The Existential Mommy Crisis

“Hey! How are you?” a friend asked as she approached me after church during coffee hour while I juggled my purse and my toddler on my left hip.

Looking down at my daughter, I answered, “Oh, she’s good. She wants another cookie, but other than that, she’s great.”

I felt her touch my arm, so I looked up long enough to make eye contact, “I meant you. How are YOU?” She smiled.

I laughed a little to cover the fact that my wall had suddenly been breached leaving me feeling a little naked and made some lame apology for always assuming people were asking about my children. And then I realized that I did not even know how to answer her question.

“You know how it is, right? It’s easy to forget that I’m an actual person sometimes.” {Insert awkward chuckle.}

And it is. The days are full with playing the role of being K’s mom, or S’s mom, or E’s mom, or the person who does X for Person A, or Y for Person B, and tries to make sure everyone has been fed three plus meals a day and that everyone’s various needs are being met. And all while wondering if my husband has something to eat when he gets home from work, and in the minutes that are wrenched from my grasp in between all of that, has any progress been made in stemming the tide of clutter and crap threatening to take over our home? And wine, we have wine, right?

And it is so easy to forget that I am a person, in my own right, with my own tastes and preferences and history. There are moments when I will pass by the mirror in our living room and do a double-take as I glimpse my reflection, because I wonder who that is. And if I pause long enough, there are a few seconds of recognition…”Oh there you are. It’s you…”

And I openly acknowledge that this is possibly the most self-centered thing I’ve ever written. But that’s also my point.

I also don’t intend to sound ungrateful. There is nobody I would rather be than K’s and S’s and E’s mom. There is no better job. And maybe it’s a blessing to have a full life because as long as your life is consumed by who you are in reference to others, there is not any time left to think about whether or not you are actually content.

But then there are those moments when someone takes the time to truly look at you, at YOU, and see you and maybe even hear you, like really hear you, and it feels like the most loving thing they could possibly offer you. Another human being actually acknowledged your existence as an individual, not as someone’s wife and not as someone’s mother.

And I know that God sees me as myself and wraps his loving arms around me when I am tired and overwhelmed and feel like I have disappeared and that is comforting beyond measure…but it is nice to have someone on earth acknowledge it too.

That is a gift we can give each other.

So, maybe the next time you see a friend, or even a casual acquaintance, covered with kids and probably counting them silently in her head to make sure she hasn’t left one somewhere, while planning what she needs from the grocery store, and wondering if there’s someone she has forgotten to thank properly for something, make eye contact just for a second and smile and acknowledge that you see her.

She may have forgotten she’s even there.

The Existential Mommy Crisis | Houston Moms Blog

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Jennifer grew up in Houston before heading to Austin for seven years to attend the University of Texas as a history and government major and continuing at UT for law school. An attorney by day, in the evening she trades high heels and ambition for wet kisses and warm hugs from her three children - Kieran {Dec 2005}, Sawyer {Jan 2011}, and Birdie {Sept 2014}. Her many vices include an intense passion for all things Bravo and her plan for the future is "more cowbell." You can find her at the duck pond, the zoo, on Instagram @jen.e.underwood and blogging at Treading Water in the Kiddie Pool {}.


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