The Straw That Broke This Mama's Back

I had a total meltdown over the weekend. My over-scheduled, over-extended, over-tired reality finally hit and I lost it. Sobbing, inconsolable, guilt-ridden LOST IT.

It didn't take much. I'd been precariously close to the edge for weeks and all it took was driving my kids to a 6:30 pm track practice and finding out that practice had actually been at 4 pm.

That was the straw that broke this mama's back.

Not a big deal, right? Laugh, figure out the new practice schedule and move on, lady.

Normally, yes. But, not this time.

I just couldn't chalk it up as the eleventy-thousandth example of my imperfection, once again giving my kids (and other moms) permission to blow it, and move on down the road.

Nope. This felt bigger. This was a statement of some kind. A report card on my life as a mother and that report card said, "F."

For months I had been moving too fast, juggling too many balls, and the correction email listing the revised track practice times got missed. In the grand scheme of the season (and life) will this matter? No. Will there be other practices? Yes, actually, there's one today, but that's beside the point.

When you're mid-breakdown no amount of rational thinking will help. In fact, you kind of want to punch the person giving it to you.

So, I cried. I ranted and railed. I blamed myself. I cried some more.

And then I called a family meeting.

My husband, our three kids and myself gathered in the family room so Mommy could apologize. Apologize for missing track practice. Apologize for my busyness. Apologize for all the times in the past three months I've had to say, "No, I'm sorry, I can't {fill-in-the-blank fun, family activity} because I have to {fill-in-the-blank task}."

I apologized for how tired I've been and the resulting crankiness I've had. "No one likes a grump, " I said. "This isn't the kind of mom I want to be."

Do we have bad days? Yes. Do we have permission to be imperfect, flawed, and off-track? Absolutely. This apology wasn't about failing to live up to an unreal expectation.

This was about communicating to my family: you are important. You are MORE important. You are more important than my work, than my hobbies or other people. If I had to say good-bye to all of that for you, I would.

It was about showing my kids that saying "yes" to something means saying "no" to something else. And that something else might be patience with my family or thoughtfulness towards my friends. If you don't say "no," you're going to crash and burn. Case. In. Point.

It was revealing to them that even adults struggle to know what to say "yes" to and how to prioritize. We can let things get off-balance and the results aren't pretty.

It was also about sharing my heart with them. Outlining my priorities: God, family and friends, communicating God's heart through Speaking/Writing/Podcasting, and rest, while reminding them that life also requires you to do tasks you don't want to do like laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping. 

My family's response was surprising. I expected the "We love you, Mommy's" and the "We forgive you's." I didn't expect my youngest to start crying with me.  I didn't expect him to crawl into my lap, hug me, and tell me he thought I was a great mom, which was just what I needed.

I didn't expect my family to understand the passions God has placed in my heart to communicate His love for others and their willingness to support that pursuit.

The family meeting turned into the kids and Michael offering the things they could do to make our lives easier. They volunteered to help more with laundry, dishes, vacuuming and dusting. They committed to dropping their complaints when asked to pitch in.

Now, we'll see how things all shake out. I'm realistic here. But, a combination of more responsibility on their end plus quitting some things on my end should help bring things back into balance around our home. I hope.

The real win came with the peace I felt after sharing. Nothing had changed yet. The house was still messy, we needed groceries and I had an inbox full of emails. But, sharing my heart and receiving encouragement from My People reminded me I wasn't in this alone. 

Michael and I sitting down to figure out how to best use my 168 hours per week. Sleeps tops my list. Followed closely by naps.

Michael and I sitting down to figure out how to best use my 168 hours per week. Sleeps tops my list. Followed closely by naps.