A few weeks ago, my sweet, adoring, easy-on-the-eyes husband had a severe case of verbal diarhea. He didn’t mean to say what he did – at least he didn’t mean for it to come across the way that it did.
He was trying to be helpful, you see, but his testosterone riddled brain betrayed him and caused him to speak without fully considering the ramifications of his words.
And the results were ugly. Scary ugly. Bless his heart. There is the ever so slight possibility that I may have overreacted slightly. But don’t tell him that…
The thing is, we’ve had a long couple of months. Like so many people the world over, the work-life balance is particularly difficult these days when the work requires much more effort to sustain the life part of the equation. He has been working long, grueling hours, which means I have been home alone, with the three hooligans we are proud to call our own.
I’m not complaining. This is a short moment in life and as moments go, it’s immensely blessed and I am deeply grateful for all we have. But being mom is a lot of work.
You all understand…
Throw in all the activities and school work and friendships and commitments and life that accompanies children, and you have a recipe for stress.
And I was stressed.
So when my husband offered to try and help me out more, in his own unique, terribly misinformed way, I crashed. It all became too much. I couldn’t be everything to everyone. I couldn’t get everyone where they needed to be on time. I couldn’t find the childcare needed for younger children so that I could be a part of the older children’s activities.
I just couldn’t do it.
And then I cried. I don’t know why I cried. I hate being that terribly out of control girl who cries when she’s overwhelmed, but by God I was overwhelmed. And I think I scared the poor guy.
“Why are you crying?” he asked, his hands all aflitter as he tried to figure out whether he should give me a hug or shield his face.
“Because I’m not supermom. I can’t be supermom. I wish I could, but I can’t. I don’t know how to do it. It’s too much and I can’t do it.”
I topped it off with a good old fashioned foot stomp. I was in full form, my friends. Full. Form.
I wish I could say that my little outburst made things better – that it allowed me to vent and release, thereby providing me with a refreshed burst of energy that would carry me through these last few crazy weeks of school.
But I can’t say that. No. I was more like the Gulf Coast oil spill. The initial outburst only gave way to a slow, simmering, bubbly brew of bitterness that was threatening to seep into the very core of who I am. It was a slow-moving leak. And, also like the oil spill, it was an entirely preventable explosion.
You see, in the craziness of life, I forgot to take my own temperature. I forgot to check my own gauges. I forgot to take a few moments and assess my well-being. I was staying up late, getting up early and going at hyper-speed in between. If I had even a few moments to myself, I filled them with work, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning – everything that needed to be done, but nothing that could be finished.
Last week, I had a bit of a forced relaxation. My husband went on a golfing excursion with his dad and brothers and rather than go back to the daily grind at home, I decided to stay with my mother-in-law, where my access to the internet was limited, my commitments were few and far between and there was little excuse to do anything more than sleep, read and enjoy my kids.
You know what I realized? I was so caught up in the cycle of being supermom, that I forgot to be mommy.
I forgot what it was like to just sit and watch my kids play. I forgot what it was like to take a nap and not feel guilty for laying my head down in the middle of the day. I forgot how it felt to truly laugh with my kids. In short, I forgot to live.
I am now home and we are back to the daily grind. All of the committments and responsibilities met me at the door and gleefully clapped as they tried to tighten their noose around my neck once more. But I brought home with me a bit of resolve, and a mind that was finally, blissfully, relaxed. I am ready to take on committment and responsibility with full resolve and zero angst!
My battery is recharged – perhaps not to 100%, but enough to get me through the final push until the end of the school year. I am regaining my confidence. And I feel like I can do it again. I can be mom – maybe not supermom – but just…mom.
And my kids showed me last week that they far prefer the imperfect but happy mom to the on-top-of-it but stressed supermom. It’s a good thing, too. Because my tattered and torn supermom cape was looking pretty ragged.