“How do you do it?”
“I could never do what you do…”
“You’re like a super woman!”
I hear it a lot, especially when Josh is deployed, from family and well-meaning civilian friends (and sometimes even strangers). They say it when I mention that I’ve fixed the car or unclogged the garbage disposal. They wonder at me while I puzzle out how to be at two different school events at once or drive an activity schedule by myself that would make two people sweat.Recently, it was the moms at the elementary school, unsure how I manage three kids and a house plus a big volunteer project while my husband is away.
“You must be so strong!”
Most days, I’ll admit, I feel pretty damn awesome, but here’s my confession … sometimes I am simply not strong enough.
Some days … sigh … some days. We run out of bread for lunch sandwiches or milk for my little. There are two or more activities at the exact same time, across town from one another, and equally important to the kid that needs me there. I am late for pick-up. Everyone is mad at me, and the big volunteer project mysteriously disappears from my computer. The I-need-to-wear-these-tomorrow jeans didn’t get put in the dryer before I
fell asleep on the couch went to bed (the same dryer which then begins to make a loud knocking sound). Someone needs cash for school the very next day but failed to tell me while we were at the bank (and of course my wallet is empty). Someone spills their milk, and someone else just watches while it seeps into the carpet.
On this day, I am not strong enough. My patience is gone, my sanity a distant memory. At least once on this day, I lose my mind on my kids, yelling when I shouldn’t, blaming when it isn’t their fault. Sometimes at the end of this day I have just enough strength left to apologize to my kids; sometimes all I can do is hug them and kiss them as I pray for a better day tomorrow. Then I drag myself to bed (hopefully) before tears that I’ve been holding in all day spring forth.
You might wonder why I’m making this is my confession. That’s a good question. I pondered it myself last night when it came to mind. I don’t want your pity, and I don’t need to hear how awesome I am. I’m writing because on those days, I feel alone. I feel like the worst mom in the world, like I’m failing in ways no other mom possibly could. I think everyone else must be holding up better than me, and it hurts to know I’m failing when I should be thriving.
On a good day I know better. I know no one is perfect; I know we all have those days. But when I’m having those days, doubt takes advantage of my weakness, and I spend the last few minutes of my waking day beating myself up for not doing better, for not being better. So I’m writing today for anyone having one of those days. For anyone who needs to hear that I’ve been where you are, that we all have, and that tomorrow will probably be better. For anyone wondering why you just can’t today when it seems like everyone else can.
You can, too. Don’t beat yourself up. Let those tears run their course, and try to sleep. Tomorrow you will be right back to superwoman, to awesome. And maybe tomorrow it will be my turn, or her turn, or hers to fall a little, so I write today in hopes that your tomorrow is strong enough to remind all of us how strong we usually are.