Mama Said There’ll Be Days Like This

Mama Said

Well, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve got corned beef but no cabbage. I’ve got a plan for our school day but no motivation. I’ve got a rare day of sunshine but no energy to enjoy it. After several weeks of sharing some tips on rhythm–things that really, truly have actually helped me on so many, many days–I think it’s time to get a little real.

I can’t do it all. I don’t do it all. Not every day, not all of it. Some days, not even a little bit.

I’ve gotten emails from some of you, and I’ve laughed out loud at real life friends who’ve bought the illusion that my Instagram feed is the whole story, who’ve confessed they can’t keep up.

Girl, there is no keeping up with me. There’s nothing to keep up with. (Unless you’re timing against a turtle. I could probably…possibly still outstrip a turtle.) I have four kids, ages 8 and under, and I’m 8 months pregnant. I homeschool two of them. Life in my house is a constant balancing act–and it just gets harder when we leave the house!

I don’t “do daily chores” so much as wage daily battle against the forces of entropy. Today alone, I’ve cleaned mud off the stairs not once, not twice, but three times. (Before noon.) I have cleaned rice off the walls and scrubbed pee from the kitchen floor. Not to mention the fuzzy boots my three-year-old was using to splash in the pee puddle before I could reach it. Those are now drying on the porch.

I made a vain attempt at grocery shopping to obtain the aforementioned cabbage. The truth is, we never reached the front door.

It took me almost 45 minutes just to copy out my list because of all the interruptions that a particularly chaotic morning with four littles can bring, and then the pee happened. I screamed. Yes, I did. I actually shouted at my still potty-training three-year-old about her accident, and then I tossed all four kids into their bedrooms and told them they could pick up until I came again to get them. I slammed a door. I collapsed on the sofa and started furiously texting my husband. Delirious with frustration, there was only one thought that kept surfacing in the swirling cacophony of rage inside my brain:

I am the worst mother on earth.

Yes, the voice continued. The. Worst. Ever. In fact, it is completely insane that I have four children. The fact that I have another one on the way? Utter lunacy. Clearly God is as nuts as I am, because who in their right mind would ever, ever, ever give me small people to raise? Even one small person? I’m a mess. I’m a terrible role model. I’m a failure. I should have never become a mother. I should have gotten a cat.

These are the thoughts that leaked out with my tears as I typed them frantically into words my poor husband saw pop up on his screen at work. I whined like I have never heard my children whine at me: about pregnancy discomfort and homeschool incompetence and being sick with piggy-back colds for three months straight and the never-ending mess that I just can’t seem to get on top of.

I tore myself to shreds. I was nastier than the meanest bully. I hated the way I looked, the way I felt, the way I acted, the way I spoke, the way I lived. I was absolutely certain there was not a single thing I had ever accomplished in life that was remotely worthwhile. I actually freaked my husband out so much, he offered to come home.

This is the point where I’m supposed to say something positive: But then I pulled myself together and we baked cupcakes, did a week’s worth of school, had a snuggly read aloud session, and invited in the neighborhood woodland creatures who helped us scrub the house from top to bottom. #thelife #blessed #motherhoodrules

We did make cupcakes. (Because baking is my therapy. Also, sugar.) The recipe required we divide all the ingredients in half, so that was math for the day. The rest of it? Dirty, dirty lies.

The truth is, there are days when being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t feel worth it. There are days when don’t feel worth it.

I’m not talking about endless weeks of depression. (Been there, done that. Have the therapy bills to prove it.) I’m talking about the normal day-in-day-out that goes along just fine until…it doesn’t, and out of the blue it just feels…relentless.

There are days when I look around, and I just want to cry because I have worked so hard, and yet everywhere I turn, there is some mess, some thing that needs my attention, that needs to be cleaned or put back or mended or sorted or trashed.

There are days when, in spite of all my best efforts to meal plan, I’m still missing a vital ingredient (cabbage) and I just don’t have the energy for hauling all four kids to the store.

There are days when I do have all the ingredients, and I’m feeling pretty good about myself, and then I spend the entirety of dinner sick to my stomach because every single one of my kids is whining about how much they hate the meal, and the baby has flung it on the wall.

There are days that motherhood just plain sucks. I like to think there are moms out there who can still pull through those days smiling. I’m not one of them.

I am the Queen of Catastrophizing. If today my house looks like a tornado hit, I am convinced that there will never be a day when it is clean again. If dinner is a flop tonight, I am certain every dinner, breakfast, lunch, and snack from now until doomsday will be an equal failure. If my plans for school got derailed this morning, then all my children will fail high school and wind up on government aid, unable to read or sign their own names.

Sure, cerebrally, I know that this is all a load of BS. I get that it’s my own insecurity talking and that what I really need to do is shake myself, get a little Vitamin D, and pull myself up by my privileged bootstraps. I really do believe that God gave me this vocation for a reason and that it is worthwhile and that I’m blessed to be living it. But there are days…

And on those days, I don’t want to hear about the positives or how good I have it or how much harder others have it. I don’t want to hear any of it. I just want to be heard.

I want someone to acknowledge that I am hurting and unhappy and angry. So, I won’t sermonize, and I won’t tell you that tomorrow will be better. Because that’s just patronizing. Deep down, you already know it. I’ll just leave it at this: Mama, there will be days like this. So, cry your heart out and don’t hold back. Because I hear you.

4 comments

  1. Leslie says:

    Love this post! I always admire Moms with multiple children for their strength. I get so stressed enough with Matthew alone that I am so honestly and deeply afraid of handling more than two kids. Anyway, I hope you are feeling much better Mama!

    Love,
    Leslie

  2. Jenny says:

    I can totally identify with this. I think last Saturday was a day like that for me. I declared that day a “poop in the bathtub sort of day.” It was — literally and figuratively! A variety of crummy things happened, and by the end of the day, I thought I’d never be able to recover. I felt so bad.

    I awoke Sunday and life was suddenly better.

    As much as I hate it to know others have days like that, in a way, it is a comfort to know I’m not alone!

    • Bethany says:

      Oh, Jenny! I have had poop in the bathtub days. The worst was the time my 3 and 5 year old were having a bath together and…well, let’s just say the 5 year declared he would NOT be taking baths with the 3yo EVER. AGAIN.

  3. Tiffany Yao says:

    I’m terrible at putting my thoughts on paper, but if I did this would be exactly what I would say some days! “Queen of Catastrophizing” Yes, my poor husband would agree and has the texts to prove it! I’ll pass this on to some other mama friends for sure! Thanks!

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