I’m sitting on my sofa and the house is quiet. Maybe for the first time this week. I can hear the heat coming through the vent and the flame whooshing in the fireplace.
The house isn’t moving and churning and hopping and roaring.
The peace is so welcome that it almost makes me cry. But I’m too tired for tears.
I’m utterly worn down. Like tires that don’t pass inspection. Like batteries to a favorite toy or a marathon runner before the finish line is in sight.
I am a few feet from collapse and yet somehow I’m still moving forward.
Henry’s been really sick this week and not sleeping. Which means I’m not sleeping. Abby and Jackson have yelled at each other from breakfast to bedtime. Then there was Thanksgiving. Anyone who has gone through a divorce knows the first of everything is just plain hard. Let alone when the baby has a fever and doesn’t want to eat, drink or sleep.
It’s just me in the middle of the night, at the breakfast table, tucking them in at bedtime. Washing sheets and wiping noses and giving medicine that comes back out. Rocking and patting and soothing nightmares, signing homework sheets, throwing grounders.
Even with all I’ve sacrificed this week alone, this morning, still and quiet…I feel inadequate. Not up for the task. The still, quiet voice tells me all I’ve done…well, it’s not good enough. I’m not good enough. And the guilt overwhelms.
I feel guilty that I’m missing church. Guilty that I’m resting on the sofa instead of doing laundry. Guilty that I can’t afford all the things the kids want for Christmas. Guilty that I’m 33 and had to recruit my parents to help me take care of the kids this weekend. Guilty that I really want to be done with breastfeeding but Henry’s not ready. Guilty that I want to be anywhere else but here. Guilty that the kids ate fast food for dinner last night and donuts for breakfast.
Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Being a mother has created this awful monster called “Perfection” and the only person that puts him under my bed or hides him in my closet is me.
To the mom who needs permission to miss church…or school…to take a personal day at work or skip a basketball game or dance practice…you have my permission. Miss it and claim your time back. The only person holding you to this busy, hectic schedule is you. Blow off a day and enjoy how that feels.
To the mom who needs rest…you have my permission. R E S T. Lay down. Send them all for quiet time in their rooms and quiet your mind. Pull the covers over your head and dream. Soak in the peace and lie down in the green pasture.
To the mom who didn’t do the laundry…you have my permission to not care. One bit! Send it through again. Bounce it with another dryer sheet tomorrow. Don’t feel a bit of remorse that it didn’t get done because IT WILL STILL BE THERE TOMORROW.
To the mom who doesn’t have the money…you have my permission to be a little sad about that. But then move on. Get creative. Find a way. You’ve got this and you’re going to make it on the other side.
To the mom who hates asking for help…you have my permission to forgive yourself for only having two arms and 24 hours in a day. Since God makes NO mistakes, lean on those around you. Acord of three strands is not easily broken. Your one cord is too flimsy for what God wants to do with your life. Wrap around few more and hold tight.
To the mom who wants to stop breastfeeding…remember: breastfeeding is itself a relationship that goes both ways. Being guilty only stands in your way of being happy. Your child will be perfectly fine.
To the mom who feels guilty (for fast food or TV or electronics or all those terrible things we read about in studies and on Facebok posts)…you have my permission to put your fingers in your ears and La La La your way through parenting. Only good parents worry they’re not doing something right. You worried? You’re good.
To the mom who feels overwhelmed…feel this in my words…you ARE NOT alone. You actually may be all alone in the middle of the night but a few houses over so is someone else. We are alone, TOGETHER. You knock those poisonous thoughts right out of your head and I’ll knock them out of mine.
We’ll shine the light on the monster and tell him we don’t believe in him anymore.
You don’t need anyone’s permission but your own.
You’ve got this. I’ve got this.