Content And Community For Black Moms


This writer and mom of four and feels pulled in a million different directions. Here's how she's keeping herself from snapping.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“I am one person, my love.” 

This is what I tell my toddler when he wants me to read him a story, while dinner cooks in the oven and my 7 year old describes, at length, his idea for an invention, and my 13 year old pelts me with text messages with listings for rabbits in our area because she’s decided she needs an emotional support animal. Oh, and all of this is happening as I sit at my computer trying to finish an article that is due by the end of the day. 

I feel like I am failing at everything. I’m keeping my kids alive, but am I being the best mom I can be?

Are my littlest ones spending too much time in front of a screen so I can get work done?

When my teenagers talk do they feel like I’m really listening? Am I really listening? Or am I trying to remember something that is bound to slip through the cracks given the way my life is set up these days? 

I am doing what I can, but it feels like there is not enough of me to go around. 

On the career front, I’m doing my job, but only just barely. Or at least that’s what it feels like. The focus I need to write, and write well, feels like a luxury these days. And when I’m editing, I miss so much because my attention is split in a million directions. 

I have tried waking up earlier

Going to sleep later. 

Working on the weekends. 

Not working on the weekends. 

Using a planner and meticulously mapping out every minute of my day. 

I still end up feeling like I’m coming up short. 

I am doing what I can, but it feels like there is not enough of me to go around. 

From talking with other moms, I know I’m not alone in this despite how isolated we all may feel. We are managing a lot. We are mothering through a pandemic on top of the systemic pandemic that is white supremacy. The mental and emotional fatigue is real. 

So this is what I tell myself when I’m crying on the bathroom floor, or bursting into tears at my desk over some IG post that hit a little too close to home:

You are doing your best. My best won’t always look the same. Last week’s best may not be this week’s best. My  pre-COVID best may not look like my best right now. And that is OK. 

Let yourself cry. I can feel my feelings. I am a whole human being.

You can be overwhelmed and grateful. Being challenged by all that I have on my plate doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize my blessings. There is room for both. 

I remind myself of these things, and then I make space for myself. Even when I feel like I don’t have the time—especially when I feel like I don’t have the time. 

I go for a walk. Take a long shower. Make myself a cup of tea. Curl up with a blanket and a book. And breathe. 

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Satya Nelms is mater mea’s managing editor. She is a writer and community builder. She lives with her best friend and four littles just outside of Philadelphia.


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