I wake up. I realize I don't want to be awake right away, because I feel exhausted. Still, I know I need to get moving. The baby, laying next to me, is now, finally, sleeping soundly. But the rest of my children are very much awake, as evidenced by the noise down the hall.
Up. Up. Up.
Maybe if I think it long enough, it will happen.
No, I must make the movements, the effort. I walk down the hall.
I am confronted with the mess of spilled milk, cereal bowls strewn all over the table. Happy, but ridiculously loud children greet me with smiles. The littler ones run to hug me, but I hold them at arms length- they are sticky.
Clean up begins early.
By the time all the children are wiped clean, spills washed up, diapers changed, I realize we need to get started on morning chores. NOW. Or else the entire schedule will be thrown off for the day.
Some days I feel like every known force in the universe is working against me from accomplishing this end.
I have to tell several of my children over fifty times a day to stay on task. To concentrate on their work. Write neatly. You will have to do this over. You forgot to sweep behind the table. Have you finished your math? You MUST get your room cleaned up before we put on a show. Be kind to one another. Stop yelling. Do not hit, bite, scribble on the walls. Do not call names. No it is not time for a snack yet. You are NOT starving, I promise.
And you know what? I do not have rotten kids. They are good kids. They are sweet (most of the time) and smart and I am grateful for them everyday. But they are also enormous consumers of time and energy and patience and every other resource I posses (and probably those I don't.) They literally drain every ounce of physical, spiritual and emotional energy I have.
You know why I need God so much? Because the simple, you-need-to-do-something-for-yourself line just doesn't cut it. After the exhaustion of life sets in, going out for a cup of coffee or getting a pedicure or having a date night or starting a new hobby just isn't enough. And it never will be. Maybe it was never meant to be.
I need to know God is with me here. Now. When I need Him most. In the every day, in all the frustrating details. In the maddening quotidian. I need Him as I do the next thing, every single solitary day.
And ironically, you know when I get the most frustrated? When I insist on me time. When I get stuck in the downward spiraling, black hole of self pity. When I start thinking about what I deserve. Life is not about what we deserve. It is about making the best out of every thing that comes your way.
"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world." - Helen Keller
I've said it before, and I will say it again. (Againness seems to be the topic of my life, so I am learning to accept repetition.) All people, all women, all moms, feel this way from time to time. Whether you have no kids or two or ten. Male or female.
Life can be hard. Challenging.
It can feel overwhelming from time to time. The againness of it all can get to you. I know it does me.
It's ok to say so.
Sometimes I think homeschooling moms hurt themselves when they feel they can never talk about how hard it is to do it all. Because it IS. We don't have to be a slave to an image. We are normal people, with normal struggles. At least, I am.
I have had people tell me numerous times that they couldn't do what I do. I feel like saying, "Neither can I." And then burst out laughing.
All is grace.
I want to be a grace-giver. I need grace-givers in my life. God has given me some. And I am grateful.
Because tomorrow I do it all over.