There are days I feel so overwhelmingly underqualified for my life as mom, wife, teacher, and human being that I think we would all benefit from me crawling into bed and staying put for a few decades. I am selfish and sarcastic, difficult and disorganized, sleepy and stressed, overwhelmed and ornery. Some of this is circumstantial and some of it is my natural, "glowing" personality.
Some days my natural tendencies lie dormant and I handle the ins and outs of life just fine. In fact, I'd say that about most days. Then there are days, take, for instance, yesterday, where I am fighting me the entire day. I am not the mom I know I can and should be. I annoy and aggravate even myself so I can't imagine what it must be like to be kids listening to this crazy woman. Sounds fun, huh? Makes you want to move right in, doesn't it?
I'm not saying I'm a terrible human. I'm just saying I'm human. I look in the mirror and see my faults and forget my gifts. I listen to the voices that remind me of all of the ways I can't instead of focusing on all the ways I can. Maybe this sounds familiar? Maybe you deal with this, too?
So, what's a human to do? That's kind of a rhetorical question, but I'd really love to know what you do. Here's what I do. Or at least I try to do, when I can talk sense to myself.
I surround myself with people who see the best in me, forgive the worst in me, and help me to be a better me. Right now many of those people are many states away, but the internet is great for keeping us as connected as we can be so we can lift each other up and talk sense to each other, too. I'm hopeful I'll add to my little group of people here in CO as we get more connected.
I tell myself that I am where I am in this world and this life for a reason. God is with me here with these kids and this husband in these circumstances for a reason. I don't have to do it alone. Cripes, I can't do it alone. So, I wake up each morning with a fresh prayer on my lips and I pause when I want to be sarcastic and say another prayer and I go to the bathroom and pray again and then when the house is quiet and everyone is sleeping, I pray again. Thanks for another day, help for the challenges to come, pleas that I would be the mother they need and meet them right where they are. Prayers that the ugly pieces of me that I mentioned above would die and peace and grace and love would replace them.
I say stuff like this over and over again. "Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace." "Do small things with great love. Small things with great love." "Choose love. Choose love. Choose love. Choose love." Here's a new one I was reminded of while reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio with my 11-year-old. "When given the choice between being right and being kind, be kind." (p.s. Go read this book.)
It's true, that thing everyone says. To be better for the people close to you, you have to take care of you. You also need some time away from them. No one benefits from having a martyr mama in the house. Now finding time away from the kids is kind of tough with homeschooling, especially if Jim is traveling. What's my go-to me time? I run. If I have 30 minutes to do anything that doesn't involve family, I put shoes on and run. I come back breathing heavy, quite stinky, and gloriously happy. My mind is clear and life seems so much more manageable.
If I can't go for a run, I can load up the kids and go hiking. Or skiing. Or playing ball in the yard. Something about being outside, breathing in nature, looking at its beauty, and being far away from the beeps and dings of computers makes life so much better. It reminds me I'm a little part of something big. That this world is vast and beautiful and has so much to offer and that I have a part to play in all of that wonder. What a beautiful reminder.
I'm not saying these are fool proof. If they were I wouldn't have to lock myself in the bathroom to pray. I wouldn't need to repeat my personal mantras so very often. What I'm saying is that they get me through the hard days. Because on the other end of hard days, beautiful stuff happens.
Sometimes I wish I didn't have to have the hard stuff to appreciate the beauty, but the hard stuff does make life shine more brightly. The hard stuff does make me call on the people around me and my God to pick up where I leave off. Because there will always be places where I leave off. I will always need help. And I'm pretty bad at remembering that. So, here's to tough reminders and the beauty that follows, like a glorious rainbow after a spring storm.
How do you get through the hard days? Any tips?