I recently had someone share the pearl of wisdom, “The days are long, but the years are short.” As I digested that powerful nugget, I realized just how true that is.
My family, just like everyone I suspect, has long days. Temper tantrums rule the day as a four year old continues to test just how far his independence can take him, and as he learns emotional regulation. Night-time fares little better, as the youngest continues to wake several times a night under the guise of needing to eat, when in reality, she is checking to make sure I’m there… with her.
It could be so simple for me to allow exhaustion to take permanent hold and begin fostering feelings of resentment toward my children, and toward my husband who works hard for our family.
Throughout my blog, I write extensively about cherishing one’s primary vocation as a wife, and treasuring the secondary vocation of motherhood. In the midst of the chaos, the chores, the exhaustion, I admit – it’s difficult at times to see the silver lining. But, it’s there! We just have to dig a little further at times to find it.
And, I have struggled lately to take my own advice to heart – particularly about not allowing the exhaustion and resentment to take root.
Logically, I know my children are just that – children. As such, I have been failing to remember the oldest has only been alive four years, and while he knows some things, the world is still a big, intimidating place for such a little guy. I know that he is experiencing everything through bright-eyed wonderment, simply because he hasn’t yet had an opportunity to become jaded… by events, or other people.
I also logically know my husband works long hours, away from home, and deserves a break when he comes home. He deserves to have dinner made, a wife who is excited to see him, and a wife who isn’t wearing her exhaustion on her sleeve. I am aware my husband is just. as. exhausted as I am.
This past weekend, my husband pointed out I have recently been snappy at him. I didn’t apologize for my behavior at the time, simply because I didn’t have anything to say in response which would have been productive. Instead, I bit my tongue from his accurate assessment, and threw myself into writing previously committed articles, snapping at my kids when they interrupted.
The more I processed my husband’s correct accusation over the course of a couple days, I realized a few things:
- I am utterly exhausted – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I haven’t had a good, quality sleep in over eighteen months – and, with exhaustion comes irrational thoughts. Which, for me, is manifesting as I overlook my husband and his contribution to our family life.
- I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Realistically, nobody asked me to bear the burden, but in my exhausted state, I gladly picked up and placed the mantle around my shoulders. This, in turn, adds to my irrational state, as I slowly begin to resent others, and the way they seemingly, without a care in the world, move through life. It also feeds my exhaustion.
- As much as I write about being a wife and mother – I am just as much of a hot mess as the next person. I don’t have all the answers, and I am struggling with the best of the other wives and mothers – to balance the needs and demands of my family and my personal desires. And, selfishly, I don’t “die to self,” as often as I would like to admit.
I can keep wading through, blaming others for my exhaustion or carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Or, I can choose to own up – that I have been a hypocrite – writing about the “ideal life,” while overlooking the mess (literal and figurative) in my own life.
Only I have the power to change my trajectory.
I have been blessed with the tools to change my outlook; I just need to put my money where my mouth is, and pick up the tools. I am ready to reclaim these long days, and want to make sure my husband and children see me grateful for their roles in my life.
So, why am I writing this?
Because this is real… it is honest… it reminds me why I began blogging…
To remind others that there is a “behind the scenes.” And, behind the scenes, it gets messy. Even those of us with a ton of answers still struggle through the motions at times. We don’t have it all figured out. And, it is okay.
This… is my beautiful, camouflaged mess of a life.