I might make it all sound like fun and games around here. And many days, it truly is. I love this family of mine, and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
But this life of boys and noise and schedules that always (always!) change, and teenage testosterone, and toddler tantrums…it can get crazy.
My boys are always around, and sometimes my head just spins as they go in and out in around me…
Sometimes I just stop and take in my environment…and I can hardly believe it myself.
And not to be overly dramatic, but sometimes…I feel like I am drowning.
It’s not just because I have four–I remember going through this with one and two…Being a mom will some days suck you dry, no matter your situation. Because that’s just the name of the game.
Today was just one of those days for me:
Where every one needs me all at once, and nothing ever quite gets finished before the next thing begins. Sure, my boys do school mostly independently, but I need to keep up with what they’re doing, and keep them fed (that’s a job in itself.) I need to correct their work, and answer questions, and the laundry…Oh, the laundry. Today I forbid Luke to surf because he needed so much to get caught up in school. My goal was to be there for him as much as possible. And Jonah had at least three tests needing correcting. And Josiah…had a fever. He would never ask for anything, but obviously I wanted to just sit and be near him. I had a huge load of bananas to dehydrate, mail to go through, and the house…Well, this house is in rare form.
So, I started the day with gusto, working down my to-do list with as much focus and calm as I could muster. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. I barely got out of the shower, when I realized that Levi’s three hour preschool would be over in five minutes, and I was late. I took one look at my house, saw bills that I still hadn’t paid, laundry scattered on the floor, dishes in the sink, and the boys…I had hardly given them a fraction of what they needed.
I wanted to fall down and surrender.
I just cannot do this.
It’s too much.
My eyes welled up with tears, and my heart pounded hard in my chest. Is there an escape button? Is there a safe way to get off this ride before I crash?
I don’t think I have medical anxiety, but I think we all can suffer a bit of situational anxiety…
And I’m telling you, some days are full of situations. (Do I hear an Amen?)
This very scenario has led me to lose my cool more times than I want to remember. I hate feeling overwhelmed, out of control.
And releasing that tension in the worst way has been a huge downfall of mine.
Today however, I did not lose my cool. No yelling. No throwing. I didn’t rant, or cry, or call my husband to tell him how hard my life is. (not that I’ve done that before.) (Please don’t ask him how many times I’ve done that before.)
Today…was a small victory.
Today: I walked through messes, and noise, and gave Tylenol, and history exams, (and managed more than one toddler fit,)…And I did it with grace.
This isn’t bragging. I didn’t look very pretty, and I don’t think there was any singing or dancing, but for me: Today was absolute grace.
I don’t know why today I had more grace than other days. Maybe I’m finally growing up. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of friends I know who are going through so much suffering. Families with cancer. Marriages in ruin. Finances stealing sleep and peace. I’ve been thinking a lot about these people, and praying for them. Yesterday on Instagram I shared a page out of my Jesus Calling Devotional about suffering, and later people thanked me who I had no idea were even suffering. It breaks my heart.
But I’ll be honest: I think I have handled the real-life kind of suffering with more dignity and grace than I usually handle the daily stuff of life.
Because when I’m going through a legitimate trial, I am on guard. I recognize it as a battle.
Yet the daily stuff? I don’t even think of it as a battle, so I let my guard down.
Now I hate to think how much damage have I done by sending out streams of negativity to the people in my life because I am personally exhausted and overwhelmed. And it never ends with us, does it? That stream spreads through the whole family. And it is ugly.
Looking at that devotional on suffering, I realize that it not only spoke to serious suffering, it also speaks to the daily grind: “Bearing your circumstances bravely–even thanking Me (God) for them-is one of the highest forms of praise…On earth also, your patient suffering sends out ripples of good tiding in ever-widening circles.” (Jesus Calling, Oct. 14)
Moms, listen to me: Bearing your circumstances bravely can come in many shapes and sizes: A toddler’s fourth fit of the morning. Piles of laundry. Another question. Another phone call. Bedsheets that have been needing to be changed for way too long, sticky counters, and kids that just need more of us than what we have to offer. Bearing circumstances bravely is homework, and leftovers, and more juice. And spilled juice. And we’re out of juice.
So, here’s what I’m learning: Just because it is the daily stuff of life, Do not deny it is hard. Sure, it isn’t suffering like cancer, and we need to stop and thank GOD for every healthy day we have. Keep perspective. But it is much better to face your day accepting that there are hard things ahead, and gear up to face them with courage, than to deny it and be caught off guard. And then blow it.
Dave got home this evening just in time to take the boys out for a quick surf. I am thankful for the break, and breathing in the quiet. I still need to put dinner together, and that house cleanup?…will just have to wait. But I will go to bed tonight with the peace of knowing that though I did not do it all…I did what I could. With grace. Tomorrow will bring fresh challenges, but I am determined to bear my circumstances–big and small–bravely.
Because at the end of the day, I see my family in the midst of ripples of good tidings in ever-widening circles…
And it is beautiful.
Press on, Mommas.
With Much Aloha,