We were driving in the van, me the driver, focusing on the road.
The light was red. I stared at it, trying to will the tears back in my eyes.
Not again, not again, not again.
I just didn’t want to cry again. I just wanted to get through, to make it, to keep plodding on.
But there they fell, as the light turned to green, tears from my eyes onto my lap below. I just wanted to sit there at the light, just for a moment, just to catch my breath, just to remember, just to get that moment of clarity. But the light turned green and green meant that even though I wasn’t ready, my foot hit the gas, and the van started moving.
Keep it together.
That was my brain getting frustrated at me for crying.
Let the tears fall, you are okay, you are enough, you are strong.
That was my heart trying to speak louder.
But, light after light I drove through. The tears filling my eyes. Tears of expectations and never ever feeling like I am measuring up. It’s kind of that always feeling behind feeling. There is always more to do, more to finish, more to clean, more homework, more laundry, more issues, more disappointments, and never ever in the more a moment to just sit.
Green light. Keep moving. Keep going.
Motherhood. Captured at the stoplight
How could I be so broken down by motherhood? Isn’t this what I wanted? I gave my heart to those kids?
(Why can’t I ever get the red light for a second longer so I can catch my breath?)
How did it get caught in the frenzy of moving around and expectations of motherhood? When did I lose us, and family, and me in the weight of the busy?
I look at my kids and they are in the frenzy of the busy. I push it on them too. Did you do your math? Talk to your teacher? How about that late work is it done? You need to get up. Hurry up! Why can’t you too get along? I’m so tired of all the conflicts. Pick up those wrappers. Stop fighting. Go to bed.
It’s just a frenzy. This race, this rush. And so often I get to that pressure cooker point, when the tears are stinging behind my lids, and I sit at a stoplight, mid-day, while the light turns green and I don’t have the strength to press the gas.
I came home, put my purse on the table, dropped my keys, and despite all the expectations in front of me – a book deadline, dishes, kids, house, work, health – I walked up my stairs, pulled back my covers and took a nap. An exhausted from holding everything together and forgetting to give herself grace nap. Honestly, I don’t remember much, except an hour later I woke up, tried to breathe deep and felt the weight of the whole world still on my shoulders.
When we try to hold everything together there will come a day when the weight is too much.
A nap wasn’t the answer. Grace, perspective and the truth of my heart mattered more. I wouldn’t trade these years for anything. I’m reminded of that in the moments of breath, in the times where they wave at me across a gym or my college daughter sends a quick “I love you mom” text or my middle schooler actually speaks to me. I know it’s fast and want to save it and all of that but somedays, well, it’s just so hard.
I forgot to breathe. To love me in the journey. To love me the way I love my kids.
I give my heart to them.
You get that right? That giving of heart and yet you live exhausted?
When you don’t allow yourself that breath, that exhale, that “I’m okay” moment in motherhood, then the expectations and rules of the world will slowly suffocate your joy. You and I and all the moms moving around trying to do everything just need a moment, a breath, a pause, but more than that we need to remind ourselves of this truth.
You need to know even if it doesn’t feel enough this:
You are worthy. You are enough. You are doing a good job.
That’s why this is my year of enough.
When I forget to breathe I forget that I’m enough – even if life isn’t perfect. It’s okay that things aren’t always great. It’s okay when my kids get frustrated and cranky. It’s okay when I just need a nap. It’s okay. Because being enough isn’t judged by externals.
It’s judged by the heart.
My heart forgot that truth today at the stoplight. It thought I needed to do more, be more, measure up more, keep it together more. Instead I just needed to know that more doesn’t make me better. It just made me tired.
When my eight year old got off the bus today he saw me sitting downstairs with tears still dotting my eyes. He didn’t see the other stuff I was carrying, all the stuff that was weighing me down, he saw, well, his mom.
I love you mommy. I don’t want you sad.
I love you mommy. My kids didn’t care about all the not feeling like I was enough stuff. They just care about me. They love me even when they fight and when there are the dishes and when I get mad about homework. I just forget. I’m sure you do too. It’s so easy to forget all of the simple things we do every day. It’s easy to just pick up more and more and more weight and to walk around so burdened with life that we forget how to breathe.
This is your breath, sweet mom.
This is your breath in the middle of crazy and busy and normal. This is your reminder, your thanks, your you are worthy and enough and valuable breath. Your kids need you. Not perfection. Not any of that stuff.
I love you too, Samuel. You make my world better.
No mommy, you make mine better.
I am enough. You are enough.
I am worthy. You are worthy.
I am real. You are real.
Now breathe, sweet mom, breathe.
thank you so much for being a part of our finding joy community and sharing my words with your friend. <3