Mothering Littles: Seeing the Forest for the Trees


Dear “Older Moms,” who have made it through the phase of mothering littles…

I need you, please help.

Don’t get me wrong. I am so blessed to have a “mom squad,” a group of strong women whom I have known since Lamaze class. Women who have been there every step of the way, from first words to first steps to 8th birthdays. I love these women and am ever grateful for the bonds we share having gone through all the things together.

But I still need more.

I need hope and a role model. An example of what kind of mom I want to be a decade from now. Proof it is possible to get there and that this season won’t destroy me. Encouragement that it will get easier. I know that teenagers have their own challenges, but please tell me it does get easier, even if it’s a lie. I need some hope; I’m fragile.

I’ve been down in these weeds for eight straight years.

For eight years, I have been mothering littles. For nearly a decade, I have had an infant or toddler or infant and toddler (and preschooler and school ager). I have been in diapers and daycare and working mom exhaustion for most of that time.

And yes, you heard that right, FOUR kids.

But please, before you call me “crazy” or tell me sarcastically, “that’s what happens when you keep hitting reset,” just don’t. I need encouragement, not criticism. I already know I brought this on myself. Yes, I chose this life. I love this life. But it’s hard. Work is hard, marriage is hard, mothering is hard. And I don’t want to complain. I don’t. I want to be all kind, and at peace and confident and unapologetically awesome all the time. But that’s hard!

I have a deep desire to be creative and confident and motivated and inspired. To be a good example, myself. I want to be a good employee, leader, contributor, mom, wife, daughter and friend. But I am tired.

Bone tired.

So I really need someone to set an example for me.

Someone who is just a ways down the road to encourage me. I need someone who will listen to my ramblings without making me feel like I am burdening them by expressing that life is ever anything less than rainbows and butterflies. Someone who’ll have a cup of coffee with me and knowingly nod because they’ve been there. And they have been there recently enough to still appreciate how hard it is to be awakened 5 times a night and still have to be on point for an office meeting at 8:30.

But not someone who is so far down the road that their only advice is to “enjoy every moment, because you’ll blink and it’ll be gone.” I am sure that is true; EVERYONE says so. But the very thought that I am possibly squandering “the best years of my life” reduces me to ugly tears every time.

I am sure someday when the haze has cleared and enough time has passed to dull the edges of my memories, I too will look back fondly at this time and miss it. But right now, I just need to know that I’ll survive it.

I am blessed, I know it.

I know that what I have are first world problems—that everyone is healthy and happy and that I don’t know what “real problems” are. But I don’t think about that when I am in the depths of mothering littles. I think of mountains of laundry, toddlers who can single-handedly leave a house looking like it was subjected to an out-of-control frat party, and an unending “To Do” list.

So reach out, moms.

Find that struggling mom of littles and bring more community to them—to me. Tell us it all turns out okay and that we’re not alone. Prop us up when we are feeling like we don’t even know where to start. You never know when you might be the light at the end of someone else’s tunnel. The big picture. You might be the motivation for someone else to keep slogging through the hard days because they know in just a little while, it’ll be in the past.

What do you think? Are you lost in the woods also, or finally coming to a clearing? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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Rachel is a native Coloradoan, though originally from the Western Slope. She followed her husband Chris to his hometown of Colorado Springs after having met in engineering school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Together they have four beautiful children, Tommy (2011), Tazzy (2014), Zach (2015) and Zinny (2018). Having a young and active family keeps Rachel on her toes trying to find ways to keep the ship sailing while still meeting all the demands of motherhood. Though Rachel loves her most important role as Mommy most, she also works full time outside the home as a Water Resources Engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. This role helps keep her life centered, bouncing from detailed and complex discussions relating to Colorado Water Law with her husband ( a mechanical engineer) to daycare and preschool drop off and pick up schedules, while being constantly interrupted by the equally complex musings of her 4 year.