Throughout the younger years of your children’s lives, especially, you will hear this countless times from older and wiser women in the grocery checkout line. From grandmothers at the park with their grandkids. From moms of teenagers. From pretty much everyone who knows, because they’ve lived it.
You’ll feel the weight of those words in your own heart as your baby’s first birthday approaches, or the first time they deny a kiss from you. You’ll gently brush the hair off their face as they sleep and declare with a pinch of mourning that you have no idea where the time went. You’ll finally understand the stage five clinger mom in “I’ll Love You Forever”, and suddenly that old woman crawling through her grown son’s window to cradle his limbs won’t seem so completely insane.
It’s a beautiful sentiment, meant to give perspective on the hard days. But when one day feels longer than the sum of an entire year, it can be hard to maintain that positive outlook.
When the minutes and hours and seconds of each new dawn begin to blend with the night, and you can no longer tell if a new day is upon you or not, because sleep has abandoned you and the needs of others— of your ever-growing little loves— take precident over your own.
When the days feel longer than the years because one day is a year. Because when you are finally able to rest, so much time has already passed.
How can you embrace the days where the sun never seems to descend? The ones that last longer than a telethon or a Ragnar race or that damn Lamb chop song from your childhood? This is the season that never ends, yes it goes on and on, my friends.
It would be easy to say, “think about the future! Remember that you’re going to miss this!”— but telling someone that they are going to miss the days of sleepless nights and zero moments alone is like telling someone they are going to miss weeks of rain. There’s just no way for them to know until it’s gone. There’s no way for them to see that until they are face to face with a California drought.
So instead, maybe we can do something different. Maybe, when the days feel longer than the years, we should be encouraging one another to merely look at that day. Break it up into sections. Tackle it piece by piece. Hour by hour. Can you get through another ten minutes of this? Yes, you can. What about another hour? If your answer is unsure, then go back to minutes. And if that seems overwhelming still, then ask for help.
Mamas, we have to start asking for help when we need it. I don’t know what it is, but every single mom I talk to tells me the same thing:
They feel an intense mom guilt whenever they have to ask for help with their kids.
Why do we do this to ourselves? When did we decide that it would be better to raise our children from a place of overwhelm than to simply ask for an extra set of hands when we need them?
I wish I had the answer.
I wish I could hunt down the first person to ever whisper in a mama’s ear and tell her that she was somehow less than if she asked for help— because I would slap them in the face.
Mama’s, hear me out.
All of you.
The working mom who feels guilt because she’s already gone 40+ hours a week— so she feels like she needs to spend every second of her spare time with her kids to “make up” for being gone so much.
The stay-at-home mom who feels guilt because her job is to care for her children, so asking for help feels like she is quite literally unable to fulfill her job description.
The work-from-home mom who feels guilt because she thinks that either her work gets neglected or her children do, almost every single day.
The momtrepeneur who feels guilt because she chose to pursue her dreams and feels selfish for doing so.
All of you— listen up.
Your children do not and will not suffer from you getting help. They will be better for it.
Yes, I’m going as far as to say that they will not only be okay, but better for it. And the reason is simple.
If you’re out on a run and you sprain your ankle, you need to go home and care for it. Ice, wrap, elevate, and rest. You wouldn’t ignore the pain and keep walking on it, because if you did then your condition would worsen.
Think of being overwhelmed as spraining your ankle. You can’t keep carrying the weight of that around because the symptoms will only worsen.
Likewise, you wouldn’t teach your children to push through the pain of a sprain, would you?
If you want your kids to ask for help when they need it (something I know you say to them) then you need to be willing to live by example. Because I promise you that yes, even your newborn baby, can tell when you are overwhelmed. And if you are pridefully pushing through when you should be leaning on others, your children are going to see that and think that is how they too, should be.
We are not meant to do this life alone, sweet friends. God made Adam a companion for a reason— because even the very first person on this earth needed someone. We all need each other, and there should be absolutely no shame in that.
So when the days feel longer than the years, do not lose hope. Focus on that single day. That single hour. Those single seconds. And do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Because when the days feel longer than the years, that is our souls way of telling us that it needs a break. So give your soul a break, mama. Your heart and your children will both thank you for it.