenting stream of questions posed by the planet’s most inquisitive preschoolers. No, it all happens via WhatsApp voice chat.
Anyway, it was through these patchwork momversations that I had a major epiphany: we moms deserve a medal. No, I’m serious. Hear me out. We all deserve medals. Motherhood isn’t about having a baby; it’s about the exhilarating, rewarding, messy and, at times, painful growth that comes along with the gift of loving and caring for another human being, every day and every step of the way.
For every time you get up in the middle of the night to cuddle a wakeful little one, bring a glass of water for the third time, or reassure a worried, tearful face, you deserve a medal.
Every time your tank is running low because you’ve filled everyone else’s, you deserve a medal.
Whenever you stop and reflect on the kind of parent you are working toward becoming, you deserve a medal.
For every meltdown that you keep your composure through, even though your little one is boiling over with emotion, you deserve a medal.
For all those times you wished you had done it differently, and resolve to make a change, you deserve a medal.
When your planned morning outing is delayed by broken dishes, big messes, soiled diapers, forgotten items, but you make it anyway or you have the courage to scrap your plans completely, you deserve a medal.
For every puddle of baby pee you mop up, or worse, you deserve a medal.
Every time you sit down for five minutes to drink a cup of coffee, read an article, paint your nails or just stare off into space, you’ve done something for yourself and, you deserve a medal.
For each tear that rolls down your cheeks because life is unpredictable, hard and sloppy, you deserve a medal.
For every little item you check off your to-do list, you deserve a medal.
For that unhealthy meal you swore you’d never put on your table, you deserve a medal.
For those nights when the two hours before your child’s bedtime seem to pass into eternity, you deserve a medal.
Every damn time you are accosted by a devout member of the Oma Polizei, you deserve a medal.
For every other piece of unsolicited parenting advice you’ve ever been subjected to, you deserve a medal.
For all those emotional or heated discussions you have with your partner about parenting, love, life, or work, you deserve a medal.
For digging deep day after day to find the strength to be that steady source of love, patience and kindness for those around you, you deserve a medal.
Your love, dedication and support for your family day in and day out are nothing short of incredible. All the little and big mistakes you inevitably make along the way are opportunities to discover something new about yourself and how you want to approach life.
Stay strong. Be proud. You are an ÜBER MOM and YOU DESERVE A MEDAL!
Carolyn Hecken is an avid learner of life, mother of four vibrant, spirited children, doula (D.A.M.E., June 2013), childbirth educator (HypnoBirthing®, June 2016) and breastfeeding counselor (EISL, September 2017). She holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Washington and an MA in European Linguistics from the University of Freiburg. Home is wherever she’s surrounded by the laughter and shenanigans of her children, the zany humor of her husband and the company of compassionate friends. Admittedly, sunny weather and an exceptionally good cup of coffee don’t hurt either. In August 2017, this ÜberMoms writer’s nomadic family travels landed her for a two-year stint in Hamburg. Carolyn is passionate about supporting mothers, babies and their families during one of the most memorable and momentous experiences in life – pregnancy, the birth of baby and familyhood.