You know those days where you just kill it as a mom? I mean really hit one out of the park, nail it, one for the record books…you get it. I haven’t had one of those days in a while. I have spent a lot of the past days and weeks barely keeping my head above water and even questioning whether or not I have any business swimming in this water anyway…or whether or not I even want to. I kind of even, at moments, regret taking a dip in the first place. I often find myself sputtering and flailing and looking around everywhere for a life preserver. Okay, enough of this silly metaphor. You get the idea.
Being a Mom is tough yo! That is the truth. It isn’t for the faint of heart as they say. And another truth is sometimes, (okay a lot of times) my heart feels pretty faint. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Just in the past couple weeks I have shared my heart with a couple of my dearest friends who are also Mommies with kids my kids’ age. Isn’t it wonderful when you have a friend who can finish your sentences, who understands more than just your situation but also your heart? I am so thankful to have friends who don’t balk at my ugly moments and can celebrate with me in my victories-even if one of those victories is just slapping on some makeup, a pair of cute boots and going out for coffee.
Even though I know I am not alone in feeling this way and even though I am virtually always surrounded by little ones, I still manage to feel pretty lonely sometimes. And then there is the guilt. Oh the guilt. When will I be able to just silence that voice in my reeling head that is always telling me I am not enough, I can’t do anything right and my worst nightmares are going to come true and its all my fault?
I lose my temper with my kids. Guilt.
I don’t discipline them enough and let bad behavior go. Guilt.
I don’t feed them healthy enough snacks. Guilt.
I feed them too healthy and don’t balance it out with “normal” eating which naturally includes the occasional treat. I am going to give them a warped view of food. They are going to get an eating disorder. Guilt.
I care too much about their outfits. Guilt.
They go in public looking like slobs because that is what they wanted to wear and I didn’t have the time to comb down Braxton’s bed head. Guilt.
They watched too much TV. They didn’t memorize enough Bible verses. Hayleigh can’t spell every word in the dictionary. I didn’t pray for them enough. I am pretty sure they just heard me say “crap”. (Yep, Braxton is now saying “crap”. Oh great Hayleigh is laughing at him and now she is saying it too. Royce? Wanna join in the crap fest and start saying it too?! ) Braxton is addicted to his bink. I really should just make him quit cold turkey. Oh who cares? He isn’t even two and it is not like its cocaine. Besides if he has the bink he is better behaved. Oh wonderful, Emily. I am using the bink as a prop for good behavior. Haven’t I read (and underlined) the parenting books?! I am just as addicted as he is, aren’t I?! I guess I should read more parenting books. I haven’t taken them to enough play dates. We have been running in so many directions that they are over-tired. They are eating eggs for dinner…again. Should I be potty training Braxton? Should I be sleep training Royce? Should I be training Hayleigh to solve world hunger? Did I read them enough books today? And not just the goofy ones, but the ones that actually teach them things or are long enough to stretch their attention span and have pretty pictures? I should play with them on the floor more. I should really teach them to spend a little more time doing independent play. My house should be immaculate-I mean I am a SAHM. I shouldn’t care so much about the clutter. I should be less stressed about cleaning and more engaged with the kids. I should spend less money at the grocery store. I should really buy more produce and organic products for our family. I should be able to have a moment to myself. Now I feel bad for even saying I that. I mean being a mom is all I ever wanted and they are kids for goodness sakes. One literally needs me to survive. I shouldn’t have gotten Hayleigh that outfit. I should only get her clothes off the $4 table at Target. I should really get Hayleigh some more durable, better fitting clothes than just the ones from the $4 table at Target. Have I held Royce enough? I think I have held Royce too much. She needs to do more tummy time. When was the last time I gave the kids a bath? And while I am thinking of it, when was the last time I washed my hair? Speaking of hair, Braxton is way over due for a hair cut. Royce has a skullet. That is probably my fault somehow as well. And I should really learn some cute styles to do with Hayleigh’s hair. I should go look on pinterest. Pinterest…my house is too dirty and unorganized. Last night’s dinner was too boring…I mean I didn’t even make a dessert in a coffee cup that cooked itself and also magically cured cancer. My wardrobe is too dull. But I really shouldn’t care so much about my wardrobe. I mean first things first. I should really be throwing Hayleigh a pink birthday party that looks like something out of a magazine complete with a rainbow 10 layer cake that resembles a castle, while turning an old t-shirt into a scarf, French braiding my hair and baking scripture cookies. Crap. Great, the kids heard me say “crap” again.
And then just as I am about to pass out from my brain being dizzy some well meaning person tells me to enjoy this time in my life because it is the best years of my life.
Ahhh!!!!! THIS is the best it is going to get?!! You mean it only goes down hill from here?! Now I feel guilty for not making the most of every minute because time goes so fast. And to make matters worse I feel compounded guilt because there are plenty of moments during these “best years in my life” where I am pretty sure I am not cut out for this. I know this is what I always wanted-that this is supposedly the happily ever after in our fairy tale. I know that I am blessed beyond what words can express. I know that these days are precious and fleeting and what memories are made of. I know. I know. I know how I should feel. But the truth is sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I want to be anywhere but here. Sometimes I just want to jump in my minivan and drive away and never look back. Talk about guilt.
Some days I rock it as a mom. I usually find that those are not necessarily the days where all the laundry is sorted and put away and the floors are mopped and the dishes are stacked neatly in the cupboards while a crockpot meal cooks itself on the counter. In fact the days where I go to bed at night feeling somewhat satisfied in my mothering are the days where despite the dust, and the diapers, and the undone to-do lists, (and pretty un-pinteresting hair), I know I connected with my kids. I heard them laugh until they couldn’t breath. I watched them learn something. I looked at them and really saw them for who they were that day. My all star mom days are not always the most together days or the most eventful days. They are days when I am out of my own head space and the hamster wheel of guilt. They are the days when I am actually present with my kids, and not just to be their referee, stylist, nutritionist and chauffer. The days I want to relive are the days where I am not only patient with the kids, but patient with myself as well. Where I allow myself to laugh, where maybe I accomplish just one thing on my to-do list but I don’t beat myself up for it, where I take a moment for myself without guilt and where I don’t run from the honest and sometimes ugly feelings that come with motherhood.
Being a mom is tough, yo. And it isn’t always pretty. And it is rarely neat and tidy. And sometimes I hate it. Some days I am crippled by it-by all that comes with it. The fact that sometimes I am miserable and trapped and resentful and desperate and just so done with it all makes me feel so guilty-like if everyone knew they would lock me up and call CPS. Or even worse, tell my kids some day that there were moments where Mommy was on the verge of losing it and there were moments where Mommy felt inept…and *gasp* there were moments where Mommy really blew it.
I wish there was a neat and tidy way to do motherhood. I wish there was a neat and tidy way to tie all these feelings and thoughts up and give a simple solution. But I haven’t found one. I kinda doubt I will. For now I am just trying to do my best. I am falling into the strong and gracious arms of Christ. I am trying to be the mom I know my kids deserve, even when I feel like they don’t deserve it. I am trying to give myself a break every now and then. And when I am overwhelmed and just want to run and bury my head in the sand I won’t. I will stay. I always stay. Sometimes I stay out of obligation. Sometimes I stay out of fear. Sometimes I stay just because it is the right thing to do. Sometimes I stay because a drooly smile penetrates my mind- spinning ,sleep deprived, coma like state and is just the life preserver I need. I stay because despite all the horrible feelings and thoughts that pop up my heart is here. Whatever the reason, I stay. And honestly, right now there are days where that needs to be enough to dissuade my guilt. How is that for some Mommy- truth?
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am
helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7