A few days ago I finished Glennon Doyle Melton’s memoir “Love Warrior”. Her story is the type that grabs you by the throat. Each word consumed feels as if your own thoughts have somehow magically been transferred onto this page/screen in front of you. The power of her words are that they are unfiltered. They toss aside all social norms of what should or should not be said and brazenly flaunt their authenticity for all to read. More, for all TO FEEL.
The wonder of this book is that days later, I’m still inspired. Not only to walk my own path in this life as the truest version of myself, but also to be unafraid to say the hard things about motherhood.
Motherhood is a club I joined, not knowing how I would fit in. Would I blend with the perfectionist moms? The granola moms? The by-the-book scheduler moms? Would I be seen as a lazy mom or *insert eye roll here* a SuperMom? And humbly, but also delightfully, I am none of these type of moms.
I’m my own version of a mom. A unique blend of all of those but none of those, because I’m the best mom for the son that I have been given.
And I am a Mama Warrior.
Being a Warrior is the hidden secret behind motherhood. Yes, motherhood is sweet baby smells and coos and giggles. But motherhood is also that sweet baby projectile-vomiting Exorcist-style for four days straight, at all hours of day and night, taking out every cloth surface imaginable… and then you and your husband contract the same stomach bug. Mama Warriors know this battle.
Motherhood is solo parenting while your partner travels and/or furthers their education, shouldering the load for the betterment of your lives. It is brutal by itself but you manage to white-knuckle through each and every day, knowing there will be an end to this incredible weight at some point. But that’s not where the Mama Warrior comes out.
She (with a capital fucking S) comes out when, on top of working full time, maintaining the house, paying the bills and trying to remember to feed herself, the baby develops a mystery rash that four different doctors cannot diagnose. The Mama Warrior appears when the baby gets a double ear infection and cannot go to daycare, your husband is away and you have a major client presentation to give the next day… two hours away. The Mama Warrior shows up when, even though you are so exhausted you’re lightheaded, you still snuggle up, read to your baby and rock them to sleep on your lap. No shame in falling asleep with them, by the way.
Most importantly, the Mama Warrior recognizes and embraces that she is imperfect. That she will endure periods of grief, of being overwhelmed, of sadness and possibly Postpartum Depression, and she will often feel like an utter failure. It is in these times that she leans into her fellow Mama Warriors. These trusted friends support, encourage and guide her through the darkness. And just when she turns the corner on her own struggle and the sunshine appears, another Mama will need to borrow her Warrior strength to help push through her own struggles. We are a network of strength, tears and determination.
You see, what I’m learning is that all Moms are actually Mama Warriors. All Dads are Daddy Warriors. We are ALL Warriors as parents, stopping at nothing to make sure our children are loved and protected and fighting our way through the muck together.
Warrior Parents shove aside their own needs for the sake of their children’s needs, showing up on the bloody battlefield day after day. We spend hours being climbed on, crawled over bulldozer-style, tugged on, spit up on and drooled on with no regard to our own personal space. And believe you me, inside we are dreaming longingly of a chunk of time in which everyone will just. stop. touching. us. But we power on, over and through. We find joy where we can, even if it is the tiniest, most seemingly insignificant part of the day, because that single drop of good sustains us through another day. Or at least through bedtime.
It doesn’t feel I’ve done an adequate job of explaining. I suppose I can only summarize by saying that being a parent changes the meaning of the word “difficult”. What was previously believed to be a difficult situation, you would now trade your left foot to go back in time and have that problem. And when you don’t believe you have the strength to endure one iota more of x, y, or z… you find it within the depths of your being somehow. Because you have to. These beloved tiny humans need us.
And we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
We are Warriors.