Today was just one of those hard days as a mom. Your hard days might look different than mine, but I’m guessing the feeling may be similar. Fatigue. Brain Fog. Anxiety. Rushing. Urges to complain about everything or run away from everyone.
The circumstances to my hard day involved (1) a full moon (2) navigating phone calls to our new insurance company (3) to the background of a crying baby as (4) my toddler complains of tooth pain on a (5) Friday before a long weekend where offices will be closing soon and (6) oh, all the kids still need to eat breakfast and get cleaned up before we race out the door at 9 am because (7) I just scored an emergency appointment with a pediatric dentist (8) 55 minutes away which means (9) the baby will have to skip his nap and oh by the way (10) I’m personally petrified of dentist visits.
I’ll skip the part where we spent the next hour on the road, followed by the next 3 in the office with hungry, bored kids and a cranky baby as the dentist tells me of all the work poor Judah needs and the corresponding price tag.
On the drive home I felt the panic/frustration/guilt/exhaustion setting in. And I remembered the tactic a dear friend uses when facing something hard and the added temptation to be hard on herself. She puts her hand on her chest and says out loud, “Oh little honey , this is hard for you.”
Nurturing. Mothering. Acknowledging that this is HARD. All of it. The parenting. The care. The diapers. The grocery shopping. The schooling. The laundry. The activities. The medical appointments that seem to require a medical degree to understand. All of it.
So I took one hand off the steering wheel, placed it on my chest, and said out loud, “Oh little honey, this is hard.” And then I asked God to care for me like a good parent. Right about then I received a phone call from another dear friend. And though she’s not a mom yet, she totally lifted my spirits and I began to emerge from the fog. Then we passed a Chipotle and my famished oldest son reminded me that we had coupons for free burritos. So we banged a hard right and skidded into a parking spot. After all, we needed a break. A little nurture. This day has been hard for all of us and a lunch out on the town would be just the treat we needed.
If you’ve never been to Chipotle (seriously, is there such a person??) you order your food cafeteria style. It can be a little hectic. Then insert 5 hungry opinionated kids and a stroller. But in comparison to the other aspects of parenting, this didn’t rattle me. After all, someone ELSE would be cooking for my kids and cleaning the mess.
I noticed a few big, burley stereotypical looking construction workers in line behind me, but my attention was mostly focused on who wants black beans or pinto, brown rice or white, peppers or guac, and why in the world am I giving them this many options??
That’s when one of the gentlemen tapped me on the shoulder and said with deep kindness and conviction, “Excuse me, Miss, what you’re doing there is hard. That is hard work. I think we’ll go back to our construction site!”
I wanted to cry and hug him and put him on our Christmas card list all at once. The irony of the whole thing. The intimidating construction worker speaking such nurturing words to me. Acknowledging that what I am doing is hard. And the ultimate irony being that what he was witnessing was my break! My treat!
Moms, this is hard work. HARD. And today I’m thankful for:
-a good doctor who offered both medical advice and off-the-record-mom advice
-a reliable vehicle
-a husband who trusts my medical decisions concerning our kids. Not sure I’d do the same so supportively were roles reversed.
-a phone call from a cheery friend
-the reminder from another wise friend to nurture ourselves instead of beat ourselves up
-Chipotle and the woman who gave us coupons for burritos
-the kind words of a construction worker
-the woman who offered to carry our pile of food to a table
-the off-duty police officer who chatted happily with my boys while they ate
-the older gentleman who stopped to say he raised 6 sons and offer encouragement
-the woman who took our Chipotle selfie
-the courage and inspiration within our community (virtual or geographical) of moms
-the strength God gives to sustain us
-the hope that we are raising children who will flood this world with love and kindness and wisdom and courage
Thank you for being a part of my journey. For the phone calls, the emails, the cards, the prayers. Every. Single. One throughout these past 9 years has strengthened me to continue in this hard work of momming. May God bless our efforts.