I can’t find my math sheet.
That’s how my morning started.
It was supposed to be an easy morning. You know, come on, we all were blessed with the awesomeness of our time change that secretly deposits an hour back in our lives. Well, blessed except for all of you with little babies who now wake up before the sun crosses the horizon and you’re not allowed to rest for that extra hour because guess what? they’re awake at 5:07 am. But anyway, it was supposed to be a lovely, carefree, not stressed Monday morning because we all got sleep.
Mom. Mom. Mom.
(insert and visualize a panicked nine year old)
Where is my math sheet?
And with that simple question my morning of peace and sipping coffee and packing lunches and writing notes went out the window to the 39 degree Minnesota temps and crumbled in seconds.
It was just a little thing. A math sheet that we worked on together on our lazy Sunday afternoon – a sheet with some grid thing on the back that I had no clue how to complete and thus I was going to write a note asking for explanation. And let me tell you I took several years of Calculus and Physics in college – so I get math. But this grid? I have no clue. None.
But now…now I was stuck tearing apart a room looking for a yellow math packet with Halloween candy math on the back. Not there, not under the bed (but a whole bunch of other stuff), not in the trash in my room, not in the bathroom (he wanders with things), not in the laundry room, and on and on.
Where did you put it? Why isn’t it in your folder? Where are your socks? Oh my word…you didn’t empty your lunch box. What is going on? Hurry up!! We’re going to be late.
And the anxiety crept up and the fairly clean house quickly turned into a dump it all out look for it everywhere where is the math sheet mess. All over one lost, and still very much lost, math sheet.
I emailed the teacher. Explained.
And the whole time cut myself down.
If only you had made sure it was in his folder.
Why didn’t you pack the lunches last night?
When are you going to find the matching gloves?
Why did you let under the bed get so messy?
You are such a bad mom you really should be more organized.
And on and on and on.
Over a third grade math sheet.
I judged my mothering skill on the fact that my nine year old, who is a free spirit and lacks the organizational skills that FranklinCovey would endorse but has the heart of a saint and helps his momma out in so many ways (that’s him holding down my piano music at my sister’s wedding so it wouldn’t blow over), lost his math sheet. Again.
I see the mistakes. The times where I yell too quickly. The times where the homework isn’t done right. The ripped holes in the knees. That their lunches aren’t the most creative or always nutritious. I see the messes, the holes in the wall, and the marker that even the best Magic Eraser won’t remove.
I don’t see the mom that spent twenty minutes digging everywhere and searching for that math paper for her nine year old.
She did that because she loves him.
We do that stuff as moms and miss out on the power of that. Instead we judge judge judge ourselves so hard. We lose the grace. We let the weight of motherhood crush our spirits and define our worth.
I know you try hard. And I know you fall. And I know you lose math sheets too. Or maybe things are so terribly messy in your life and you blame yourself. I get that. I do that too. I know that there are days when the smallest thing can make you want to cry. I know that there are days when even though you love your kids you’re just tired of being a mom. I know that there are moments when you look at the other moms in the line to pick up the kids and you think how do they have it all together? Or, if you’re me, you think I bet they didn’t let their nine year old lose their math sheet.
I just want to tell you it will be okay.
It will be okay if the math sheet is lost. It will be okay if your living room is messy. It will be okay if you served that boxed macaroni and cheese. It will be okay if you didn’t read as much as you hoped too. It will be okay if today you just wanted to scream and hide in the bathroom because you just had enough. It will be okay if their socks don’t match. It will be okay if they watched extra television. It will be okay even if you feel crushed by all you need to do.
It will be okay.
There’s no operating manual for motherhood awesomeness. There is a great deal of advice – blogs, books, television shows, our own mothers, and on and on. But in it all there is you and me and we’re just trying to figure out this mothering thing day after day after day.
We’ll fall. Stumble. Lose math sheets. Have kids who think we’re the worst.
But that doesn’t define us.
It doesn’t make a good mom or a bad mom or any of that.
Think about this: I tore Caleb’s room apart looking for a math sheet this morning. Moved his bed. Went through all the books. Sorted papers. Folded his clothes. And wrote a note to his teacher explaining the fact that we actually performed our own vanishing act here in Minnesota that would rival David Copperfield’s disappearing plane act.
Because I love him.
And he loves me. Look at what he made. I mean, come on. That. Matters. More. than that math sheet and me being perfect. He didn’t see all of that.
