I am writing you this letter on Mother’s Day, the day before you return to work after a four month maternity leave. The past months were incredible – the best of your life. You have grown as a person – as a mother, in ways I could have never imagined. Your dreams are clearer and your goals are tangible. Your family is complete and settled in the house that will contain the childhood memories for all four of your boys.
I know you are scared and sad about going to work. It is not the work itself that is causing you stress. You know the job and the people, and they are not the issue. Leaving your children will be hard, having them spread between two schools and home seems scary. The logistics of having four little lives to manage on top of your own is a daunting task at times. Not being there when they return from school is heart breaking, and you are afraid. You worry – you fear that you are less of a mom because you are not with them during the day.
You see things you would do differently, if you were there when they come home from school. Crafts, homework, chores and games – there are so many things you would do to entertain and educate them. Instead you have to swallow your mommy-pride, hand the reins to someone else – someone you trust to keep your children safe – but that someone isn’t mom. There are some things that only mama can do – and that is where the guilt comes in.
You know from prior experience that you eventually fall into a rhythm, you learn to dance to this new routine. You perfect your ability to make the most of every minute you have together. You are not less of a mama for not physically being there during the day. You are MAMA – that means you are everything, but never less – you are their universe.
You will always be the finder of toys, builder of Legos, fixer of broken things, kisser of boo-boos, reader of books, calmer of fears, teacher of life, picker of boogers, wiper of butts, keeper of treasures, speller of words, referee of fights, planner of play dates, cook, driver, listener, guider, mentor, comforter (just to name a few titles) – you are mama whether you are there in person or in spirit. The boys understand that you work, they respect that you leave and they know that you come back.
Please don’t be hard on yourself – you are your own worst guilt inducer. Everyone around you is supportive and understanding – you should try to do the same.
Tove, as you prepare for your day tomorrow, please know that this is not the end of anything. It is rather a continuation of the best days of your life. Your routine may be different, but the cast members remain the same. The five men in your life love you unconditionally and support your every move. Stop stressing, start accepting, smile from within and stay focused on the souls that matter the most. And seriously – just keep living in the NOW!
You are not on this journey alone – as a mother you should know that loneliness is not a luxury you are afforded. You are on this ride with your loving husband, your adoring sons and supportive friends – never alone, never lonely.
Good luck tomorrow, mama and remember, you are enough! Enough mama, enough wife, enough Tove – You are enough!