Did summer really just start? Really? Then why am I already D.O.N.E.....DONE?! Is it called "summer break" because someone figured out that it will literally break you?!
I probably should have called this post "mommy confessional"...maybe I will go back and re-name it.
Okay, I am just going to go ahead and spill it so here goes (and in the process I hope this makes another mommy - or daddy - out there feel like they aren't the 'only one'!).......
So I decided to treat the kiddos to brunch out today in an effort to brighten (my) spirits and bring an end to the hostility between some of them (seriously, how many times can a sibling yell "STOP" at the other before they actually stop??!!).
I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself this week (yes, I know that is ridiculous and I have way to much to be thankful for to be wallowing in "woe is me" but there it is!) and am just a bit overwhelmed - already! I always think summer is going to be lazy mornings, blue skies, lounging by the pool, reading in the hammock while my children play peacefully together in the yard, but it is never actually like that at all. I mean there are moments - okay maybe "minutes" of peaceful bliss, but with 5 children -and usually many more than that when you add in the friends and cousins hanging out (which we absolutely love - really!) - the bliss runs and hides more often than not.
So what our summers actually look more like: crazy mornings as we prep to get out of the house to various events, lessons and therapies, meals that have to be prepared All. Day. Long. for all these little people (I am SO out numbered), phone calls that have to be made to make appointments for so many things I lose track and we never seem to be on time, bickering siblings, whining (if I hear "mom, I am SO bored" one more time.....!!!!) and me barking out orders and keeping things moving forward as best I can without snapping. I wish I was kidding on that, but I am being real here......
There is little to no time to stop and reflect on all the blessings caught up in with all the demands. Most days I don't even have a single adult conversation (except through texts usually with other moms who I am trying to coordinate running kids places with, etc. Can I tell you how much I love even just the adult words typed on my screen - seriously!) until my husband gets home and then I am too tired, too frustrated or too busy to engage in a conversation.
My sweet husband told me this morning before he left for work (because I was whining about all the things I had to do today and how exhausted I was from yesterday, blah, blah, blah - but for real!!) that "I was made for this. God knew I had it in me to give each of our children exactly what they need and that is why he entrusted them to me." I thought about for a while today (okay, for like 1 minute because that's how long I was able to hide in the bathroom to reflect and pray this morning! ;) and he is right.
So today I decided to get everyone from the 4 year olds to my teenager and treat them to lunch. It was a little rough getting out the door...teenager had to be woken up (it was 1pm - seriously)! And trying to get get 2 four year olds out the door and buckled into seats with the 15 stuffed animals, books and barbies they want to bring with them is a bit like packing for a cross country trip. Of course, this was after the 3 appointments this morning - 2 of which we were late to - and trying to fit in the house cleaning before we left. This is a cleaning day at my house and I have to make an attempt or with this many people we would truly be living in filth if it was left to go more than a couple of days.
Okay, so after everything was said and done we made it out of the house and to the lunch place. Still smiling.....
Not pictured: my two oldest children. My oldest son was taking the picture and my 2nd oldest was not here because he was at theater camp today. Yes, I know I look tired....I AM tired!! The sleeping in during the summer thing doesn't happen for us since my oldest daughter wakes us up about sunrise every morning!! I NEED to learn how to get to bed earlier, bu summer activities always have us up later than usual ;)
Once there we talked, laughed and enjoyed a meal I didn't make and didn't have to clean up after. There were no electronics involved and we really just connected for a few precious minutes.
And maybe the best part is that while we were there an older woman and her husband got up to leave and approached our table. She smiled at me and said, "honey, I wanted to come over and commend you on how incredibly well behaved your children are. I know how hard that is to do and how much work you put into them. You are doing a great job!" I thanked her and smiled as tears welled up in my eyes. I was so grateful for her kind words and knew that my Heavenly Father had laid it on her heart to give me that message. I had been praying that He would help me be a better mother and have a better attitude (an "attitude of gratitude" I called it) toward my daily responsibilities no matter how wearing and mundane they can sometimes feel. Because even when I feel bogged down or frustrated or like I am just barking orders at the wall all day because no one here actually hears me, I truly am blessed and I am so thankful that I am mom to these 5 beautiful perfectly imperfect children than only I can raise exactly the way I will raise them no matter how imperfect that may look. Because I believe the words my husband spoke to me this morning and the ones he sent me in this sweet text just a few hours later:
So I want to wrap up by saying that I wrote this entire post not to throw all my insecurities and struggles a party on the world wide web, but because I know that when exposed to the light those dark things have a harder time taking seed in your life and mind. I also know that sometimes we feel all alone in this parenting thing. We see images of people having fun with their kids (I LOVE those pictures for the record and often post them myself. It's like seeing hope out there!) on social media and can sometimes feel like we are the only ones frustrated, struggling and ultimately alone. Even though I know that isn't the truth often those lies start to creep in and I can start to second guess everything I am doing and why I am doing it. The struggle seems so much greater than the cause
some most days. Rest assured it is not. I don't think there is anything more important that I could be doing in my life right now than raising up this next generation. I have been called do this and I am equipped to do this! I KNOW that I will miss these days when they are gone. I need to and I will live in the moment and do my best to cherish even the messy hectic times doing my best to put to memory the blessings in those moments because they are there when we learn to look for them.
And for the days that I fall short and forget how blessed I am I pray that my Heavenly Father will continue to remind me with stranger's kind words and my husband's sweet texts.
I hope that in reading this any other parents out there feeling the same way I have been are able to take a deep breath, throw your shoulders back and keep carrying on the good fight! Don't ever feel like your work is less important because you are at home raising little ones. No corporate job or even running my own company has ever been more work or been more demanding than what I am doing now. Nor has it ever been more rewarding or more worth it!