So I have an embarrassing story. One that most people might shy away from telling. But not me! I feel like my embarrassing stories might somehow make someone else feel better about their life and situation. So I’m going to tell it. And I hope you’re laughing with me as you read.
A couple weeks ago we had a little dinner with the women in my Bible study group. Let me start by saying these women are amazing. Amazing moms, amazing friends, amazing people. They have walked through things with me and with each other in very loving, godly ways. I admire these ladies and they are good friends.
However, this particular Monday evening, I must have been feeling a little overwhelmed. Well, I know I was. My life has been quite overwhelming for the last couple months, and I’ve been just getting by in general. At dinner, we decided to share something fun for summer. It could be a recipe, fun activities, ideas to do — whatever you can think of. Well, I’m not too great at thinking of any of those things, let alone planning enough in advance to bring something to the dinner. I am a hot mess through and through and that is what I do best.
It started with one mom sharing how she makes summer lists with her kids and family and they check them off in the summer. They were cute ideas and I was like “oh maybe that’s something I could do!” She talked about how she put things on the list that she knew they’d do, so that it made it easier for her. That seems doable. I could do that.
Then another mom started talking. It was the same type of thing, sharing ideas of what to do in the summer. Different activities and ideas. This mom is a good friend and her kids are older than mine. They are good, well-behaved, lovely people so obviously I look to her in how her and her husband have been raising them.
I don’t know where it happened. At what point I started to feel overwhelmed. Maybe it was the point where they passed these papers around to show the summer activities and how they track it. Maybe it was me slowly realizing that there was no way I could handle something like that this summer. Or any summer for that matter. Whatever it was, I felt the pressure rising from my stomach, to my chest, all the way up to my eyes. I felt like I was going to break out in tears for early no particular reason, and you guys, I couldn’t stop it.
I remember holding the papers that had been passed around (she had made copies for everyone of course), waiving them, looking around the table and asking myself — partially out loud — is this for real? Do people really live like this? Do people really have their acts together enough to do this? Is anyone else drowning right now? No? Just me then. Okay.
So what happens next is the most embarrassing part. I tried to talk. I tried to ask if everyone did this sort of thing. If I was a bad, lazy mom for not being able to get my act together. But as I tried to talk, I got all choked up. I couldn’t contain it any longer. I started to cry right there at the table at Macaroni Grill. Yep, tears down my face and everything.
I realized that although it was already pretty bad, it wasn’t going to get any better. I needed to leave before I made a complete fool out of myself. (too late, maybe?) I got up and in a tear-filled, choked up voice I muttered out something along the lines of “I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m sorry. I’m just… I gotta go.” And I walked out.
Yep. Mom/friend/person of the year right here. To make matters worse, this isn’t the first (nor the last, I suppose) that life has gotten the best of me in a public place. Luckily, it takes more than that to embarrass me, and as bad as it was, I’m okay with being human.
Even though I lost my cool there for a second, I’m okay. I’m okay with not having it all together. I’m okay with not planning activities for my kids. I’m okay with not making lists and not checking them off. I’m okay with allowing my kids to be lazy in the summer and to not be their personal cruise director. I’m okay with the way I have to do things.
In the interest of being totally honest here, I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I wish I had it together. Sometimes I wish I was the mom that could do it all. I wish my kids weren’t dirty when we left the house and occasionally wore matching clothes. That they weren’t late to school and never missed something because mom forgot. I wish our house functioned like a well-oiled machine and that I made dinner every night. And yet, this is not my reality.
I am coming to grips with the way God made me. I don’t have it all together. I am not organized. I drop the ball on occasion, more than I would like, and I probably have to work harder than most to function on a semi-normal basis. It’s really okay. This is the way my kids are being raised. I can’t change who I am. I can work hard on the things I need to get better at, but I can’t be someone I’m not.
So this summer we are gonna lounge by the pool, play basketball in the front yard, play with Legos, swim at friends houses and have friends come to ours. We’ll go to the beach, the park, and sometimes not go anywhere at all. We’re not going to go on fancy vacations or mark off items on a list. We’re not going to have plans for our days and the boys might watch TV until 11. The boys will entertain themselves and it will not be my job to create fun for them.
And you know what, we’re probably all gonna be okay.
If you can relate to me and my story, please be encouraged. You’re okay. Even as a hot mess, loving your kids and being a family in a way only your family can be is the most important. Not being a family like anyone else’s family. Comparison is the their of joy. Be who you are. Be the family you are. Make the best of whatever life has thrown your way.
However, know your limits. This is why when people ask me if I want three kids, they get a solid NO. Even if that third kid was a beautiful little girl.