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Am I Strong Enough to Be Your Mom?

Am I strong enough to be your mom?

Am I strong enough to be your mom? I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun prompt. Topic: On moms & motherhood (Mother's Day).

Do you ever conjure up demons you thought were long gone?

I wonder if this is a universal thing that we all experience, or if this is a special Tamara thing. I have a lot of those wonderings. When you’re only ever one person, how can you know when you’re truly alone? I bet way more often than not, we’re not alone. Just afraid to share about the demons. For me, it’s not about worrying that people will think I’m weird or weak. I’m probably both of those things at times, and weird and strong at other times. For me, it’s about worrying that I truly am alone, and if so, it’s the terrifying thought that no one can offer me any help. Or that others have suffered my demons as well, but never to any kind of closure or healing. So if I’m quiet about them, maybe they coexist with hope as well. That I have the antibodies along with the demons, but they’re stronger, smarter, faster. Those are what I want to be, anyway.

girl and mom on hammock

I liken it to believing in monsters under your bed as a child. When you’re older, you don’t believe in monsters under your bed anymore, but what if you did?? Wouldn’t that be terrifying? That you’d be so far evolved and grown, and you’d go right back to feeling like there’s monsters under your bed. It might feel like nothing has ever changed, and you’re still a scared, shaking child. That’s what’s it’s like for me sometimes. I’m in my late 30s, a mama of two, working 2-3 jobs at any given time, pregnant, married, but I’m still that awkward, shaking, unsteady, terrified little girl. Old fears resurface, and demons have evolved too. They’re stronger, smarter, faster. All the things I want to be, anyway. The antibodies can’t protect against this new demon strain.

It paralyzes.

Am I strong enough to be your mom? I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun prompt. Topic: On moms & motherhood (Mother's Day).

Before my father died, I had nightmares one night that the ground was growing like a mountain – with me right on top. It was too fast and rushing towards the sky. I cried myself awake and he retrieved me – reading to me from “The Getalong Gang” book until I fell asleep, slow and steady against his heartbeats. Deep breaths and heavy eyelids. Nowhere else to be.

And no one can tell me that our memories get warped and torn, because I still hear the beats.

father and toddler

I steady myself with my own beats these days, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes at night, when the growing mountains come back – and I can’t even believe they come back – I find new ways to find steadiness. During the witching hours, I don’t have to turn away. I can bring Cassidy against me, and steady the rocking boat of swirling thoughts and worries and nightmares. During the daylight hours, I can lose myself in their laughter and self-assuredness. The way they rarely, if ever, come to me at night with swirling thoughts and worries and nightmares. If they do, I hope to calm them with the low murmurs of my own storytelling voice.

And the rhythms of my own heartbeats.

Am I strong enough to be your mom? I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun prompt. Topic: On moms & motherhood (Mother's Day).

I remember one of the first times it happened as a mama. Scarlet was an unexpected surprise, but I had always wanted to be a mother and felt that it fit me so naturally when she was born. I think I had it easy, as least for a spell, and I deserved that. It was when she was over a year old that I had an anxiety attack. We had people over and maybe it was too much. I was weaning off of breastfeeding and a hormonal fever didn’t seem to help. I couldn’t be there for her, though. My mom was there and I sort of thrust Scarlet at her and went off to write, breathe, sleep, writhe off the debilitating nausea. She needed me then, although my mom was a good substitute.

It couldn’t last, though. I was paralyzed by anxiety and I couldn’t be there for her.

scared little girl with doll

She wasn’t alone. She had my mom, of course, and Cassidy. I just wish I wasn’t so ineffective then, and sometimes now. I wish I was more present and visible and in full color and 3-D and someone she would reach out for when feeling the rising mountains and demons. Sometimes I worry I lost that privilege forever, although it’s the fear talking. She reaches for me, I can reach for her too. We can calm each other’s swirling thoughts with low voices and steady heartbeats.

I just wish I could be more effective. She isn’t needy, but would I be up for the task if so?

Am I strong enough to be your mom? I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun prompt. Topic: On moms & motherhood (Mother's Day).

When Des was born, and then sent to the NICU at another hospital, I was a fierce warrior mama. Back at home, I fretted and I hid – with the WORST postpartum anxiety and PTSD I ever did see. I had therapy, but the damage was deep. I don’t fault myself these days for being unlikeable and ineffective to Cassidy and Scarlet – none of us had the tools to meet in the middle. Not then, but what about now? I still get paralyzed – by anxiety, exhaustion, pregnancy and pandemics. Sometimes I’m trapped – like I can’t fall apart (who has the luxury of that, even with a mental disorder?) and I can’t even have anxiety for five minutes in the bathroom. Everything falls apart.

