Today I met some friends in town for coffee and shopping. I ended up bear hugging my four-year-old on a bench as she screamed and kicked in a level ninety-nine tantrum. A shop owner came out of a pottery store with wide eyes, but her face softened when she saw me.
I’m so sorry I mouthed.
“You are totally fine!” She smiled encouragingly. A minute later a woman and her older daughter walked by and said, “You’ve got this mama! You’re doing a great job!”
I continued on as a human straight jacket.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes the negative self talk sneaks up on me. It hits my subconscious before my conscious thoughts. It might start with a sigh when I button my pantts I need to eat less, I need to workout more. It might be when I look at the floor covered in dust bunnies and sandwich crumbs, my house is always disgusting, what is my problem?
It doesn’t matter where it starts, but it always has a common thread. The message is:
Do more. Be more.
You aren’t okay just how you are. Other people are okay how they are, but you’re not.
The last week has been like that for me. The stress below the surface has been building like a pent up hurricane. I don’t like to dwell on it, so I push it down, but sometimes I need to stop and address it. I don’t know where it comes from, or why it is, but it sneaks up and distracts me from everything that is actually important.
My ears are tired. Everyone is just always talking, all the time. Do not tell my kids that I said this, but sometimes when they are telling me a story that is never-ending I think about what color I would like to paint the walls and if I should get more throw pillows. I feel terrible about this, but it is the truth.
Sometimes I peek in your door and watch you sleeping. I wonder how I could ever get mad or frustrated at you. Your soft face is squished against your pillow and your favorite stuffed animal is buried under your chin.
Today I was irritated that you left your notebooks and crayons all over the floor.
I was annoyed that I could hear you bickering in the other room.
I was bothered that I asked you to clean up five times before you did.
All of those things are silly and unimportant now, as I pause.
Those things have little to do with you and everything to do with me.
You are my favorite.
Welcome my friend, you’ve got this. It doesn’t seem like it now, but you will grow into motherhood just as gradually and quickly as the brand new baby you’re holding in your arms. It will become you, it already has. You just went through the most mind blowing, godawful, gorgeous, magical, frightening event of your life. No one prepared you. They kind of tried, but they forgot to use the words “blow torch” and “freight train” and “concrete drill” to describe what you might feel when your little one was born earth side.
We are a family who loves each other. We love each other in a messy, beautiful, broken, and together way. Sometimes that means making messes in the kitchen with spaghetti sauce finger prints on the glasses and stains on the tablecloth. Sometimes it means trying to scrape together tiny remnants of sanity for bedtime routines. Sometimes it means kissing a dirty forehead as I tuck them in at night and thinking it’s okay, they’ll take a bath tomorrow.
In our family we fight. We argue about things. We say we’re sorry. We overreact and then we apologize. We take a minute in the other room to pull ourselves together. Some of us are more full of passion than others, and I take full ownership of my title as Queen.
I had grand plans of the things I would teach my kids. I would teach them confidence, kindness, and a love for great books. I am still working on that, but in the meantime I’ve taught them some other gems…
Yesterday on our way to church my oldest son realized he’d forgotten something at home and hollered out a perfectly timed swear word. My husband and I looked at each other. I didn’t know whether to be stern, or a little proud.