A few days ago I went for a walk, by myself, during the day.
This never happens.
This was a first for me.
My children are now in school and one in preschool, so two mornings a week I have time to myself.
I had three children in four years, time to myself has never been a luxury of mine in these past 8 years.
After a busy morning of running errands (or rather running a few errands and mostly talking to friends I ran into who were also kid-free that morning), I decided to squeeze in a beautiful fall walk as the day was simply gorgeous.
To describe, it was the perfect fall day. The air was cool and smelled great after a few days of heavy rain, the sun was brilliantly shining, bright yellow leaves were gently falling to the ground as I walked through a trail in the small forest behind my house, no wind, just a perfectly cool day. I could have spent an hour just slowly drifting through this magical space. This was the autumn day of fairy tales and pumpkin spiced lattes.
But pressed for time, I was power walking (literally) as I had to return for the preschool pick up soon.
It was in that moment I saw her.
Another mother with two little ones and huge dog on the path.
She had a chariot stroller which had the bike of her toddler propped on the handle bar.
A little one tucked into the stroller and the older toddler now held the leash of the huge dog and was taking the tiniest of steps, surly having abandoned her bike.
I smiled at the mom as I power walked up to them and soon passed them. She smiled back a small smile, lonely almost.
But I couldn’t shake that image.
Because deep in my heart, I know what that feels like. I felt a connection to her situation so strongly, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
It was not so long ago, that I was that mom walking on the side of the road, carrying not one but two abandoned bikes on the handle of my chariot while two toddlers and a baby crammed into the stroller. I longed to be outside power walking, taking in the beautiful day, having my little ones on their training wheel bikes. But instead I was moving at a frustratingly slow pace, dealing with fighting, crying and discontentment.
It was a very lonely place.
A place where my patience was tested and pushed beyond limits.
A place that felt so lonely because even trying to add friends into the mix of chaos that took all my time, ended in more frustration and not one of blessing.
A place where a walk turned into me fighting back tears, feeling utterly defeated wondering if my life will always be this hard?
It is truly amazing how seeing that mother on the path that day, took me back instantly to a very hard place in my life.
A part of me wanted to stop and tell her that it gets better.
Another part of me wanted to encourage her and tell her she was doing a great job and keep it up.
I thought to myself about that situation, and about my own experience.
I do not want to forget how hard that season of my life truly was; because I never want to be numb to the pain and hard times other moms are going through. I do not want to turn an ignorant eye because those were some of my hardest, loneliest days. Not everyone has a strong base of women around them who hold them up in dark times.
So I write about it.
To bring awareness.
To be a reminder.
To be a voice for mothers who do not have the time or the energy to be a voice for themselves in that moment.
To us mothers, who have survived those young years of our children, do not forget how hard it was. Do not forget to encourage the young and new mothers in your life. Remind them what they are doing well. Cheer them on. Build them up. Your few words of encouragement can be the sunshine they needed in their dark day.
To the new and expecting mothers, you can do this! Motherhood is the hardest privilege you will ever undertake. It will challenge you, break you, and recreate you into more than you ever knew you were capable of. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others when the season seems so dark and unending. You will be surprised at how many are fighting the same things you are.
Mothers, together we can be an army. We can fight for each other. We can build each other up. I challenge you to reach out to another mother this week. Be brave, be bold, be honest because that truly gives other mothers permission to be fully present also.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
(This post is from a few years ago, but I felt it is relevant still today and wanted to share it with you.)