This post is LITERALLY 5 days in the making. OMG I don’t even know how to describe the last week. I just kept sitting down to write then erased it all then sat down again then got interrupted then came back and started up again. Everything you are about to read is from about 4 different days, so take words like “yesterday” with a grain of salt. LOL I just really wanted to update this space, so I’m posting the madness.
I keep sitting down to blog and then I erase everything I’ve written because I’m not writing it for me. I don’t know why it’s so hard to write for myself sometimes.
I sit down thinking I’m going to write to figure out what I’m thinking and then all of the sudden I’m explaining things to you. That’s not inherently bad, but it’s not what I want this space to be about.
And it usually bores me.
Today I’m thankful that so far everything is better than it was yesterday.
Yesterday started out ok with the usual early wake up from Drew, followed by breakfast, homeschooling, and lunch. We even did two kindergarten lessons to make up for our day off on Monday. I arranged a meet-up at the playground with friends and we even had pumpkin spice tea and homemade apple bread as a little snack to warm us up after our cold park adventures.
Right after all that I started to get my afternoon twitch. The one where I’m feeling irritable and impatient and desperately in need of an hour alone. Even 30 minutes.
So, I got the little ones to lay down, let Grace do her own thing and I caught up on some emails before settling into some quiet time for myself.
Grace decided to do artwork at the table right next to me, so my email time was peppered with 101 questions, but I was pressing forward…I knew I could send her off to another room for another activity as soon as I was done with what I was working on.
Then Drew woke up.
Even suggesting that was upsetting makes me feel like the world’s crappiest mom because how could I not relish every minute with this adorably precious baby boy?
But I’m just feeling weary. He’s such a sweet boy, but he’s in a challenging phase right now, cutting a bunch of teeth, fighting a cold, wanting desperately to walk and explore.
He has a lot of needs and this mama feels all dried up.
The girls continue to struggle through learning how to share and be generous. Making good strides and then appearing to forget everything they’ve ever been taught. They are great playmates and fierce competitors.
The thing about 3 (or more I imagine!) is that someone always needs something. Getting all 3 to overlap with anything is a challenge so it’s usually a relentless game of whack-a-mole.
I start each day ready. I grab my figurative mallet, I give myself a pep talk about how strong and capable I am, and I hunch into my best whacking stance, ready to face the day. Ready to whack every need that pops up, moving swiftly to prepare myself for the next one.
Have you every played Whack-A-Mole?
It’s an uncanny metaphor for parenting.
Back to yesterday…I closed my laptop. Prayed that God would have mercy on me. Took a deep breath and scooped my boy from his crib.
Ironically he just woke up again early from his nap, so I’ve got to close the laptop again to get him.
Now I literally don’t even remember exactly what happened when I got him up from “nap” the other day, but I do remember that by about 4 o’clock I thought I was going to lose my mind.
Either that, or put all the kids to bed immediately and hide in the attic. Seriously.
Instead, I piled us all into the car and made a trip to Salvation Army. It’s nice to get out of the house and the girls love to play with all the random toys while I peruse the kids clothing racks.
Except that day. They complained and whined and fussed. They wanted me to buy them weird giant toys and they wouldn’t stop antagonizing each other. Avery kept melting down about every.little.thing. and Drew squirmed in the cart the whole time.
I did score a pair of jeans for Aves, 2 winter coats for Drew (not sure whether he’ll keep growing like a weed so I grabbed a 12mo and 18mo…$3 each!) and a pair of gold high heels for Grace who is obsessed with all of my “glass slippers” and desperately needed a pair of her own.
You’d think everyone would be happy to get a little something new and get out of the store, but no. More crying. More fussing.
I pleaded with them to behave so we could get dinner at Coney (which they love) but they could not get it together. They kept fighting and they wouldn’t listen to any of my instruction as we loaded back into the van.
And I lost it.
I’m so tired of parenting alone. I’m so tired of them fighting all the time. I’m so tired of the near constant whining and arguing with me. I’m so tired of them not listening to what I’m saying to them.
So I yelled at them. I told them we weren’t going to Coney for dinner and that it was all their fault. I told them that I just wanted to have a fun Friday night, but that they ruined it.
Shameful, I know.
I shouldn’t have said anything. I should have prayed and kept my mouth shut, but every single ounce of wisdom and self-control was nowhere to be found.
They all started crying hysterically. The girls out of sadness and disappointment and Drew because the girls’ volume was freaking him out.
So I did what any wise and mature parent would do…I cranked the radio up to drown them out.
They got louder and complained about the loud music, so I turned it up louder.
I’m not proud of this. I’m ashamed that 3 small and adorable people can turn me inside out and make me lose every shred of decency.
I’m ashamed that I can’t just handle this better.
It doesn’t make any sense to me that I can normally handle the majority of the home and children responsibilities just fine, but now that Andy has been gone for nearly 2 months I feel like I can’t do it at all.
I struggle with weakness and dependence and these are both things I believe the Lord is nudging me about.
And by “nudging” I mean jabbing a hot poker into! Lol
We were nearly home from our loud and emotional car ride when I realized that ditching Coney meant I’d have to cook dinner. I couldn’t handle that idea either, so I did what any health-conscious and nutrition-passionate mother would do…I drove through McDonald’s.
Two “chicken” nugget happy meals and a salad later, we were home again and eating together around the table.
I was still overwhelmed and feeling at capacity, but somehow the intensity had died down.
Bedtime routines were swift and effective and as I tucked the girls into bed, I spent a few minutes looking into each of their beautiful eyes and apologizing. Telling them that I shouldn’t have yelled and made them feel bad. Reminding them that we all make mistakes and that’s why we so desperately need Jesus. Thanking Him, in front of them, for covering all of my yelling and anger and unkindness with his holy blood. I asked for their forgiveness and I treasured their willingness to love me despite my many faults.
Avery just smiled and sucked her finger while picking fuzz on her blanket, but I could tell she felt better. More peaceful and calm.
Grace told me that when things were going haywire in the van she, “prayed quietly in the back that Jesus would help all of us.”
With tears in my eyes I told her that’s the only thing that really helps when things get hard. That God loves us SO MUCH and loves to hear our voices asking Him to help.
She wished aloud that she could see God and I told her I wished I could too. I reminded her that He is all around her and always loving and watching over her.
She gets scared of the dark at bedtime, so I reminded her that the presence of the Lord hovered over her bed all night keeping her safe. She had a joyful smile and reached her hand up into the air above her head…”Am I touching him, mom?”
Yes sweet girl, you are.
It was a holy moment.
What the enemy intended for evil and for division between me and my children and for wounds to strike their tender hearts, God turned to good.
When we open ourselves to God’s work in our hearts, our worst darkness becomes a place of mercy and grace.
That is precisely what happened that night and I’m so incredibly thankful and humbled by His goodness.
When I am weak, He is strong.