You’ve somehow found yourself to be a mom of 3 young children at the museum. It’s a children’s museum. They are young. They are going to have an absolute blast. But something between worry and terror blankets your face. Don’t stress. You can’t lose one in here, really. This particular museum is one level. There are no field trips here. You dressed the youngest in his brightest Elmo t-shirt for easy spotting, and there are parents everywhere, parents who look kind … and helpful. You are a seasoned veteran taking multiple kids out and about.
It’s not losing one that you are worried about, is it? What is it then? Because I see your eyes in a bit of a panic. They watch the oldest to make sure he’s not playing games out of turn, for surely he knows better. And then they dart to the curious youngster who is about to wreck some big kid’s world by the push on an enticing, eye-level button. And finally, your skittish eyes find their way to the middle child, and there’s a moment of rest and a sigh of relief — he’s constructively engrossed in part of the exhibit. For now. The voice of confidence in your head reminds you to breathe … these are life’s sweetest moments.
And yet … you are internally on edge.
If you are watching your kids, then you don’t have to make eye contact with the grandparent clearly on a babysitting adventure with one elementary-aged child. Because it feels like she’s judging you. Or maybe pitying you. Neither feels very good.
On several occasions it seems like you think to yourself — well maybe we shouldn’t be here. And I wish I could take that regret for you and carry it, for moms shouldn’t have to shoulder that weight.
Am I doing enough? How can I contain the two-year-old, guide the oldest to social maturity, and make meaningful experiences with the middle simultaneously? How can any of this have any meaning? Sure, my kids aren’t my report card, but why do I feel like I’ve managed to FAIL this season of motherhood?
That’s heavy stuff, Mom. I know.
But we were made for this. You were made for this. And you are brave for taking this outing. You should take this outing. Keep taking these outings. You were trusted with them, and the fact that you worry at all shows just how you care — just how much you invest in them, in yourself, in your family, in your community. Today was one day – one instant – in a sea of time. While yes, you were barely treading water to stay afloat, you still managed to make ripples in a larger ocean, ripples that change the surrounding tides. And that, my friend, is more than enough.
A Mom of Three Young Children Herself