When Will The Crying Stop?!

So much crying.  So much.

It comes without warning (sometimes).

It comes in the morning, at lunchtime, in the middle of the night.

Sometimes it’s a couple of sad tears flowing silently down the cheeks.

Other times, it’s the full-on “ugly cry” that we all know so well.

Now, before you go judging me for complaining about my kids (and calling their cries ugly), hear me out.  I’m not talking about them; I’m talking about me.  And I guarantee (hopefully) that I’m not alone.

Sam’s first day of pre-school. I was a COMPLETE wreck.

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom would start crying at the Hallmark commercials? You’d laugh and make fun of her, and she would say under her breath, you’ll never understand until you are a mother yourself.  Well, my friends, she was right.  In fact, if a Hallmark commercial comes on the TV at my house, I turn it off.  No joke.  Because we all know what the outcome will be.  And the same goes for Johnson & Johnson, Cotton, Google (have you seen the one where the girl video chats with her dad from her dorm room??), and the list goes on.  Oh, and my husband absolutely refuses to watch my favorite show (Parenthood) with me, because I have yet to make it through a single episode without crying (seriously…just when you think you might make it to 10pm without a single tear, that show just gets you).

All of the above would not have made me cry before I had kids.  OK that’s a lie; some of them still would have gotten to me, but that’s only because I’m a super-emotional person.  But after having three children of my own, the tears just seem to be sitting there on the eyelids at every moment of the day.

And while all of those commercials, sappy television shows, and Facebook or Youtube videos can get me to the sad cry with a few tears streaming down my cheeks, none of those things get me to the full-on “ugly cry” (except for the viral video with the children’s hospital patients singing Katy Perry’s “Roar”…honestly, it’s just too much).  Nope, that ugly cry is reserved for those three precious little humans that live in my house and drive me crazy on a daily basis.  And let me tell you, the ugly cry comes out more than I will ever admit here.

I have kept journals for all of my kids since the time I found out I was pregnant with each of them; these journals are a true testament to the emotional roller coaster that is motherhood, and I pray that when my children grow up and read those pages I write for them, that they will not think that their mom is insane.  If they do, I know exactly what I’ll tell them.  You’ll never understand until you have children of your own.

samcoopOn those pages, I write to them about all of the typical milestones (birthdays, Christmas memories, moving into our first home, bringing each of them home from the hospital, etc.) and I’m sure the ugly cry roared its head during each of those moments.  However, I also find that the little things (or seemingly little) make the tears flow just as quickly, sometimes even quicker.  Last week, for example, we took the side-rail off of my 3 year old’s bed.  My husband was changing the sheets and he said “let’s try it without the rail, I don’t think he needs it”.  And he was right.  But I wasn’t ready.  I guess everyone in the house forgot the way I deal with things around here.  I need to start talking about it, start telling him what a big boy he is and how we are going to take the railing off of his big boy bed, and then I need to have a couple nights to cry about it before we actually do it.  {Insert your comments about my sanity here}  But, the rail came off, and Cooper has done fine.  And, surprisingly, so have I, but of course it brought back memories.  It truly does seem like yesterday that we were out buying those mattresses for our two boys to move to their “big boy room” when I found out I was pregnant with our daughter.  And now, it’s almost two years later and I’ve found a new reason to cry about the same silly mattress.  {Speaking of mattresses, I can vividly remember the day my mom finally accepted the fact that I was no longer living at home and she got rid of my mattress from my bedroom.  Let’s just say, her cries that day were pretty high up on the ugly scale.  Sorry mom, but I have to make fun of someone besides myself for a minute}.

samnoraIn addition to the side-rail episode, a few things I have cried about recently include the rapid outgrowth of clothing in all three children (especially my oldest), the fact that my son can now spell out words without asking for my help, my baby girl’s hair growing long enough to pull back into a pony tail (she looks so old), and (embarrassingly enough) the fact that my middle son is no longer in diapers.  There you have it: proof that my tear ducts are full to the brim and that you should seriously tread lightly in my presence if you do not have Kleenex on hand.

While writing in their journals lately, I’ve had to sit back and laugh at myself as I read my words and realize how often I get so emotional when it comes to my children.   I fully realize that the crying will never stop.  The babies will grow up, there won’t be any cries of “mommy” on the monitor in the pitch black of night, but a mother will never stop crying.  Every milestone, every new chapter in our children’s lives, will undoubtedly bring us to tears (some a few, some ugly).  I have decided to suck it up, accept the fact that this won’t change, and declare emotional instability as a rite of passage in motherhood.  Who is with me?

Please (for my own sake) share some of your “ugly cry” moments.  Can YOU make it through a Hallmark commercial?

Sara and her husband Matt (sweethearts since they were just 16) got married in 2007, and since then have welcomed four beautiful children (Sam in 2008, Cooper in 2010, Nora in 2012, and Adam James in December 2015). A born-and-raised Iowan, Sara received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (in Spanish Literature) from the University of Iowa. She's still teaching Spanish wherever and whenever she can, but her true passion is owning Iowa City Moms and building this community alongside her amazing team. Sara is also the Community Engagement Coordinator for City Mom Collective, and the owner of Cowork Collective downtown Iowa City. Common denominator in all of these jobs: community, community, community.


  1. I made it to the last paragraph of your post before my eyes began to tear. So reading or thinking about crying makes me cry! I also cry watching Greys Anatomy.

  2. I totally teared up at the end of this post too. I have always been a crier but motherhood has definitely upped the teary moments!

  3. Oh, you’re not alone, Sara. Not at all! I cried when my three girls grew too large to wear 0-3 month onesies, and when we took down the crib, and at Every. Single. Christmas. Pageant. they’ve ever sung in at church or pre-school over the years because it’s just so overwhelmingly chaotic and beautiful all at once.

    And commercials? Don’t get me started. I’ll cry right alongside of you. 🙂


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