Me, Mommy

Dear Mama, Keep on Hiking

We were on a family hiking trip. As usual, I packed a “just-in-case” backpack. There was a chance of rain, so I also had the kids’ rain jackets hooked through each side of the bag and an umbrella dangling from my wrist. I thought nothing of it all…until a woman walked by us on the trail. She gently patted my back as she passed and said, “Mom, you’ve got it all on your back don’t you?” Her knowing smile telling me she wasn’t just talking about my backpack. 

I just laughed and said, “Yeah…I guess so!” Then, her husband followed behind her and said, “She knows all about that.”  I watched as they walked on, just the two of them. They walked quickly and had nothing but the clothes on their backs with them. They had once carried it all too, now they carry it in a different way. I knew that moment would stick with me, but at the time I tucked it away and continued hiking with my family.  

As predicted, those words kept creeping back into my mind. “You’ve got it all on your back.” Such simple words, yet they carried so much meaning. 

We pack little backpacks all the time. The physical ones…with extra undies and a little first aid kit and snacks and tissues and water, those are the easy ones. The others, they can get pretty heavy. Sometimes we need a little pat on the back to remind us to keep hiking. 

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Dear Mamas who wear it all on your back, 

When you pack a worry bag, filled with decisions and hard choices and words of encouragement and teaching hard lessons and sometimes frustration. When you cram doubts and comparisons and perceived failures in the little pockets. When it gets weighted down with what-ifs and multiple scenarios and unseen futures. This becomes a heavy bag and it’s carried daily. 

Mama, you’ve got it all on your back, but just keep on hiking. You’re not alone and you’re doing just fine. 

When you pack scheduling bags, filled with juggling times and activities and events and getting everything done on time while also having time for everyone. Cramming events scheduled weeks ahead in the little pockets and pulling them out often to prepare. When you carry it all in the bag and also in your mind and  sometimes the weight brings you to your knees. 

Mama, you’ve got it all on your back, but just keep on hiking. You’re not alone and you’re doing just fine. 

When you pack those pressure bags. One side packed with the pressure to keep the house clean and clothes clean and dishes and sheets and cars clean. The other side packed with the pressure to spend every second making great memories and spend quality time with family. This bag’s weight shifts constantly making it a hard one to carry. You try hiding regret and anxiety in the little pockets, but just like lost chapstick, it’s always eventually found.

Mama, you’ve got it all on your back, but just keep on hiking. You’re not alone and you’re doing just fine. 

When your bag is packed with responsibility. When it’s stuffed full of every little thing you’re responsible for. Buying food and making meals, paying bills, keeping the kids clothed and educated and healthy. Keeping relationships with friends and husbands and family. Juggling work and home. Some days you want to cram it all in the little pockets, but you know it won’t all happen without you.

Mama, you’ve got it all on your back, but just keep on hiking. You’re not alone and you’re doing just fine. 

When you look into the raising good kids bag and it’s empty because you have no idea what to put in it.  Then it quickly fills with research and failed attempts and little triumph trophies when you get it right. You want to fill it with kindness, but not so much that it creates naivety. Guidance but also self-expression. It’s bag of trial and error. You try to hide a little time in the pockets because it goes by so fast it takes your breath away.

Mama, you’ve got it all on your back, but just keep on hiking. You’re not alone and you’re doing just fine. 

The Mom bag. This one, filled with the leftovers and attempts of self-care. This bag must be cleaned out often. Though often neglected, it needs attention and care too. When love is poured into this bag, it magically makes the whole load lighter. 

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I’m thankful for that fellow hiker’s comment. She’d been there, she knew. We all carry these bags and many more. We all feel the heaviness on our backs, even if we don’t talk about it enough. Sure, we can share the load with others at times, but mostly it’s ours and that’s ok. It’s ok because it’s an honor. 

It’s an honor, but we can also feel like crawling under the weight. Mamas, let’s stand up and feel strong. Let’s breathe and soak in the beauty around us. Let’s pat each other on the back and know we’re not alone and we’re doing just fine. 

Let’s keep on hiking. 

 

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