I’ve been quiet. The more I tell myself to blog, the less I do. The more time I carve out for it, the less I feel like I have. And the more I want to say, the less I feel like I can. It hurts to write about something when you’re in it. It hurts to talk about it when you’re walking through it. It hurts to acknowledge it when you’re trying not to. There is a lot about this season of my life I hope to someday share. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to until we’re in a different part of it. Right now it’s just too raw, too real, too personal, too intimate…I just can’t let you in yet. And I’m sorry for that. Because I do believe my story will help somebody. I do believe there are more of me out there…but I’m sorry I can’t be the one to raise my hand and say “I’m here too! Come talk with me!”…because the truth is I have nothing to give you. Not time, not energy, not love, not phone calls, texts, emails, encouragement or any sort of ‘keep going’ speech. I’m too busy….just getting up every day. Literally, just putting my two feet on the floor. Pouring into my babies. Showing up to my job. Coming home. And trying again the next day. That’s all I’ve got. That’s all I can do. So just know if you’re in that, you aren’t alone. There are others. We’re just trying to get through it too.
I feel like that’s the incredible thing about mother’s. About parents. I’m sure if you ask your own you’ll hear stories you never dreamed of, times when they didn’t think they would make it. Didn’t think they would survive. But they did.
It’s a hard job. Parenting. Everyone says it is, but then when you start it yourself you’re still kind of blindsided by the difficulty. How much of yourself and your own needs have to die. How much you and your spouse have to change so that you can give all you’ve got to these tiny people you prayed for.
And we are our greatest critics. And I kind of am talking to the mamas out there. Because it really is geared towards us isn’t it moms? My husband comes in all the time to the restaurant I work at with my kids. They’re dirty with this mornings breakfast still on their face. My three year old has her never cut hair flowing in the breeze tangled in 23 knots and half put up like a strong wind put in the hair tie. My nine month old usually in the mornings pajamas still, no headband in sight so everyone mistakes her for a boy. And yes, still her last meal on her face. And yet, everyone who watches my husband struggle dearly to corral them into a booth to eat…simply looks on with admiration at what a wonderful dad he must be. How simply marvelous it is that this man is taking his two daughters out for a meal. How special it is that he managed to leave the house with TWO small humans and they all arrived safely here…..come on ladies am I right?
Meanwhile I wait on them, I cut their food, wash their face, keep them busy, fill their drinks, clean up the floor, hug and kiss them both, assure them I wish I was home, get them different foods because that’s not what they wanted, encourage them to help me while working because that’s good example, tell them to sit and be quiet when a customer my not find that at all amusing, pack up the leftovers, take them to the bathroom for a clean up, manage a tantrum, continue waiting on all of my other customers, put the baby in the car seat, run after my husband with whatever he forgot at the table, assure my girl I’ll try and be home for bed time, get her a sucker of the flavor she wants and get them back out the door….and what’s the consensus there??? You know it ladies…you’ve felt it yourself or god forbid you’ve dealt it….”oh she should be home with her kids”….”oh she’s not a very good waitress, over there playing with her own children”…”oh that poor husband”….you know what I’m talking about. The double standard is real. And we all need to check ourselves.
We are not doing any of us any favors. We’ve come a long way, but we still have oh so far to go. We need to give grace. We need to see each other. We need to welcome each other. When I walk up to school pick up with my apron on….sometimes I feel it. I feel the looks. The thoughts. We need to open our circle. Ask how our days going. Offer to be a part the carpool. We need to keep extending the hands. Because we’re all going through it in our own way…right mamas?
You know, this year hasn’t been so good to me. There’s a lot I will unpack someday but I have felt an enormous weight of failure through the summer and into this winter. Having Evy and knowing all she needs, making sure she’s stimulated enough and worked with enough…then having Ricklan just demand all of my attention. Needing so much in all of her new adventures with a new school and all her growing…and just knowing that I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t sleeping enough, eating well, reading my bible enough, spending enough time with friends, calling family members, my husband and I have never fought more, our money troubles have never been greater…and certainly not doing my job to my best ability which is something I really, truly pride myself on. It wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.
And just when I was at one of my lowest points, my phone made a little slideshow for me of the year. And sometimes, these phones just get us right? It was everything. Everything that I forgot. Everything that was a blur in my brain because that day I was just getting by. Just doing what had to be done. It was going to Florida while pretty pregnant to have our first family vacation. It was having Everly. It was her fight. Her life. It was Darien Lake, play dates in the back yard, the zoo with cousins, the lake with family, tubing for the first time with my girl, painting the back deck, field trips, a new school, day trips, doctor appointments…..it was everything. It was so many smiles. So much love and laughter. I watched it about 13 times and just kept crying. Because even though this season has been the hardest one I’ve ever lived through…..my girl doesn’t even know. Neither of them know. They both have been living their best, most incredible life. Ricklan doesn’t know her mom needs a few more naps then normal. Evy doesn’t know the weight of what the doctors may say. They don’t know. And isn’t that just perfect?
The way we work mamas. They way we work is to make sure no one knows what we sacrificed. The way we work is to make sure everyone at the table believes we truly hate chocolate cake when there is only one piece left. The way we work is to make sure our kids live their best life and don’t know the meaning of financial burden for years. To make sure our girls have no idea what body shaming is. To make sure we fight with our husbands behind closed doors, after bedtime. To cry in showers, take deep breaths before we walk into rooms, hide evidence of medical bills and eviction notices. The way we work…is to shield our children from all of the ugly that we see. In the hopes that they can walk an easier path. So can we all just acknowledge that? And maybe the next time you hesitate to open your circle, or reach out with a text, or extend an invite…maybe you can remember…that’s it’s truly the way we ALL work. And we’re all just doing our absolute best.