"Mommy can you color with me?" That's the third time I've heard that question just today. And there's no telling how many times I've heard that question this week, despite the fact that I have indeed colored in the rare moments that I can actually sit and do so.
My five year old has a knack for asking me to play with her or do something fun right when I'm elbow deep in a sink full of dishes. It never fails that when she asks me to do these fun things with her, I'm tackling the never ending list that comes with homemaking. Or there's a one year old running around climbing every thing he can find that needs my attention. Not being able to be the coloring enthusiast my daughter asks me to be makes me a little sad sometimes.
As mothers our lists are never ending. Laundry needs to be done. Someone really should mop my floors (oh that's me) and I'm pretty sure the sheets need to all be washed and changed. And that's just the start of it. If we slip up just a bit or pause things to have some fun, in the back of our minds we know that there's so much we really need to be doing to keep things running smoothly.
When you have chores, work and adorable little people begging for your attention, that feeling of not being enough, of being stretched too thin arises and you suddenly feel like you're sinking to the bottom of the fish bowl. You're exhausted, you're annoyed and quite frankly, you really just don't want to color right now. Doesn't that make you a horrible mother?
You begin to wonder if you're enough. You begin to question why does this always play out like this. You wonder how all of the people say, "let the chores wait." Do those people just live like slobs or something? I simply can't just let it wait. You begin to wonder just how much damage are you doing to your child each time you say, "Mommy can't right now."
You try to explain to your kids that mommy has work to do. Whether that work entails a full time job, a work from home job, or even just the work of a homemaker, you see those big eyes staring back at you, grasping onto a slither of hope that you'll just say yes. And when you say yes, you're often left feeling like you're neglecting someone or some other thing within your home. Even when you say yes but your mind isn't truly in the game (because as women our minds are always multitasking), you think there's something wrong with you. Why can't you just release all of the "have to do's" to just enjoy the moment?
This post doesn't have an answer for you. I'm not here to wrap this post up with some grand advice that makes everything seem better. I'm here to tell you that when you feel like you're not enough, that when you feel so stretched thin to the brinks of tearing apart, when you feel like you're failing, I'm here to tell you that you are not alone.
You are not alone in being trapped under the mile long to do list of being mom. You're not alone in feeling unworthy for such beautiful, little people begging for your attention. You're not alone when you feel like you're failing them. You my friend, are not alone.
There's no magical cure. There's no rainbows and unicorns to just make the hard go away. All we have are moments. Moments in time to try and grasp the joy of what we can before the time fades away. We have moments here and there to sneak in the play, to stop what we're doing to give all that we can. We have moments to create memories.
No one said it would be easy. In fact, it's really freaking hard. But I write to you today to tell you that I hope you (and I) find more of the moments. I hope you squeeze in the time to find the joy in the mundane, to find the joy in the hardships of the day and to find the light in the long days of it all. To find the moments to pause.
There is plenty of light, joy and love in our days. And it's all wrapped up in those little humans begging for us to just sit and color.
While I don't have the answers here's some tricks I try to do to allow me the moments to sit and do these things with my kids:
- Save them for when the baby goes to sleep or naps.
- Have daddy be on standby with the baby while you color or play with the older ones.
- Involve the older ones in chores to help teach them about everything you have to do and to have "help," which can speed up the time it takes to complete things.
- Do bath time earlier and make these activities the last thing you do before bed (coloring, board games, movies, etc...)
- Give the baby a snack in the highchair and color or play games at the kitchen table with baby close by.
- Go OUTSIDE. When you feel like your home is a wreck but your kids need your attention, get some fresh air!
- Go do something fun, away from home. Sometimes stepping away is a good refresher for you and the kids.
- Give yourself some grace. Even when the tears fall, the feelings hit hard and you feel overwhelmed. Find your grace.