Dear Diary

Well, everyone, this one is more of a journal entry than an actual blog post….as of last night, I had nothing earth shattering to share with you, because yesterday was just a Hard day. Yes, capital H hard. I read today in Mark 13:11 to not worry about being prepared, that the Holy Spirit will give you the words when its time, and I know that Jesus wasn’t talking about blogging, but we are going to use it today. I have nothing prepared, but I’m going to stream-of-consciousness this thing and pray that it speaks to someone else….most likely another mom of littles, because everyone else reading this will say, “what on earth is her problem??”

So, yesterday. Little curly girl has not been herself this week due to another ginormous molar coming in…she’s just cranky enough to combine with regular toddler-ness to be a rollercoaster of emotions this week. Her fake brother had a fun weekend and was extremely tired, and so with that combo, we just had fighting all day long, even more than usual. He looked at her. She touched him. She took his toy. He screamed in her ear. He stole her favorite pink whatever, so she bit his finger. We had a long chat about how its not acceptable to nibble on our friends, and how we don’t scream when we are upset. Then we had about 50 more chats throughout the day on similar topics. Then the granola bar broke in half and the world ended; we recovered just in time for the world to end again when the juice was on the other side of the couch from where we were sitting. I tried to step away for 30 seconds to use the bathroom by myself, or put the dishes in the dishwasher or something equally crazy, and within 5 seconds, I could hear shrieks, yelling and meltdowns from the playroom (we are in an apartment, so that’s literally 5 feet from me). Take the last 5 minutes and put it on loop and that was our Wednesday. We tried to paint, we tried to build block towers, we tried to read, we tried to play “Simon Says” and then we all just sat down and cried.

I was feeling frustrated, impatient, aggravated at myself for feeling frustrated and impatient, guilt at having a bad day while living out by biggest dream, and since I had also messed up two art projects that I needed to finish, terrible and inept at all things motherhood related, artsy, wife-y, and heck, cooking related too since I hadn’t made anything for dinner. The worst part was that this was coming off of a high that very morning when I had some great prayer time with God, and was just overwhelmed by peace and by gratitude for all that He has done for me! And then in the midst of what I’ve christened “What On Earth is Going On Wednesday” I was losing it quickly. As I realized what I had let happen, I face-palmed and felt smaller than small.  I had so quickly turned from being close to God and feeling His peace, to letting my blessings be my irritation and giving in to frustration. And now, I know, a certain amount of that is a natural part of being a mom, and our small world here occasionally just has “a day”, I get that. But I just was so astounded by how quickly I let myself go down the rabbit hole of “You’re a terrible mother” “You should never have any more kids” “Why do you think you can do this art stuff? Look at this! Its awful! How embarrassing!” “You bit off more than you can chew, you’re a failure” “You’ll never be the mother that you want to be!” and stopped believing that God placed me here, He equipped me, and He is never far from me! I let that peace slip away from me faster than I don’t know what…

As I was there in the middle of my mommy pity party, I sat down to read with the kids because they both love books, and it’s a guaranteed 3 minutes of peace. My little curly girl reaches into the book box and brings me one that isn’t in her normal rotation of daily reading, called “I Can Do All Things” based on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. Cue a fresh batch of tears. What a moment of truth, sitting on a toddler bed, surrounded by meltdowns and big emotions in little bodies that are sometimes overwhelming for us all. I can do all things THROUGH God who gives me strength, even hard days,.

These are the things I’m taking away from my Hard Day:

Listen to the people around you – even toddlers. — Baby girl knew mommy was “sad” and asked me three times to sit with her. And you know what? I needed to sit! Being close to her little warm squish brought me peace and comfort and we had a quiet moment together which brought joy to my heart and reminded me why we go through the difficult moments – because she’s my daughter, and she wants me to sit with her even when I’m grumpy and sad because she is mine and I am hers, and that’s all that matters. She knew what I needed even if I didn’t and I love her for her baby heart that noticed!

Reach out – so often when I have these days, I get so entrenched in my thoughts that I forget that there are others around me going through the same thing. Yesterday afternoon, I reached out to a close mom friend and heard her words of encouragement, grace, love and understanding and a “you’re doing just fine” and I sometimes forget that I need people too, and that its ok to admit that you’re having a hard day.

Start each day the night before – a pastor said this to us in a message a few years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. What you do the night before will set the tone for the next day! The day before yesterday, I stayed up way too late trying to get things done, and wasn’t at my best at all starting the day yesterday. I hadn’t done my normal “prep” for the upcoming day, and I felt it and started off already off kilter. Get your mind right starting the night before – it can make all the difference!

Know yourself –I struggle with the concept of “self-care” because to me sometimes that feels and sounds selfish. I know its not meant to be, but if I’m being honest, I just don’t work that way sometimes. BUT I know for me to be successful and even keeled, I need to do better at knowing myself and doing what I need to do to be on point – for example, a clean kitchen (well, the whole house, but especially the kitchen!) makes me feel better. I know that sounds silly, but when my kitchen is a mess, I feel messy, disjointed and off kilter. If I can get that done, I feel like I have a good start on my day and I have a clean space to get to work.  I also know that I haven’t been eating well or drinking enough water – I had let some good habits slip and sank back into some bad ones that had me running on fumes and just “making it through” the day. I know the things that make me feel better – eating healthy, drinking lots of water, taking my vitamins, working out every day, journaling and prayer/quiet time, having a clean house, and being organized. I can’t let those things slip or molehills turn into mountains before I know it!

So there you have it….my synopsis of my Hard Day, and if you’re not or haven’t ever been a little kid mom, you’re thinking that I sound like an overdramatic crazy person…I get that. I can acknowledge that from the outside looking in, it sounds ridiculous, but it is what it is. It was a tough day out of a lot of wonderful days, we made it though, I’m thankful for these babies that I get to love on and teach, even when its draining, and I’m thankful for God’s grace and their short memories when I do mess up and have a hard day.

To any other toddler moms reading this: reach out on a hard day. They come to everyone, and we all need a helping hand and a “you’re doing fine” some days, but people can’t tell you that if you’re not real with them, so don’t be afraid. You’re not alone. Let’s go raise some little humans!

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