“At the end of the day, you will not remember the person with the beautiful face, but you will remember the person with the most beautiful heart and soul.” –Unknown
Your predecessor finally bid farewell at 1:15 am. And then you began only moments later at 2:37 am. In that early morning hour, a soft, tired voice awakened me with news of a bad dream. The sweet little boy responsible for the sleepy voice climbed clumsily into my bed bearing his blanket and cold feet.
Yes, he fell asleep quickly.
But I didn’t.
And just about the time I closed my heavy eyes again, I was startled awake by the coughing and hacking of a sweet girl still suffering the effects of walking pneumonia. She has been coughing five weeks.
And yet, little-Mister-nightmare slept on. I slid slowly and carefully out of my warm bed and walked down the cool hallway. I opened her bedroom door and saw that she was asleep but terribly restless. I rearranged her blankets, elevated her head on her princess pillow and turned her ceiling fan on. As I pulled her bedroom door shut behind me, I silently prayed the cooler room would lesser her cough.
I fell back asleep around 4:30 am.
I spent the next couple of hours wrestling little-Mister-nightmare for a portion of my ivory duvet cover. I finally covered my legs with my bathrobe that I had draped on the end of my bed.
My alarm went off at 6:45 am.
I hit snooze twice.
And then, at 7:03 am, my feet hit the floor and the mad dash of the morning began. Those 18 minutes were the deepest sleep I enjoyed all night. But now I resent and regret them–those precious extra minutes will make us late.
Luckily, I am a creature of habit. Lunches were prepared the night before. Clothes were laid out on the couch–all articles necessary, to include socks, shoes and a hot pink hair bow for little-Miss-cough.
I gently rouse the kiddos. They are, of course, exhausted.
And the complaining begins.
“I don’t want to go to school today.”
“I don’t want a granola bar for breakfast.”
“I don’t want to brush my teeth.”
“I don’t want you to brush my hair–just do a messy knot.”
Therefore, the yelling also begins.
“GET UP NOW!”
“I’M TIRED TOO! I HAVEN’T SLEPT IN 10 YEARS!”
“I DON’T WANT TO GO TO WORK.”
“WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR PANCAKES!”
“IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH…!!”
“IF YOU DON’T LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR, I SWEAR I WILL TAKE YOU TO THE BEAUTY SHOP AND WE WILL CUT THIS MESS OFF!”
“GET YOUR BACKPACK!”
“DRINK YOUR JUICE, IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!”
“GET INTO THE CAR, NOW!”
Yep, just delightful.
Every. Single. Morning.
We race to school, arrive with only moments to spare and pass through the drop off line at school. It’s important to look as though the morning went smoothly. I wouldn’t want anyone to assume that I didn’t have my act together. So…smiles on, kisses given–my parting words are always, “Be kind, no matter what”.
Oh, the hypocrisy of this tired mommy. I have yelled all morning and yet, I command them to be kind.
Seriously, I need to take my own advice.
Yes, Day, I’m done. You win. And it is only 8:03 am.
I arrived at work, unlocked the door and was faced with the odor of yesterday’s take out lunch. My first item of business was to take out all the trash and vacuum the entry way rug. Why? I have no idea. With the office door propped open for me to enjoy the fresh Spring air, the dust and leaves always find their way in.
I chug my morning Dr. Pepper, hoping for an immediate caffeine boost of energy that I know will not come. I have long since become immune to the caffeine of cokes…I drink them because I am addicted and because I love the burn of the first drink.
And after a couple of swigs, I apply my hot pink lipstick and finish my eye makeup.
I put on a happy face. Yes, I wear my mask. Happy faces mean happy lives. Right?
I spend time perusing Facebook and Twitter–“Liking” and “Retweeting” to my heart’s content. Everyone else’s lives look so good and happy.
I hate social media.
I answer the phone, work and of course, blog.
Always wearing a happy face. After all, my life is good. My life is great. I have no right to complain. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Maci.
Then, it’s time for my daughter’s noontime pickup from Kindergarten. It’s time to feed her lunch and head back to work to email, make some phone calls and complete some certified mail.
Oh shoot!! I forgot the supplies I need for the kiddos school parties. Great. I head to Walmart for the third time this week. Forty five minutes and one-hundred and twenty dollars later, I am angry and wondering who in the world came up with associating bunnies and eggs with Easter.
As I am leaving the Wal-Mart parking lot, my cell phone, which has the office phone forwarded to it at all times, rings. Someone is waiting for me at the office. Fantastic. I love looking like I am an incompetent employee who isn’t at work during posted business hours.
As this point, I am hating multi-colored, plastic eggs.
When I arrive at the office, I apologize profusely to the waiting client and beg their pardon. All is well. They are happy. I feel a little less incompetent…well, sort of. I did before I feel asleep at my desk. Yep. Seriously.
