The Mighty Logo

As a Mom I Can Do Hard Things, But I Don't Always Want To

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Lately, it seems like I have been challenged to do a lot of hard things. Some by choice and others out of necessity.

Like getting my son, who has bilateral cochlear implants, through his first season of tackle football the week after my husband left on a military deployment. For this mama: hard.

I’ve competed in triathlons and marathons, given birth naturally (twice), beat cancer and been a military wife for over 20 years, yet sometimes, I just don’t feel strong enough to do the hard things. Though, I feel like the perception is that I can and I should.

I’ve never lost sight of the fact that my husband is doing hard things, too. He is serving in harm’s way, and that is so hard. He is also missing out on everything at home. And that is so, so hard.

Holding down the fort in his absence, parenting alone…also hard. It. Is. All. Hard.

Learning that my daughter will need a second cochlear implant surgery: hard.

And so it goes; on and on.

Life dishes out hard things. Always has, always will.

Today, I chose to say no to something hard. Perhaps it makes me less gritty. For me, that fact is also hard (see, the irony)? I am exhausted, and the cumulative years of hard things have nearly broken me.

And just when I feel like I cannot anymore, scrolling through photos, I come across a gem. It’s me and my boy on a recent vacation, right after we got out of the water from snorkeling. His hand placed on my shoulder as if to say, “Mom, I am proud of you for doing a hard thing.” You see, I am petrified of fish. Despite being able to swim in open water in triathlons (I know, it makes no sense) strapping on a mask and swimming with them has always scared me. Not a little bit, but a lot. But my son was so excited, and I was in awe of him wanting so badly to do the thing that was hard for me.

Mother and sun at snorkeling trip

So, I inched my way into the fish-filled sea. And the next thing I knew, we were swimming, side by side, above a coral reef, playing peek-a-boo with a sea turtle. My son swam lovingly close to me, giving me an occasional thumbs-up, at times even reaching out to momentarily grab my hand, as if to say, “I know it’s hard, but I’ve got you!”

And I know, crystal clear after this: I can do all the hard things. I just may choose to not always do all the hard things all the time.

Follow this journey at MyBattleCall.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Originally published: December 8, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home