Tonight I told my fifteen year old daughter Grace to turn the oven to 450degrees so that we could have frozen pizzas for dinner. Gourmet, right?
I was tired.
Like crazy at the end of your rope don’t say another word to me kind of tired. I know, we don’t talk much about that kind of crazy, but you know what I mean.
So when the oven buzzed and I went to my freezer to pull out the two gluten free pizzas I just bought and didn’t find them I realized that my tired was now being replaced by deep frustration. Because not only were there no pizzas but ALL the frozen food I just purchased eight hours ago in a massive trip to Target following an eleven day business trip with canceled flights, circling and the scariest landing ever was not in there.
I muttered words. Many of them.
And then walked outside into the 90 degree temps only to find two bags of once frozen food now sweltering in the sun behind my van.
They were there.
All day long.
I did the rationalizing of it couldn’t be that bad, right? And then I picked up the pizzas and they were limp and the organic beef that I splurged on roasting and the butter a pile of liquid that now ran on my feet adding just a bit more insult to injury.
So I screamed that frustrated scream that we all have but don’t talk about.
And I came like a mad woman in the house just mad mad mad.
Who didn’t bring that bag in? There was one job I gave you. That was it. And now? Now I have to go back and spend another hundred dollars at the store. You guys don’t care.
Did I tell you I was really really upset?
It was just the straw, and a giant one, that broke my weary mom’s back in that moment. So instead of throwing two gluten free frozen pizzas in the oven I found myself driving back to Target to rebuy everything that I had to throw. I stormed through Target. Grumbling. I put everything back in – every item found again. And then, then as I checked out, my heart lurched with perspective.
A year ago today the fifteen year old daughter of a friend of mine died in an unexpected accident.
And in that moment of realization I saw the total tick to $129. And at that moment tears filled my very very weary mom eyes because I knew that this, in the scheme of really annoying and frustrating and aggravating things, would be a blessing to deal with by my friends. My fifteen year old was home making mac and cheese and tidying my kitchen because she felt so badly for me. They were dealing with grief. My Target bill was nothing in the life scheme.
How do we balance it all?
How do we keep that perspective in our hearts when we’re in the middle of those frustrating days?
Because, no matter what we all say, we will have them. We will have days that drive us nuts and we will have food left out on the driveway and we will have kids that fight and we will have moments feeling like we don’t measure up. And sometimes we will want to quit or we will question our worth and we will feel alone. But we all know, deep deep down, that it could vanish so fast.
The blink of an eye.
I think it almost comes down to this idea of grace. This truth in loving each other in those moments when we’ve reached our boiling point and this loving of each other. It’s in not demanding perfection but rather in being there to help each other brush off the discouragement and sometimes being the person that holds the other person up across the finish line.
I told the cashier in Target my realization. And in telling her I also told her that I was grateful to be able to replace that food. And that I was grateful for my kids at home. And that I was grateful for her listening. And gradually that grumbling turned to gratitude. And in the gratitude I found myself putting two new bags of rebought food in my car thankful.
I know it’s hard, moms. I know. I’ve lived so many hard days that sometimes it’s hard to see the good. I’ve had critics tell me that I shouldn’t write about the hard stuff and it hurts me. I’ve felt alone and have had to fight. I know. And sometimes gratitude is the last thing on our minds. But, I’m telling you, I’m asking you that even in the really really hard stuff to find just one thing that is good.
Give yourself that grace.
So I came home. Brought in two new bags of groceries and said that this food was really worth $200 now. Told my kids that I loved them. Told them I was sorry for getting so crazy. Grabbed the ice cream from the fridge and went to my room and turned on the Olympics and let the tears fall.
There’s no shame in having a frustrating day. Or reaching the end point.
And today, today I was gently reminded when that Target total broke one hundred that motherhood and moments and time with our kids — even in the most aggravating times — is really one thing.
And for these days I am grateful.
ps. tonight, no matter what kind of day you’ve had, will you make a point to tell your kids you love them? that, my friends, is priceless.
I really needed to hear these words. And that’s an understatement. Thank yii fr your beautifl, vulnerable, Spirit filled heartfelt words. This weary momma neede them.
There’s no shame in being tired and frustrated. Who WOULDN’T have been frustrated in your shoes!
To answer your question: Every single day I’m grateful to have my kids and tell them up-teen times how much I love them. You see, their dad died 6 years ago, his life cut short by bipolar disorder and suicide. His children inherited his illness. Each day my goal is to see them through one more day and hopefully ensure their story doesn’t end the way his did.
I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. Thank you for the blessings that you have pointed out to each one of us May you and your children find peace and comfort in each other and from our Heavinly Father.