Then, I race from the office–as always, I am running late for afternoon pickup for my son. I swing through the Dairy Queen drive-thru so that I can fulfill the lunchtime promise to my daughter that we would get ice cream when her big brother gets out of school.
I coordinate with a girlfriend to hand off my munchkins for an hour so that I can meet with my uncle and complete our income tax. Yeah, as if the day couldn’t get better–the reality of income taxes.
Geez. Deep breaths, Maci. Deep breaths.
I hurry to my friend’s house, pick up the kiddos, thank her for the help, race home, force the children to sit on the couch, eat a snack and have rest time before our evening activities begin.
While they rest, snack and watch PBS, I take a load of laundry out of the washer and put it in the dryer. I put another load of laundry, one of the five I need to wash, into the washing machine.
Then, I head to the kitchen and put the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. I have to scrub the Fruity Pebbles really hard at this point. They are stuck to the edges of the bowl. Don’t judge me.
Then, off we go again.
Dirty hands, runny noses and the fastest dinner ever.
We race home only to find that I neglected to shut the stinkin’ garage door when we departed. Fantastic.
Hurriedly, I march the kiddos out of the car and into the utility room where they strip down and in doing so, they dump the red sand from the ball fields out of their cleats and onto the white tile floor.
It’s just dirt. It’s just dirt. It’s just dirt. I’ll sweep it up later.
Baths and showers, medicine, inhalers for little-Miss-cough, brush hair, brush teeth, gather our blankets and nighttime friends, say prayers, give hugs, give kisses, one more drink of water, one more trip to the potty, little sister tucked in, big brother warm and cozy, lights out and doors shut.
I sit down. For what may be the first time of the day. Well, that’s not true. There was that one other time when I got to tee-tee once after lunch.
You kicked my butt and took my name. You worked me over and wore me out.
And as I get in the bathtub and submerge my exhausted body to my chin, I shut my eyes and mentally consider all the things I failed to complete during the previous hours. The mental notes and lists begin to develop.
I sit up to shave my legs. Why in the world would I do that? Waste. Of. Time. And my time is way too precious for me to be frivolous with. I’ll shave every other day. Yes, that’s good time management.
I climb out of the bathtub and as I am drying off, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. I look ten years older than I actually am. I have wrinkles. I have dark circles under my eyes. Oh well, that’s why I own and use concealer. Right?
I pull on my comfiest flannel pants and my loosest gray t-shirt and climb into my delightful bed. Oh, how I hope little-Mister-nightmare has sweet dreams tonight. And as I lay there, in the quiet darkness of my bedroom, I am completely, totally, utterly exhausted.
Exhausted emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Yes, I have run the race. But you, Day, have triumphed over my feeble attempt.
So, here. I am waving the white flag of surrender. I am begging you to claim victory and allow me to sleep. It is over. It is done. The victory is yours and I am accepting defeat. Please, Day, take mercy on this Mommy because tomorrow, I face you again.
And then, a feeling stronger than exhaustion washed over me–GRATITUDE. Yes, I am absolutely exhausted. I am pooped. I am tired.
And why? Because I have such a full and amazing life! And as this realization took hold of me, I was reminded of Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”.
Through Him. That Christ that strengthened Paul who wrote Philippians, the Christ who commanded Lazarus to arise, the Christ who suffered and died a criminals death–the same Christ who conquered death and rose from the grave yesterday!! Yep, THAT Christ. He lives. Yes, He lives IN me!! And if you have so chosen, He lives in you, too!!
So, here’s to all you weary, exhausted, dark-circles-under-your-heavy-eyes mommies out there!! Yep, we are tired and we yell and we rush and we are late and cranky. But, ladies, we are doing a good job. We are running this rat race of life and facing each day with forced smiles, hurriedly applied makeup, mental to-do lists and coffee–or in my case, excessive amounts of Dr. Pepper.
And, Moms, some days we win. And some days, well, we don’t.
But the important thing is to keep going. The important thing is to keep running, to continue to apply concealer, to keep laughing, crying, and praying.
Because Jesus gave us these lives and these crazy stressful responsibilities because He knew we could do it. And we can–with Him. He knew we would need Him and He desires for us to realize that we are dependent upon Him.
So, put the Easter baskets away, enjoy some of your kiddos chocolate treats and cut yourselves some slack. The dirt will be there tomorrow. We can sweep it up then. Today, just be thankful for the little feet that wore those dirt filled cleats. Mommies, we don’t have to be super heroes all the time. Sometimes, we just need to rest our eyes in the quiet moments of life and learn to lean…on Him.
So, Day, yeah, you may have won this round. But I have something you don’t–I have a Savior and an eternity. The sun will set one day on you, dear Day, and the guilt, weariness and fury associated with you will also pass away. And I’ll have victory over you, Day. Real victory.
An Exhausted Mommy Strengthened by the Grace of an Almighty Father
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