I have a birthday coming up.  Getting older has never bothered me, and while I joke about being old, I also know my husband will always be older.  Next week, I’ll be 35 and for some reason this nice round number has me struggling.

If I’m being honest, it’s probably more than just the number.  I have certainly noticed my metabolism slowing, which is unfortunate for someone who loves tacos, desserts, and martinis.  I’ve got a few general aches and pains that I have to be cautious with that I wish I didn’t (I’m talking to YOU left knee, right wrist, and BOTH ankles!).  There are some lines on my forehead I’ve noticed more this past year.  But all that aside, I think it has more to do with this being the first birthday I’ll have without my mom.  Nothing says getting older quite like not having your parents around anymore.

This emotional low point happens to be coinciding with my husband doing a lot of travel and me having a lot of “is this all there is?!” sort of days as a stay at home mom of a pre-schooler.  If you’ve been a stay at home mom, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about without me elaborating.  There are great moments every single day and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.  I feel incredibly lucky to be able to be home with her helping her learn and grow.

And at the same time, I miss the before kids me. The me who doesn’t have to be patient through yet another “hangry” meltdown (with the child who insists she isn’t hungry).  I miss date nights with my husband.  I miss not having to find childcare to go get a hair cut.  The me who could read a book in less than 6 months.  And truthfully, I don’t find playing with play doh terribly fulfilling. Probably because I’m usually the one who has to clean it off the glass table.

I also know this is a season, and one day she won’t need me as much.  One day my husband and I will be able to do whatever we want, whenever we want.  I’ll be longing for some noise to disrupt the quiet.  Yet knowing this doesn’t actually help when I’m sick and tired of being patient and trying so hard to keep my tone of voice even because I have a kid who is a bit sensitive to other people’s feelings.

So other moms out there struggling, know you’re not alone.  We all have bad days, and sometimes those bad days run together a bit.  And sometimes those rough days are amplified by other circumstances, like your husband’s travel schedule, or a personal loss.

But during these tough stretches, I hope you have a tribe even half as supportive as mine.  As I’m over here feeling far less than perfect, which for a completely Type A person with anxiety is agonizing, I have some great mom friends I can reach out to.  Just today one completely validated my feelings of just wanting a stinking break (and no, I didn’t say stinking when I texted her).  Another sent me a picture of wine popsicles.  And a third was in the weeds herself with vomit, which was why she didn’t join me at work out class.

And thank goodness for that work out class.  Through these highs and lows in my life, that class a few times a week keeps me grounded.  Its a constant I can count on.  And a tribe where I can share my highs and my lows without fear of judgement.  And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get that at a regular gym since I’m a bit of an introvert.