I’m so glad you are doing what you are, to give your kids a better path. I lost my son this time last year to the same thing you lost their dad to. I do wish, every day, that I had spent more time loving him and less time trying to “teach” him how to manage things for himself (like not spending all his money on a new iPhone) so when I was gone, he wouldn’t end up living under a bridge somewhere, but that is where my guilt ends, because I DID tell him all the time how much I loved him and I know he knew. I have a Valentine’s card from him just 4 months before he died, telling me that! Bless you, sweet mom!
How could there possibly not be one comment to this lovely moment suspended in time for all eternity?? Thank you for reminding us to stop and take stock of all that we have been blessed with…please keep reminding our numb society of what is really important…that of which is human beings. God bless you and your children.
Thank you for this. Tonight I got worked up over my kids not cleaning up, not listening. Usually they are such sweet kids, but tonight I was so so tired and just frustrated. My husband finally told me to go to my room and I went grumbling. And then I read this. I have a friend lying in a coma, across the country from her husband and home, from a car accident that took the life of her 7-year old boy, and with her daughter at a hospital in another state. I’ve been so sad for her family, and your words bring back perspective. Now, I need to go apologize to my family. Thanks for helping me remember.
I commented on Facebook but had to comment here as well.
Oh I feel this. Sometimes you don’t realize the grief is slapping you in the face until you’ve been hit with the 2×4. Then, oh then, you have to remember to give yourself grace and ask forgiveness from yourself and others. Been there, done that and will likely do it again…soon. It has been 14 years for us since we lost our first. We have four more here since reminding us of her laughter and her stubbornness. Some days despite knowing how life is short, I just need to have a few minutes to myself. Thank you for the reminder.
I also love the picture and wanted to ask where you might have gotten it. Thank you.
Perspective. Sometimes changing the way we see things truly changes everything. ❤️
Truth!! We all have days like this but in the end I am so blessed that I have 2 beautiful daughters to roll their eyes at me, drive me crazy, be forgetful, and all the things teens and tweens do… But when they are happy excited proud hurt or any other strong emotions.. They want their mama!! That is a blessing!!!
I know how this frustration feels. Have been there with both 4 kids and a husband. Now, husband has died and children on their own. Wish I had a do over of the last 50 yrs. Many factors move our feelings and reactions. I know that now. Bless all who are struggling. The important thing is you recognize the frustration and try to do better the next time.
Thank you. Just thank you. I don’t have time to write you all the ways your posts help me, but they do do do. Thank you so for writing them and taking time and energy to share them as well. Your words a such a blessing to me.
When I catch myself grumblin, I have started saying to myself “well at least I am not carrying my children out of Syria on my back or in a boat”. I remember the footage of that three year old baby’s body washing ashore in Greece. I find that situation and the terror that those people are living through to be so tragic and horrifying and really, it reminds me instantly that the trials of my privileged American life are really not something to get so worked up about.
michelle, thank you so much for sharing this, really needed it today !!
Please do not listen to the critics and keep posting about the hard times. I have some seriously hard times and I keep it real on Facebook because I want people to understand that I am real on social media because it would be oh so easy to only talk about the good stuff, but that is not my life. I have a 2 year old who honestly has speech issues ( he barely talks) and a 9 month old who sees more doctors than my husband and I combined! Not to mention husband is in National Guard… so I am alone a lot. I am tired and frustrated most days. I always kiss my kids good night. I always make it a point to spend some one on one time with the 2 year old before he goes to sleep and I tell them all the time I love them even if I do not like them very much (mostly applies to my 2 year old). Thank you so much for this because I can totally relate!!
Thank you Tawnya for your encouragement.
And if you only write about the good times, there will always be to see who think and say how lively it must be to have a perfect life. So keep about the hard and the good. We are all blessed to have some of each. Blessed, because just as you saud, when we look at others hard, we often are down on our knees praying for them and thankful for having perspective. Thank you Rachel, as always. You know how much I love your words to moms.
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on these things! Especially thank you for sharing the hard things.
Please don’t listen to the critics. There are moms out here that NEED to hear that there are others in this boat that are going through the same things!! Please, you have a great perspective on life with kids. Being a mommy, mum, ma, mooo-om is a hard job in life. Just as with any other job, we need advice, comfort, kudos, and encouragement as we get through this. Each and every child we have is different and each and every day is different. Every moment is a new moment that we and our child have never experienced. Trials and tribulations to live through together. In this day and age with the computers and technology, it’s a great thing to be able to “google” anything and find help, answers, e-hugs. You don’t know it, but your writing is an e-hug for me. Thank you so much for your words.
Your “critics” can go fly a kite!
Hi Rachel, I’ve been following Findingjoy.net since 2014 and I love your blog so much. I just want you to keep writing the way you do because you’ve made many, many mothers around the world going. Because you always remind us that the normal mundane days, the frustrations, the hiccups are the things that make us strong.
Wow. Just wow. Your words humble me and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much.