I had a minor break down last night. It was mainly caused by a fever but tears were involved and I can’t say those tears came from me being sick.
They came from me being overtired. I’m like a small child that way and dangit I don’t like when my tummy hurts.
Days like yesterday leave me drained and beaten. You’ve had these days too: up with a bang at 6 a.m. Searing hot sun already, red mud and gnats, ducks practically cooking in the oklahoma heat. Fill up pond with cool fresh water, wasps take notice. Dogs gag, scratch, poop. I clean and clean and clean and I could do this all day without stopping and the house would still be covered in dirt and doghair.
A million errands to run, a million things to accomplish. Bills to pay, checkbooks to balance. Headaches.
Lugging around my 80 pound baby who refuses to sit in strollers, in buggy seats. She can’t be caged; it’s like holding onto a rabid, death-rolling full-grown alligator. My body is breaking and my arms are going to snap off at the end of the day. 95 degrees. Sweat. In and out of the carseat #shootmeinthefacenow. All she wants to do is crawl toward the nearest electrical outlet and I am a total fun sponge. She fights me, screaming, pinching pulling and biting; she hates me, and I’m aggravated. My neck, my back; my neck and my back.
My older kids whine, complain–before the first stop is even over. Where are the lollipops, can we get drinks? Can we buy a toy? Can we can we can we money money money? Sulky faces in the backseat. They’re disappointed and I’m aggravated, mainly at myself for raising such ungrateful children.
The house I worked so hard to keep tidy all day is now an upside-down disaster area, again. The clutter I managed to contain has inexplicably exploded back onto every surface, and into areas it hadn’t previously been and I’m on visual overload and my heart races in a bad way.
Husband works, new job, high stress, long hours. Doesn’t want to come home to frowns and chaos, a pissy wife or fussy babies or sassy kids or barfy dogs or a messy house and no dinner. Showers, talks about his day, piddles around in the yard. I do not shower. I do not talk about my day. I don’t piddle.
Is his shirt clean? Have I seen his keys? Did I remember to pick up hotdogs/Gatorade/toilet paper at the store? Why does the laundry room stink? Did I know the puppy peed by the front door? What’s wrong? You look tired. You should take better care of yourself. What did you eat today? Why don’t you get up at 5:30 in the morning and go for a run?
I am tired. I want to be drunk drunk drunk.
Covered in baby drool, baby spit-up, baby snot, baby food. I’ve been mopping up poop and pee all day. My legs are splattered in mud, my feet are dusty. I am sweaty. It’s been 3 days since I’ve worn make up. Uneven skin tone. Red cheeks. Itchy dry scalp. Unintentionally messy ponytail in my hair.
Hot. Dehydrated. My eyes are tired and dry but I am still crying somehow. My hair is thinning and it is no longer any real color except a steadily graying brown. My lips are tight and unnatural when I smile, plus it makes my face feel fat and I can’t have my husband see me with a fat face. My fat face. Burning tears ooze down my fat cheeks. Why am I going going going more than ever before in my life and yet not losing any weight?
I have actual wrinkles that I always swore I’d be proud of when the day came, but for now I only feel old and haggard and bloated and empty; not at all like the woman my husband would want to come home to; not at all like the mother my kids would want to cuddle up with at the end of the day.
I can’t physically take another minute. I cannot be clawed at, tugged on, pushed against; I cannot lift one more human being, I cannot answer one more question about grasshoppers or stuffed owls or oil rigs. I can’t tell one more story or watch one more movie or make one more peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I have nothing left for my husband and he has nothing left for me.
I am tired.
Not a day goes by that I don’t feel like I’ve failed. I don’t extreme coupon or homeschool and I don’t run 20 miles a week for that smokin’ hot body I know Caleb wants to crawl into bed with at the end of his long day. I’ve failed at being a loving, patient mother. A cheerful, beautiful, wife. A thoughtful, helpful daughter, a supportive sister. I’ve failed at being Christian simply by admitting all of this in writing and telling you fine people that I love Jesus but I am a little crazy.
I look in the mirror and I’m not enough.
I share this day in such bleak detail to make this point: we will not always be happy. My kids cannot be my world. My husband will not meet all my emotional needs. Marriage and family don’t guarantee me a “happily ever after”. And I can’t call my mom every time I feel upset.
Where is my strength and my joy? I’m not going to find it while scraping the bottom of the barrel; I am facing the wrong direction. I will not find my satisfaction in anything on this temporary earthly level. Life is hard. Being a person is hard–and my experience as a human is as easy as it gets, yet I am challenged regularly, and on every level of my being.
A Christian life is not one of ease or comfort, or happiness or wealth and success, or of moral superiority. A Christian life is one that tries hard and loves hard, plain and simple; it’s days like this that keep me humble.
There are a million articles and blog posts about how Christians should act, how they should think and feel in certain situations and about certain events; but I am nothing but a flaming human, a soul confused and aching for a world that is unreachable in this flawed body.
I turn to Jesus because I am not worthy, because I sin, because I struggle. Praise praise PRAISE God for sending a savior because without Him, my dark days would end with the promise of more exhaustion and more failure.
Instead, there is hope. And help and rest and love, grace and forgiveness. And I am encouraged by the examples in the Bible–Moses, David, Paul, for instance–how many times did they mess up so utterly and God still used them and spoke through them and guided them?
This is where, for me, continuing to fight the good fight gets real. Continuing to read my Bible, continuing to pray, to reach above myself and to remember that though my circumstances change, there is joy to be had at all times and in any situation. In America there so many loud things to distract us from God’s solid, quiet truth; so many things vying for our attention. I’ll never have peace by focusing on and worshipping any of it.
So if you’re a stay-at-home mom, or a working mom, or a parent, or a child, or a person and you’re struggling in your head to get through one single day, don’t give up on God. Keep fighting the good fight. He will hold you like no one else can, He will take those slumped shoulders and stand you up straight, and He will look at you when you’re feeling your scummiest and He will raise your chin.
Go now and rock on with your bad self, you strong and beautiful child of God.