Here we are in the throes of summer break. The free schedules, lazy afternoons, late bedtimes, otter pop hangover mornings. The warm air wraps itself around your shoulders, noses covered in newfound freckles, the smell of sunscreen and sunshine and play lingering on your skin as you slip under the sheets and fall into summer sleep. It’s dreamlike at times.
But also, I’m going a tiny bit crazy.
I feel a little like a pendulum, waving between the bliss of abundant family time, a whatever the day may hold wonder and an oh my goodness if these children ask me for one more snack I will die attitude.
I love my kids. So so so much. I would die a thousand deaths for them. I would walk through fire, jump in front of a moving vehicle, swim every ocean, and whatever.
I look at each individual little face and I nearly cry over my love for them.
But together? My three boys are either in a murderous rage toward one another, huffing around because of some brotherly injustice, or crying as though someone has just run over their dog approximately every hour of every day. There are small snippets of time where they are playing harmoniously, exploring some corner of the yard, quietly building their legos, riding their bikes around our quiet street. Snippets, people, snippets.
I have asked them 47 times in the last 12 minutes to please stop asking me for snacks and shows and treats. I just want to eat my second meal of the day at 2pm without having to jump up and do something for someone else. I promise it will only take me ninety seconds to eat if you just let me sit down and eat.
I waiver between feeling sad that there are only 33 days of summer left and seriously contemplating making a countdown chart to the first day of school. And then feeling really guilty that there are moments during the day that I am not reveling in the joys of my children’s presence, but rather praying for the grace to not tear my own hair out as I clench my teeth at the sound of yet another battle.
Here’s the thing. You are still a good mom if you feel spent. If you feel like you’ve run out of patience and you need a break, and you don’t enjoy every minute of the day, you’re still a good mom. I really believe that this motherhood business is the most sanctifying thing that could happen to a person. It is hard. Some days it is damn hard, and that’s just reality. It’s beautiful and messy and terrible and amazing and glorious and awful and every single gamut of emotions you can possibly experience in a 24 hour period. Heartbreaking and mind boggling and completely fulfilling and not at all fulfilling and guilt inducing and full of love. It doesn’t even make sense, so maybe don’t try to make it.
What I want is for us to collectively let go of the guilt. Because the thing is, that guilt just shows that you care. You are pouring your life out. I’m pouring my life out. And sometimes it’s hard. But it’s also all I could ask for. When I sneak in their rooms at night and watch them sleep and they are soul crushingly peaceful and cute and I can’t even deal with the amount of love in my heart. Or I see Ivah jumping up and down with joy when I get her in the morning, or when George sings to me, or Frances spontaneously wants to snuggle, or Eddie asks to sit on my lap after dinner, or Lute wants to tell me every detail of the story he just read. Those little moments are the ones that remind me that at the end of the day, we’ve really got it good.