The most difficult moments in parenthood are often tucked in silence, away from the eyes of the kids. It’s those times when stress overcomes you that you say something spiteful that you didn’t mean, and you worry that you damaged your child. It’s that time you realize she’s already 8, with breast buds and a few stray armpit hairs to boot, and you didn’t see much of it unfolding because you were busy juggling work and child rearing. It’s those times you ask her to spend more time with you – this kid who once cannot stand losing sight of you – but she prefers to spend it with others.
It’s those times you sneak a pint of tears talking to a friend amid work. You don’t want your kid thinking you resent her, but the gravity of pain weighs more than what your heart can accommodate.
Parenthood is bittersweet, polarizing, and sometimes unfair. You feel like an awful parent if you can’t provide. But you also feel awful when you toil like mad and miss out on their milestones. Balance is the key, they say.
Balance is an idyllic setting achieved with everything in the right proportion. What we sometimes fail to consider is that the equation is lopsided to begin with for parents working from the ground up without old money, charity, or networks to rely on. The parents from single-income households. The widowers. The abandoned. The single parents. The blue collar workers who need to work seven days a week to sustain a family.
This Women’s Month and every single day moving forward, I celebrate mothers who, despite the odds being stacked against them, continue to dream and persevere for their children’s welfare. Who get up to be and do better when they fail, when it’s easier to choose old and worn habits. Who acknowledge they are not superhumans and seek forgiveness when they have wronged. Who work on personal baggage while ceaselessly serving as the pillars that keep their home safe from brittleness and disrepair. Who know balance is sometimes a privilege in this life but keep creating space for it, however small and familiar the act may be. There is no singular way to showcase balance, but there are a thousand ways to be compassionate to our children and to ourselves.