My husband snapped this photo while we were eating dinner the other night. A dinner I ordered from Uber eats because I was both too lazy to cook and too lazy to pick something up. I was tired. The kind of tired that morphs you into a different person. One who can’t put their words together fast enough to get their point across. One who is teetering on the edge of a breakdown, anticipating that final push. One who forgets things and loses things and snaps for no reason at all. Well, what seems like no reason. But we all know the reason.
The reason is because I feel invisible. I feel misunderstood. I feel like everything I’m doing, everything I’m sacrificing, is going unnoticed. That’s how I was feeling. Then my husband took this photo because he said I looked beautiful and wanted to capture the moment. And I felt seen. I felt like myself again, just for a moment. Like a whole person. Not just their mom. Not just his wife. But a woman. With an identity all my own. I haven’t felt that way in a while. And I think I have some work to do to get back to her. But it was nice to be reminded that he sees her still, hidden under all the spit up and dark circles and leaky boobs. He still sees Lauren, the woman. Now I just need to figure out how I can see her, too.
It’s easy for me to become consumed in this role as a new mom. My baby is so incredible, I just want to suck myself dry and give her everything I have to give. And still I feel that wouldn’t be enough. But I know life is about balance. Happiness is about balance. And sometimes we trip or fumble or fall down. But we can always get right back up and regain that balance. It’s always there. Maybe you screwed something up at work, got in a nasty fight with your husband, stress ate an entire cake. I know it feels really shitty when you’re in it, but it doesn’t have to last long. Accept the shitty and find the lesson hiding beneath it.
And if you’re lucky like me, you’ll have a rock to lean on when you need to regain that balance. Someone who will still love you after the screw up, after the fight, after an entire cake to the face. And they’ll snap a photo of you like this and remind you that it’s all okay.