My Life as a Busy, Tired Mother
I remember when I was on Speech team in college (yep, I was one of those), I wrote my oratory on hurry sickness; an essay I delivered on an epidemic in our culture to stay busy, cram our schedules, and be efficient. Granted, this was back in 2002- before the time of iPhones and Facebook, and before our society glorified multi-tasking, over-planning, and Pinterest. I was simply a college student, albeit a busy one, taking extra credits and holding a part-time job slinging coffee at the Caribou in the mall.
I sit here now, over 10 (feeling old now) years later, and I’m shocked that life felt so busy back then. I’m also surprised that my 19 year old self could even pinpoint the obsession with busyness and efficiency that was sweeping our culture or identify with it. What would she think about my life now?
Like most moms, I am admittedly busy. The funny thing about children is they require care, around the clock, every. single. day. I’m not sure I realized that before I started popping out babies, but four kids later, and I’ve definitely figured it out. Throw in homeschooling, extra-curriculars, a husband with long hours, and my part-time job teaching fitness classes, and our life was already hectic. Then add our foster son into the picture, and most weeks I think my Iphone calendar will crash just from the amount of items I’m cramming into each day.
Before R came, we gave up many “extras” in our schedule, and made an attempt to simplify our lives in many ways. But, like most families, there are certain things you won’t give up (because they’re important to your children or your values) or can’t give up. R’s schedule fell into the latter category.
Even though he just turned four, every week he has two visits with his birth mom, one therapy appointment, and four days of school where he receives additional services including speech, OT, and special education help. Throw in a monthly appointment with our caseworker, his caseworker, and his GAL, plus doctor’s appointments, occasional court dates, and other specialized care, and I find myself wondering how he/we will survive it all. Especially considering, at best guess, we have 6 more months of this schedule.
Last Thursday, R, my two older kids, and I spent the day driving downtown for a mom visit, then across town to a psychologist, then back across the city to pick up my youngest from preschool (schlepping books along the way and doing schoolwork whenever we found a quiet moment or quiet location). Around 4:00pm, I received a phone call from our case worker:
“We’re going to need to do the whole house safety inspection tomorrow. Your recertification needs to be complete by mid-November.”
“Tomorrow, huh? Umm…….ok.”
And that’s when the panic set in. Our house was still recovering from the Justice Run, a 4 year old birthday party, and a busy week. How was I possibly going to get it in inspection shape by noon the next day?!?!
Honestly, I wanted to cry. I wanted to call in a cleaning company or try to cancel the appointment or find some other option. I wanted an out.
But, thankfully, God gave me the wisdom to see that I just needed to stop feeling sorry for myself, pull up my big girl pants (as my friend LL always says), and get to work. By 6:30pm, I had already finished mopping, safety plugging every outlet within a 2 mile radius, and putting 5 ginormous baskets of laundry away.
I was finished. And I was able to spend the night hanging on the couch with my amazing husband, watching our favorite shows, praying together about the crazy that is our lives, and drinking an extra-large glass of wine.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned through the last 7 months of craziness, it’s that God desires to bless us in this process. He doesn’t want us to be miserable, to feel like things are spinning out of control, or to be anxious and overwhelmed (feelings we struggle with almost daily). Instead, he wants us to know His love and grace, so we can extend the same love and grace to our families, friends, and children, and especially in our case, this sweet little boy who has seen and experienced a lifetime of hurt and trauma in his four short years.
Sometimes I think maybe R would do better in a calm home with no other children and heaps of attention. But then I see L and him play school for hours outside, lost in their preschool world, calling each other “beft fwends”. Or I watch T and him wrestle on the trampoline pretending to be various superheroes. Or I see A read him a book and give him a hug just because she can see he is having a hard day. And I see him place his head on my shoulder and ask a million questions about this world he is trying to understand. And I know, in those moments, that God chose R for our family, and God chose our family for R.
Most days I’ve learned to accept that our lives are just going to be busier than we’d like right now. I’ve learned to look forward to the weeks and months that are less hectic, and enjoy the days where we have nowhere we have to be. But I also don’t want to spend my life frustrated with the present and always looking toward the future. Surely there must be a way to find calm and rest amid the busyness, right?
Matthew 11:28-30 spoke to me:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
He will give my soul rest: my weary, burdened, tired-to-the-bone soul.
Even though our outer lives resemble a tornado, spinning around us in pure chaos, our inner lives and our hearts can be peaceful, restful, and calm with the help of our Heavenly Father.
The crazy may be here to stay, and the busyness may come and go, but regardless of the actual day-to-day hard stuff of life, we don’t have to live spent, exhausted, cranky, and done. He offers us a better life, in Him.Rest well, weary friends.