It’s the end of a long day. I am tired. We’re sitting at the dinner table, I’m sipping wine that I poured at 4:59 pm. I’m maxed out, unable to hold much of a conversation. Before I know it, I feel tears trickle down my cheeks. That’s just how my body handles stress, it always has; tears unwittingly escape from my eyes though that’s not necessarily a giveaway of my emotional state.
He asks Is there something bigger going on?
Sometimes there is, but can it just be the reality of this season of life? Some days don’t leave me with much left to give by the end of it.
Sometimes he worries for me. Sometimes I worry for me. Sometimes, especially at the end of days such as these, I wonder, truly, if I am the only momma out there who questions her ability, her decisions, her patience, what she said or how she acted in that moment with her child.
I rally: I can do this and I can do this well. But it is exhausting.
Living in the world of Momma leaves you resting in the tension of both.
I am tired. I adore my girls.
I am empty. My cup runneth over.
I love having babies. I miss my old self.
Can it be both?
I need it to be both. I need the tension. I need to have the freedom to admit that sometimes this is hard. But also, that despite the difficulty, it is fiercely worth it. I need to say that sometimes, if I am really transparent, I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. That I miss being able to just run to the gym and stay there for 2 hours. That I was really good at teaching and miss being in the world of teenagers. Can I say that and not diminish my love of this season too? Because also, if I am really transparent, this season of life is my very favorite and deserves to be celebrated and relished- it goes oh-so-quickly. Can I say that I love being home with my girls. That we play, laugh, create, and dance in our house. That this identity of momma is demanding and draining, but it is also refining, humbling, invigorating, and awe-inspiring.It is both.
Can’t I be so wholly and completely exhausted that I desperately pray for grace and patience and love that is bigger and more complete than myself because I otherwise don’t know how I am going to make it through the day?
But ALSO, can’t I say that I so wholly and absolutely adore my girls and that I wouldn’t trade this stage for anything? That it is difficult for me to multi-task when they are awake and in the same room as me- not because of distraction, but because I am drawn into their orbit so easily and find myself tickling toes and blowing raspberries before I am even aware of it.
Can I be maxed out and at the end of my rope? Can I admit that I’m running on empty and not feel like less of a mom? Completely perplexed and frustrated over how to discipline a passionate 2-year-old who skips to time-outs and laughingly swats her own bootie after you try a spanking?
But ALSO, can’t I be blown over by the privilege it is that these two are mine? Can I admit that I miss them when I have a Saturday morning out to get coffee and run errands?
Can I be confident of the choices I am making for my family and not compare myself to the choices she is making for her family?
Can I celebrate the choices I am making, but also celebrate the choices she is making to allow her to be the best and most loving parent she can be even if they’re different from mine?
Can I hold tightly to my identity of wife, decorator, educator, writer, athlete, and not feel guilt that momma has taken precedence as my main and most demanding identity right now?
Can I rest in the tension of missing my toned 25-year-old body but acknowledge the miracle that these extra pounds are what brought new life to our world?
Can I take a week to finish a load of laundry but then decorate a room to beautiful perfection?
It needs to be both. I need to be both. It’s okay to be both and not live with feet firmly planted on either side. Let the pendulum swing too far to either side and it might give root to bitterness, alienation, exhaustion, or unhealthy facades of perfection. I need to remember who I was and who I am and be reminded that they don’t have to be competing interests. I need to admit that I do not have it together but come completely undone when I hear their giggles and it is worth it. I need to admit that this is hard and I love it. I need authenticity as much as I need sleep.
I am tired and I am in love.
I am both.