When Motherhood Breaks Your Heart


Today, you broke my heart. We went to the library for storytime after you begged to go to “baby brother’s class.” I was excited to experience this special time with you, my firstborn, and your baby brother. You listened and sat still. You were a good boy like I know you are. You didn’t participate as much as I would have liked, and the baby was fussy, but I easily let that go. We made it.

We were here after a frantic morning, rushing around trying to find pants and shoes and socks. To try to get food in everyone’s bellies and everyone safely buckled in the car. We walked in 5 minutes late. We already missed the welcome song and pop goes the weasel. You and the baby didn’t seem to notice or mind. During playtime, I focused on your brother. You pushed a little girl. Later, you took a toy from her. I tried to gently but firmly correct you.


After storytime was over, you rushed out the door to play. A little girl was standing in the doorway of the playhouse. You wanted to go inside and play. You hit and started to kick her. I grabbed you and firmly said:

“No, we don’t hit and kick our friends. Now we have to leave because you did not obey the rules.”

I want you to feel loved and included. My heart breaks seeing you so upset, tears running down your little hot, ruddy cheeks. “I want to go inside the house!” you cried. Your little heart feels so intensely. Mine does, too. It aches for you. My heart breaks because I have failed you, again and again. The eyes of the other mothers burning me as I buckle your brother in and carry you, screaming, out.

They say nothing. I say nothing. I am defeated.

A librarian smiles and asks if I need help. I hesitate for a moment, appreciating her kind offer and wanting to accept, but I say, “No, I think I’ll be fine.” I’m not fine. But I keep walking, struggling with the weight of a squirming toddler and a 20-pound infant because I know if I stop, I will start sobbing.

We get to the car, finally all buckled up and drive home. You fall asleep and snore, exhausted. And I cry. Why does motherhood have to be so lonely? All mothers will likely at one time have to carry a screaming child out when they just want to stay and play.

Most mothers will one day have to scold and discipline their child for hitting or pushing, so why do I feel so alone in this moment? Where are the understanding nods, the “You’ve got this mama,” and sympathetic smiles? Or even the eye rolls or shrugs telling me they’ve been there, too?

How has motherhood broken your heart before?


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