I'm That Overwhelmed Mom Who Keeps Taking Her Kids for Granted & I'm Sorry


Every night, sweet angel, we cuddle up in the oversized chair that is too big for your room, your head snuggled in between my left shoulder and chest, listening to a lullaby station on Pandora. You drink your milk and suck your pacifier until you fall into dream land. Most nights this goes smoothly. Other nights, I have to encourage you to "close your eyes," to which you kindly, softly, and so adorably reply, "okay." But then there are those other nights, the nights that happen about three times a month, where you simply won't close your eyes.


It's not that you're fussing or being defiant -- not in the least. On those nights, you simply want to gaze at mommy. And gaze ... and gaze ... and gaze.

Well, one night recently your gaze stuck with me -- not at the time, because at the time I was, of course, feeling exasperated and frustrated by the minutes of "personal time" you were stealing from me (how selfish I am, right?). But later on that evening, as I sat on the couch hoping to finally relax a bit, I realized how often my eyes are open, but I still can't see.

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Motherhood has me struggling to be present but sadly, I live in a distracted state. Every day I am distracted by my anxieties and worries for you and your siblings. I worry over the lack of quality time between your father and me. I feel disappointed in myself for the state of our home and the lack of laundry being done. I fear judgment -- from anyone, really -- about absolutely anything concerning how I function as a person, woman, wife, or parent. And, of course, I'm distracted by my work.

You know what I wish, honey? I wish that someone had told me to keep my eyes open.

Unintentionally, I have been closing my eyes, far too often, to the irreplaceable moments I have with precious people. "OPEN YOUR EYES," I want to yell at myself. Open your eyes and your heart to time well spent; to the three miracles living in your home; to the learning that is taking place -- both yours and your children's.

Open your eyes to the difference you are making in this world, by simply raising someone who already has the innate inclination and intelligence to keep her eyes open, because she already understands the importance of doing so. You see, any moment where you get lost in your gaze at a loved one is not wasted. This time with you will never be wasted.

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I've got three children who linger when they hug, who slobber when they kiss excitedly, and who gaze at me at bedtime. Now it's time for me to welcome their gaze, to stop telling them to close their eyes, and for me to open up my own. Not only am I going to open my eyes to the blessed life I have, but I am going to stare and stare and stare at each and every blessing that makes it up.

So, if I seem distracted now, it's because I am. But it's by the right stuff this time, and I wish you the same distractions.

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