The kids need lunch, the clients need work, the puppy peed, & the cow jumped over the moon.

Am I strong enough to be your mom? I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun prompt. Topic: On moms & motherhood (Mother's Day).

Before the COVID-19 crisis, I had some semblance of control, even though we really don’t ever have it for nearly enough. Everyone left the house all day, every day, and I worked and I breathed and I shook away my demons against the every-brightening sunny mornings. I don’t know if it was sustainable, the way we don’t know or think our previous way of life was. Pollution, climate change, always rushing from one place to another, so many screens. So many screens. Maybe this crisis makes the demons rise, but they were always there to rise anyway, and now it’s time to meet them without much armor. Without any armor at all. Maybe I’ve been waiting for them.

The kids will remember this time, as they remember every time. They’ll remember us rising up.

flower child Des

Sometimes at night, when I’m writing – or eating an OREO – I feel the next levels of movement. Past the fluttery butterflies and the “Is that a gas bubble or not?” These are the slow starts to the rolls and the kicks. The taps and the taps back. The direct reactions to what I do. The direct reactions to me. And I’ll say aloud to my stomach, “Hellooooo!” I am here and you are here and I am here for you. The world is strange and scary at times, but you’re safe and warm and maybe sometimes confused. If you knock, I’ll knock back. You’ve got us waiting for you on the outside.

Who are you? Who will you be? And am I strong enough to be your mom?

Am I strong enough to be your mom? I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun prompt. Topic: On moms & motherhood (Mother's Day).

I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun prompt. This week’s awesome topic is “On moms and motherhood (Mother’s Day).” Link up your post HERE.

rosie's desserts bakery

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8 Comments

  1. You are a wonderful Mother to those two lucky children, as you will be to the one on on the way. If you end up with a child who struggles with anxiety, you will receive the equipping you need and rise to the challenge. That is what Mother’s do:) Happy, happy Mother’s Day Tamara!

  2. This is so beautiful, Tamara. Of course, you’ll always have that privilege of steadying the heartbeats of your babies, no matter how old they are. No one is perfect…and thus there are no perfect mothers but you come very close.

    I read somewhere that the monsters we thought were under our bed as children move into our head as adults. Maybe some truth to that but we slay them.

    Happy mother’s day to you, a strong mom!

  3. Aw, you know you are a wonderful mother, my friend. This time really has thrown us all for a loop. But please know you are just an extraordinary lady, who I know does all she can and then some for her family always! Hugs and Happy Mother’s Day!! <3

  4. Yes there is a lot of ugliness in the world right now but I love that there is beauty too which is why I love coming to your site. Good always wins and sometimes it is not easy or quick. Happy Mother’s Day to you Tamara! <3

  5. I think I should do a lot more writing and eating an OREO. Life would be better. Unfortunately, my butt has already widened from sitting and working so much I am not sure it could handle that!

    Happy mothers day to a strong and amazing woman!

  6. ❤️ Moms are strength personified and you are too Tamara. I want to wish a Very Happy Mother’s Day to you, to all the Mothers in your family, and all the Mothers in your blogging family! ❤️

  7. Aw! This is gorgeous as always. You ARE strong enough, and you are enough. I tell myself I’m enough all the time. Also, my therapist said (and yours probably told you too but a reminder never hurts) for all the moments of not being there, and feeling like we flunked, think about moments when we were there, and exactly as we’d be if we could do it over. The cheering on, the loving, the rising above in a pandemic. Hugs friend, and happy Mother’s Day. xo

  8. OH Tamara, this one is packed FULL of thoughts, isn’t it? I kept thinking how all of your beautiful writing would be such a gift for your kids to read when they are older adults, reflecting on your heart, your life, your history, and all the inner-workings of your world. I sure hope you save each one and put them in a book for them someday.

    This has been a hard season, for SURE. Especially those who suffer from anxiety. AND on top of that, you are growing a human being in you and anticipating welcoming this precious miracle of life into the world- the world which is scary and full of its own MANY demons. I pray you keep battling your own and the fullness of WHO you are and the incredible life you choose to live always, always wins.

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