I am that mom.
I am the one who emailed the teacher to verify the start time of the event at school…and still showed up thirty minutes late.
I am that mom — the one who didn’t RSVP to the classmate’s birthday party until the morning it was scheduled to happen.
I am the mom who went to register my child for the enrichment class two days after the deadline because I didn’t take time to read the informational letter. I’m also the one who apologized my way in.
I’m that mom, the one who got the phone call from the kindergarten teacher asking if I’d be there soon. It was Mom’s Day, and my daughter was waiting for me. I walked in and all the moms were sitting on the floor, each one with a child next to them or on a lap. All except for my daughter who sat at the foot of the teacher while she read a book to the class. My daughter. Alone.
I’m the mom whose kid had toothpaste down the front of his shirt, the one whose kid wore boots at school all day long because he forgot shoes and I didn’t think to check his backpack. When he got home, his socks were soggy.
I’m that mom — the one who thought she had enough time to get milk and bread from Target. I was still a few minutes from home when I watched my child’s bus come towards me on the road. Again, my daughter. Again, alone.
I’m the mom who had to air out the house because the stove burner was left on for hours. The flame had gone out, but the knob was still set on simmer, natural gas seeping into the kitchen, out to the dining room and down the hallway.
This all happened last week.
I’m that mom, and I know it.
Have you seen me? You know you have. You know there’s someone like me, someone who is that mom to you.
That one mom who always seems to come charging in late, disheveled, discombobulated.
The one who makes you feel think, ‘Well, I may not have it all together, but at least I’m not like her.’
Do you know how much it sucks to be that mom?
A lot. It sucks a lot.
Contrary to how it might appear, I’m not a total flake. I’m not checked out, I’m not “smoking too much weed”, I’m not a train wreck, not a disaster. And I’m not a bad mom.
I’m just in a rough patch.
I have enough personal family gunk going on that I have to prioritize what can receive my attention. Some things have to go.
Having never been a detail-lover, I now find they are the first things to escape me. They are de-prioritized without me even trying. And those are just the details I know I forgot — how many have passed me by without me even feeling the breeze they made? I’ll probably find out later that I only knew the half of how badly I was screwing up.
In the midst of this, I am trying to take care of myself as well, trying to make good choices and gauge what ways I can be kind to myself each day. I’m exercising, I’m brushing my teeth, I’m even laughing sometimes. Maybe I’m laughing too loudly, maybe it sounds a tiny bit hysterical, but it still counts.
I don’t need help feeling guilty about how I’m falling short of where I want to be. I can administer enough guilt on my own.
I have to extend grace to myself, the grace I would want to show someone else, but it’s hard. It’s hard to be nice to myself, because I see the ways I can’t do it all, the way I want to manage it alone but can’t. I know what I can usually take care of, and I see all the ways I can’t do it now.
I feel weak, and I hate feeling weak.
I feel looked down on, but as far as I know, the only one looking down on me is ME.
Today I’m trying to give myself enough space to move around my life without knocking things over.
I’m going to give myself extra time to get done the things that usually take me less time but now seem to require more effort.
I’ll feed myself well.
I’ll let myself make mistakes and I’ll see them as mistakes, not as failings.
I’ll ask for help.
I’ll be to myself the person I’d want to be for someone else.
I’ll try to look for glory, for as my friend Kelly wrote, “Glory is most at home in the common, if you have eyes to see.” (You can read her post here: http://bit.ly/1j6DhxJ )
When I come out of this rough patch, as I know I will eventually, I will work to remember what it was like to be that mom. And when I see her, the one for whom the burden of everyday seems almost to much to handle, I’ll pray that she can be gentle and patient with herself, that she’ll see how she can be good to herself in the midst of struggle. And if I can, I will let her know that she’s not the only one.
Eventually, there comes a time when we all are that mom.
Today’s post is my typical attempt to participate in Five Minute Friday, a link up through Lisa-jo Baker. It is open to anyone,.She is a beautiful writer, and she’s creating a group of friends through the connections made on her site. Check it out at http://lisa-jobaker.com or search the hashtag #FiveMinuteFridays on Twitter.
There were two arborvitae, one on either side of the wide front steps that led to the front porch.
They barely touched the ceiling of the porch when we moved in.
When we moved away they were framed in the view from the upstairs windows.
The only thing that had grown more were my children.
Some days the minutes go by so slowly you check the clock, convinced it’s been at least a half hour only to discover it’s been two. Two long minutes playing blocks with someone who only wants to knock over your building,
Someone who only wants to undo the work you’ve done, eat one more snack, mess one more diaper.
