the one about turning it around

I have started and stopped this post a dozen times by now. It has been difficult to find the words and the courage to type this all out, but I feel strongly that other mothers need to read this, so I'm going to be brave and speak from the heart. Like I do.

Now first, for a title.

The one about…the time I thought about leaving my kids home alone so I could get some space.
(too CPS-worthy?)

The one about…the day of 5 million tears.
(too dramatic?)

The one about…why I suck at life.
(too vague?)

Nevermind. I'll do the title at the end.

Most of you know, I "stay home" with my three small daughters, ages 5, 2, and 6 months. I put "stay home" in quotes because I don't know the last time I actually "stayed home" for an entire day with my children. There are always errands to run, appointments to be late for, and activities to get to. Many days, I feel like I spent the majority of my day in my van. So maybe it is more appropriate to say that I am a "stay in my van" mother.

Shit, now if that's not glamorous.

But, it is what I wanted. I desperately wanted it. I needed to be able to spend this time with my children when I was working full-time, and I am blessed to be able to do it.

To all of the mothers reading this who work a full-time job outside the home, away from your kids all day, I already know what you're thinking.

Great. A post about how she had a "tough day" with her kids. I wish I could have the luxury of a "tough day" with my kids. Good Lord, get a grip and show some gratitude that you get to spend all day with your children, even if it is in your dumb van. 

Please, before you hit the red X at the top of the screen and Google strong cocktail recipes…just hear me out.

No matter what you call your daytime occupation, we are all mothers, and we all have the capacity to love our children more than life itself…and to absolutely lose our minds at a moment's notice.

(Now, if you can't relate to that statement, go ahead and hit the red X and drink your cocktail)

So, about a week ago, it was a rainy day, which meant my children were basically crawling up the walls like monkeys in a zoo, frantically foraging the house for the next meal, and blinking their big, bored eyeballs at me as if to ask when the Disney parade would be marching through because this Play Doh ain't cuttin it, Lady.

It was the perfect storm (see what I did there?). Can't play outside on the new swing set that was to be my saving grace from indoor boredom. Too crummy to really get out and about because, well, have you tried getting 3 small children from your vehicle to a store/museum/restaurant…in the rain? ALL of our toys are just SO old and SO boring and SO already played with. Won't let them just stare at a TV all day because I'm still a contender for the Meanest Mom Ever award.

Cue the crying, tantrums, arguing, and just general chaos. Also, cue the resounding chorus, "Oh, enjoy these days! These are the best times of your life!"

Oh, the joy.

As I was standing in my living room amidst My Little Pony debris and Barbie shrapnel, my oldest screaming because she had squirted perfume in her eyeball, I contemplated leaving. There, I said it. I contemplated getting in my van and circling the block or the state and just getting some air.

Some space.

Some peace.

BUT I DIDN'T, OKAY.

I DID NOT LEAVE MY CHILDREN UNATTENDED.

I know that I would never, ever do that.

But I'm not going to lie that it sounded like a decent idea at the time.

So, I did what any grown woman would do.

I cried.

Boy, did I cry.

And then, when I thought I was done, I called my husband at work to cry some more.

I think for the first five minutes, all I did was yell one, long sentence. And when I took a breath, I sobbed hysterically.

He was silent.

But it was a comforting silence.

A familiar silence…because this wasn't my first time melting into a puddle of disaster, and it wasn't his first time cleaning it up.

He let me do my thing, and when I came up for air, he gave me the oxygen mask.

He reassured me.

He calmed me.

He loved me when I was borderline unlovable.

He gave me just what I needed so that I could end the day so much better than it began.

"You're doing a good job, Babe."

"Some days are just more difficult than others."

"No, our children don't need counseling."

"I love you."

A few (hundred thousand) deep breaths later, and I was able to look my children in the (bored) eyeballs and restart the day. I took it easy on myself and put in a movie (or 2 or 7).

And by taking it easy on myself, I took it easy on them, too.

Not every (or any) day is going to look like a Pin-worthy picture. I've got to remember that.

When he got home that night, we talked about the events of the day, and I blubbered through my tears, "I bet I am the only mom who ever felt like running away."

He smiled and said, "I bet millions of moms feel like running away sometimes."

And that's when I started to write this post…because there might be another Mama somewhere, drowning in dirty diapers and perfume-inflicted eye injuries, feeling on the brink of insanity, and the last thing you need to feel is alone.

It doesn't mean you don't love your children. In fact, I feel it means quite the opposite.

You love them so much that you want only the best, only the most awesome, only the most wonderful days and memories and Mama for them, and when the reality doesn't meet the expectation, you feel like you failed.

You didn't fail.

Even if you got in your van and thought about driving to Hawaii, you still didn't fail.
(You may have failed geography class, but…)

You need to hear what I needed to hear.

You're doing a good job.

Some days are just more difficult than others.

No, your children (probably) don't need counseling.

The van.

The day.

You just need to turn it around.





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