A Note to the Other Mamas, with Ordinary Problems --
I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty draining out here, right now.
Last night I crashed after I put one of my three children to bed. He wasn’t even asleep yet, just tucked in for the night, when I walked straight to my own room and ducked for cover.
This was not a plan so much as a reaction to my sudden, immediate, pressing level of tired. What did I do to be so tired at 8:30 pm? Just life. I did life, for one more day.
Ordinary life is requiring all our energy in these shelter-at-home days, isn’t it?
I think it’s because every small thing is a little bit harder, now, and we’re still doing so very many, small things.
I know you barely have time to read this, so I shouldn’t work up to full tirade about the many things
we’re holding together and why, from our brains to every bodily cell, it’s just HARD. But if you have a few minutes for one small, shared rant? It’s not helpful when friends remind us we should be grateful, that we now have time to enjoy our homes and children, that we can finally SLOW DOWN from the pace we’ve been living.
Especially, it’s not helpful when our Christian friends speak these words, with the added, unspoken weight of some spiritual work at which we might be failing. Because we know all those true things… about our generally fortunate state, about the pace we were keeping, which was never all that humane. We are the people who KNOW THINGS, deeply. And, I find, we’re the ones ready to throw out what wasn’t working. But, in the meantime, as we find our way, we need no unintended guilt or shame when we can’t "carpe every diem".
In fact, I believe guilt and shame are on a short list of things God would have us give up, now, and give up for good.
I do love my home. I love my people. I love the possibilities that stretch before us, every day we aren’t bound by the school or work schedules that used to hem us in. I also struggle with the possibilities EVERY. STINKIN. DAY. Because, without the scaffolding around which so many of us have built our middle class lives, it’s all just one big ball of things to direct and monitor and influence and create and plan and keep up with. All the time. All while -- if we’re very fortunate -- our work responsibilities haven’t gone away.
Juggling it all, we moms are usually the people who SEE and KNOW, first. When the house slides from “comfortably lived in” to full on “slovenly mess.” When the children’s attitudes creep from “managing OK” to “five minutes from break down.” When everyone in a household edges to the place they need to scream or cry or let out some emotion, we know. And yet, so often, we tuck ours in and soldier on.
So, let my voice be but one reminder of something else you know, deep down. You, beloved child who also mothers, are not meant to push yourself past all the edges. You do not have to hold all your children together. You are not responsible for ALL. THE. WEIGHT. OF. IT. And, you -- just yourself, not your performance or your coping skills -- matter so much to your God.