And when you don’t notice it, when you’re not looking, the trees grow tall and strong. Your children develop friends, hobbies and interests, and calendars are needed to keep track of assignments and schedules.
Is it possible to note the growth of the trees without getting lost in the incremental close up?
It is good to take a wide shot every once in a while and note the way the child’s pants are too short or how far up their heads come when you hug them.
Then get back to cleaning up messes and driving kids here and there. While you’re at it, make more sandwiches, ’cause Lord knows they’re going to eat ’em.
Are you in a slow-growth period or is time zooming by for you? How do you make sure you’re paying attention in the every day so that years don’t go speeding by unrecognized?
(If you have a second and would consider liking my Facebook page, that would be above and beyond lovely. http://www.facebook.com/TCLarsonWrites or just click the Facebook doohickey on the sidebar. )
“I’m not wearing them.”
My son had no other clean shorts.
The only other clothes for his lower half were a pair of jeans.
It was forecasted to be 80 degrees.
He runs hot.
Jeans were not an option.
“What is wrong with them? You liked them when we bought them, they look nice on you, so what’s the problem?” I demanded.
“They’re too fancy. They’re church shorts,” he answered.
This coming from the kid who never has to dress up for church. He associates anything other than basketball shorts with “dressing up”. If only he knew what real “dressing up” was, he would not complain.
This is also coming from the kid who usually just grabs whatever from the drawer and throws it on without much thought.
The other two kids had their teeth brushed and backpacks loaded.
Princess Teacup needed to put on her socks and get her hair pulled up.
Bobo was already out the door, waiting for the bus.
The bus was due to come in three minutes.
‘I am willing to go down with this ship,’ I thought.
I had already explained how the shorts he pulled out of the dirty clothes hamper were in there because they were d.i.r.t.y. And if they’d been put in the hamper while they were NOT dirty, then that was too bad ’cause they’d been smushed up against dirty stuff and were now dirty by association. The blue khaki shorts were his only option, but Rex had decided they were a non-contender.
He was now in his bed, refusing to get dressed.
The bus came at 8:18 on the dot. Now it is this time:
Rather than being on my child who is now on the bus, this is where I find important items:
I Am Willing to Die on This Hill
For clarification purposes I should probably let you know that about a week ago I warned my boys that if they didn’t clean up their room by a specific time I would clean it, and all the stuff I cleaned up would go away for a while. I wouldn’t throw it out or donate it, but it would just “go away” for an irritating amount of time.
They cleaned up what their eyes saw, and later on I cleaned up everything that my eyes saw.
Let’s just say there was a lot of stuff in my bag.
Amongst all the toys, there were many articles of clothing in my bag, probably some of the shorts that Rex was now missing.
There are a couple things I would like to get on the record.
- I am not an unreasonable person , not a control freak in any way.
- I do not have rigorous standards with my children.
- It is reasonable for kids to put dirty clothes in the hamper rather than on the floor.
Thanks, I feel better now that you know.
Since I am the person who does the laundry, I don’t appreciate washing clean clothes just because the hamper was the location that required less effort than folding a still-clean shirt and putting it back in the drawer. Am I crazy? Do all the other moms wash clothes even thought they aren’t dirty? Do I have an unfair expectation here?
I say thee Nay!
People of the cloth and soap, we must rise up against the forces that would demand we wash perfectly clean clothes! Think of the wasted time, electricity, water and detergent!
After a brief cooling-off period, I returned to his room and told Rex I had come up with a compromise. If he would just put on the shorts, I would tell him what it was. He put them on, and I started to tell him the compromise, but once he had them on, he immediately realized that they are comfortable shorts.
He has friends who wear similar shorts.
He can still move in the shorts.
He likes the shorts.
I could just pinch him.
The crisis now averted, we loaded up the car and I backed out of the driveway.
He stretched out his ever-growing legs, propped them up on the armrests which are usually protected by his siblings and said,
“Ah, now I can lay out and relax. Maybe I should do this every day.”
The look I gave him in the rearview mirror made him grin and say, “But I won’t.”
Do you have battles with anyone in your family? How do you decide which things to let go? Do you have any tricks to help kids (or adults) keep their rooms clean?
“I don’t know what to do,” she said.
She’d only been home five minutes before the inner tension was too much and she had to talk to Mom about it.
“What do you want to do?” Mom asked.
“Everything,” she answered. “I want to leave, I want to stay, I want to scream, cry, break stuff and roll into a ball.”