He sees me.
That’s what motherhood is about, sweet mom.
It’s about you loving your child and doing the hard thing. It’s about recognizing that Monday morning went down the toilet but that it doesn’t define Monday afternoon. It’s about giving, caring, and trying.
Never once in any manual is there a guarantee for it being easy.
Hard, life giving, bed moving and digging through things, work.
We just need to see that too. We need to remember that on the days where we feel crushed. We’re just human. We’re people. We’re women. We’re moms.
And we’re also most incredible powerful. Brave. Courageous. Loving.
So carry on. Tell a friend. Bless her too with the words it will be okay.
And don’t let the small things taint your awesomeness.
It will be okay.
(looks like we’ll be doing a make up math sheet tonight…)
[Tweet “There is no manual for motherhood. What matters is not stuff, but love. “]
Needed that today, thanks, Rachel! Trying to take on a whole lot more these days so that my daughter, who needs a hand lately, will not feel overwhelmed. Instead, it’s me who is overwhelmed. This morning was a very Monday kind of Monday morning, including the no sleep from worry. Thankfully Monday afternoon can be a do-over. 🙂
Thank you for that message of grace. I was in a panic bc I couldn’t find my son’s jacket last night and had to send him to school in a borrowed sweater.
Same scenario here except it is my 19 year old grandson who lives with us. He texted me last night and said to please make sure he is up by 7 am so he could go to work. So, I go down and hear his alarm blaring, and he is sound asleep. I knock on the door, softly call his name and tell him it is time to get up. He doesn’t move at all…so I turn on the light and say his name a bit louder, and he turns over and turns off his alarm, speaks to me and says he is awake. I hauls some trash back upstairs with me and toss a few items in the dirty clothes…ask him again if he is going to get up and he says yes. After 15 minutes I don’t hear the shower so I call him on his cell….but no answer, so I hang up and text him…and no reply, so at 7:24 I go down there again and his alarm is blaring again but he is sound asleep! UGH! I say loudly this time…”Will, you went back to sleep…time to get up NOW! He jumps up and says ok, and the next thing I hear from upstairs is the shower. He was supposed to be somewhere at 8 to pick up a co-worker…so, he is hurried now and so I open the garage door to save him some time. I know he probably needs some money for lunch since he will be in another town at lunch time…so I hunt for some cash. He comes up and asks me if I have seen a five dollar bill he thought was lying on his bedside table…I say no honey I saw a one dollar bill but that was all. He is puzzled now and is distracted and trying to figure out where the 5 went? I give him the cash I had put together and tell him not to hurry too much because we don’t need any tickets! 🙂 He takes the time to give me the longest hug and tell me good bye, and that he loves me…and tells me to tell grandpa he loves him too! That makes it all worth it for this grandma! 🙂 Some days go smoother than others…but everyday is a blessing!
I needed to see this in the worst way today. Thankyou thankyou thankyou!
Blessings to you and you are welcome.
I am bawling. You have written my story. Since my husband asked for a divorce six months ago, there is so much more guilt I place upon myself than ever before when it comes to motherhood. I am it around here, and so I must read to them, even though the 2-year old wants me to lie down with him while the 8-year old wants me to read to her while the 10-year old just needs to do the math sheet. All at the same time. We lose the math sheets, I yell, I fall asleep on the floor next to the baby on the middle daughter’s birthday, failing in my duties to tuck her in and wish her “happy birthday” one last time. The entire house is messy, I am so behind at work, and I feel intense pressure to use every minute of every day I have with them, and yet I need to grade papers and get sleep and do the dishes and wash the pee-soaked sheets and sign the school paperwork. So, from here to there, thank you for understanding.
I just read this and it rung so true for me… I did wonder though whether the maths sheet ever did turn up???
A single mom in the middle of Africa, who is running on two hours of sleep, with two teenagers and two little’s (foster kids) in the house, and a cazillion stresses, who just put the kids to bed an hour early, because she is so exhausted her body feels like cooked pasta, eye sting, cant think straight……needed to hear this tonight. Thank you! Not feeling so bad about the early bedtime now. It will be OK!
Who is apparently too tired to finish her own name. 😉
You made me smile. Thank you.
Every time I read your blog, I get the feeling you were inside my head! How did she know that?? Thank you. For every single word.
You are very welcome, Monica
I so needed this today! Negative self talk is the only self talk I seem to have time for. Thank you for this!