I see you there, wearing your baby only a few months old, chasing your spirited two-ish year old daughter around the playground. I see you watching your daughter as she climbs up the big playground equipment, climbing up to the very top, going down the slide, and running around to do it all over again. I see you giving your sweet baby some pats on the back, swaying to rock him as you watch your daughter. I see you being a good mom, giving your toddler a chance to run around and get some fresh air, to get her energy out. I see you getting out of the house and doing something fun with your kids.
I see you as you tell your daughter it's time to leave, it's time to go home. And I hear her scream, "NO!" and stomp her foot in the soft mulch. I see her run to the other side of the playground. I see her run away from you.
I see you there as you pretend to leave the park, pretend to leave you daughter behind, in hopes that she will come running after you. She doesn't. I see you call for her and I see her run even further away from you. After minutes have gone by, I see you catch her wiggly little arm in your strong steady hand and start walking away, pulling her behind you. I see her kicking and screaming and flailing her arms and legs. I see you struggle to bend down, keeping baby safe and snug, and pick your daughter up with your free hand. I see you struggle to soothe your baby and carry your screaming daughter as you leave the park. I see her little legs kicking the air and your legs, I see her arms waving around in the air and hitting you as you try to protect your baby.
I see you trying to hold it together. I see your frustration. I see your embarrassment.
But most importantly, I see your strength. I see your love for your children. I see you being the best mom you can possibly be. Mom at the park, you brought your little girl and baby to the park! You didn't just sit at home and think about leaving the house or think about taking your children to the park - you actually did it. You went through the motions, you put socks and shoes on your daughter. You found the baby carrier. You got yourself dressed. You left the house with two little people. A feat that is not so easy. A feat that can take longer than the outing itself sometimes. But you did it. You wanted to give your daughter the chance to run around outside [even if it was to save your sanity and the state of your home], you took her and her new brother to the park. Alone. You are a rockstar, Mom.
Don't be embarrassed.
Be proud. You got two little people out of the house - by yourself! You brought your children to the park. You allowed your daughter to run free and wild. You kept them safe and looked out for them. You kept their interests and well being above your own. You love them with a deep fierce love. You are the best mom to your little ones. You are doing an amazing job. You are a wonderful mother.
Maybe no one tells you that, maybe your husband tells you all the time. But let me tell it to you again, because hearing those words will never get old, hearing those words will build you up, hearing those words one more time just might get you through the rest of the day: You are a wonderful mother and you are doing an amazing job.
You may feel alone in this mothering journey, you may feel that other kids are better behaved than yours. You may feel judged and looked down on. Don't. You are not alone. You are not the only mom who has left the park with a screaming toddler in tow [trust me, I would know]. You are not being judged.
You are a wonderful mom and you are doing a great job. Keep venturing out of the house. Keep going on little adventures. Keep loving your kiddos with that deep fierce love. And always know - you are admired: by your children and by other moms, you are strong, and you are loved.