“Which of those sound best right now?”
“Break stuff,” she grinned through her tears. “I won’t though. I have too much self-restraint.”
“Yes, that’s what you’re known for, self-restraint,” Mom said.
“Actually, the only thing that sounds good right now is something to eat. Do you have anything?”
Mom scoffed. “Do I have anything? Baby, sit down. I’ll take care of you.”
She pulled out a stool and sat while Mom rummaged through the fridge, proclaiming all her finds as she pulled them out.
She felt her eyes well up with tears, and she tried to sniff them back.
“Mom,” she began.
Mom kept her head in the fridge but said, “Hmm?”
“How can I feel strong and weak, confident and scared, bitter and generous all at the same time? I think I might be losing it.”
Mom emerged with a container of Cool-Whip in one hand and a container of strawberries in the other.
“No honey, you’re just being you. We’re all that way.”
This is my attempt at a fiction version of Five Minute Friday, though I definitely didn’t get many words down in that amount of time. *sigh* That’s okay. For those who don’t know, Five Minute Friday is a linkup with Lisa-jo Baker and it is lots of fun. Check out all the details on her site: http://lisa-jobaker.com I’d love to find your contribution (if you’re here with FMF), so please leave a link in the comment section below! And as always, thank you sincerely for visiting today.
Timer set for five minutes. Ready. Set. GO.
I lost my crockpot.
Don’t ask me how.
If I could retrace my steps and figure out how I lost it, I’d be able to find it.
And I can’t.
It’s not like a chapstick or a pencil. You don’t have another one laying around in the bottom of a drawer someplace. It’s definitely not a huge deal, but when you’ve started using one, you find it is a nice option to have.
So when I took my son to his friend’s house, I told the funny story of not being able to find it. “Who loses a crockpot?!” I joked.
The mom said, “Do you want one of mine?”
She told me she had an extra one she never uses, an inexpensive one she picked up somewhere along the way, one she didn’t need.
My pride department wanted to keep me from taking it. But my time management department told me I could really use it. And she was being generous, offering me a gift. She wouldn’t offer if she didn’t want to.
So I took the crockpot, almost accidentally broke it on the way out the door. and now my family can have shredded pork tacos again. But the takeaway is that I almost missed out on the chance to be part of this new friend’s story of generosity. My pride almost kept me from allowing her to help me. And how often, especially as moms, do we choose to tough it out because we don’t want to admit we need help?
Like most Fridays, this post is part of a linkup with Lisa-jo Baker’s Five Minute Fridays. You write for five minutes flat, then linkup your post on her website: http://lisajobaker.com . Check it out for more details, but if you’re interested in finding other writers to connect with, Five Minute Fridays is a great way to do so.
Can I ask you to consider subscribing to this blog? You can click the little link on the bar over there —-> and any new posts will be delivered to your inbox. No pressure, but it would be a sure way to keep up on all the action (snort chuckle). Thanks for coming by today, and I hope you have a great weekend!
She’s just so small.
Her hands still have their toddler pudge.
She says “grateful” when she means “great” but I think the two belong together so I never correct her.
She is quick to share, first to offer encouragement, she’s her brothers’ biggest fan.
She tries to do cartwheels and only gets partially upside-down, as if she’s mostly flinging her legs sideways over a puddle, but when she stands afterwards, she glows with pride.
She comes out of her room wearing her pink stripped slippers and filmy robe with the elastic that’s too tight around her forearms where the sleeves land since she’s outgrowing it but can’t let it go.
Can’t let it go.
How can I let her go, even for those few hours every.single.day. ?
She’s my sidekick.
She’s too small to be so big.
But she’s ready. I know this. I’ve seen her. But letting her go feels like feeding her to the bears,
bears of cliques,
bears of rejection,
bears of politics in friendships,
and there are far worse bears in those woods that I don’t dare speak aloud.
I don’t send her alone, and I know this. Jesus walks alongside her. She knows this too.
But when that bus pulls away from our house on her first day of school, you’d better believe I’ll peal out of our driveway in the minivan, close on her heels, waving to her like a fool.
Before I forget, yesterdays post contained my first giveaway so if you want to win a beautiful scarf from Trades of Hope, be sure to check that out. Today’s post is part of a linkup with Lisa-jo Baker (http://lisajobaker.com ) and is open to anybody who wants to participate. Five Minute Fridays are a lot of fun, so if writing and finding other good blogs is your thing, be sure to look her up.
As always, thanks so much for taking the time to come by today. I know there are a lot of other things vying for your time, and I appreciate you!