Behind the Scenes, I’m a Mess

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 mess.

This honesty.

This reality.

This… is my beautiful, camouflaged mess of a life.

9 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes, I’m a Mess

  1. OK Annaliese…..After graduating the 8th kiddo from high school and surviving two promotions from 8th grade to high school..and three more to come, I am exhausted. I told your dad “My soul is tired.” And I am….I get it girlfriend! Your behind the scenes is different from mine, but we are exhausted. it is hard to enjoy the days so that memories of the years are pleasant. Believe me, I have no answers as I write this. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a revelation, but not likely. No one said being as mom was easy, nor did they say it would test every ounce of human reserves. No one said it would be nearly impossible. The only hope I have is that the people who didn’t tell me these things also walked that same walk. And they are still here to talk about it…and they had no answers either I would guess. They just kept on keeping on- with what strength and courage I don’t know. I’m still too close to the forest to the trees. They couldn’t tell me these things b/c it would either 1) scare me away from our noble profession, 2)make me dwell on the hard stuff and not the small joys, 3)they hoped for us that we would find our own answers.

    Between BIG dogs that bark when anyone gets within 1/3 of a mile from our home, to fighting teenage girls, a disabled child with very special needs (who also barks!!), a snoring husband when I am trying to catch some much needed sleep, to robo calls at all times of the day and night, to no privacy at any time, to car pools and sporting events, to school issues, to listening to four kids cough all night with the spring colds one brought home from school, to getting three kids into college in the fall and trying to figure out how it all gets paid, missing the dog’s vet appointment b/c I was too sick to care or call ( I forgot)…we are probably all tired. I guess we can only hope that tomorrow the answers will come and maybe even sleep. Experience has taught me that tomorrow probably won’t change from today, but I have to hope. I have to believe that there is a light somewhere at the end of a very short tunnel so that I make it. And lets keep on keeping on…just because. All I know is that if we quit, who do our kids count on? On some days I hope that Jesus had a ton of siblings. Then we would know that Mary would understand where we are coming from. I wonder if the Catholic church ever thinks about moms of many many kids and their health-mentally and physically. Why would anyone wish this on all faithful women? I surely don’t know. Hope with me…and we will go through this together knowing we understand each other on some level and will always be there for each other.

    1. You, too, definitely have a *lot* going on in your life… physically and emotionally right now!

      One thing I thought about when you pointed to Mary… while she *only* had Jesus while she was living, she “gets” to have everyone now that she’s in heaven… so, her job is kind of the ultimate “job that never ends.” Makes me more exhausted thinking about it, actually… 🤔

      But, yes… maintaining hope (which I do, usually) is so important! There is also reality, and this was offering a glimpse of it to my readers, too. 🤗

      1. Maybe Mary and I could change jobs for just one day….caring for heaven’s angels cannot be the same as caring for God’s human angels!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I am so glad to hear this resonated with you! I strive to be authentic in my blogging, and find myself getting into bad moods if I’m not! 😉 Hugs to you… you are not alone in the thick of beautiful messiness! 🤗

  2. Anni – I am new to your blog, but after seeing your ‘well-put-together’ Sunday outfit, how to relate? My hair usually sticks out (somewhere.) Last Sunday my hair was wet dashing to Mass (@ least I made it? right? with wet hair clumped in a clip. And, I sat in the back, so no one behind me!) Thank you for this behind the scenes peek – it gives me hope! I don’t even have kids (!?) but can relate to your challenges after a 9-year intensive care-giving gig. (Up several times every night & always ‘on’ with various care-giving hats.) Blessings to you & many (many) thanks for this particular blog. grace, peace & hope – Virginia 🙂

    1. Virginia,

      I hope you enjoy my blog – through all the ups and downs!

      First, I want to assure you – dressing in “My Sunday Best” is a relatively *new* endeavor (think this past year). And, I, too, have spent many years going to Mass with wet hair (or, dirty hair, quite frankly). I had to chuckle… I recently realized a couple weeks ago – my veil that I wear hides my messy or dirty hair. 😂

      Secondly, you are so correct – the point is you. are. there! In my opinion, God doesn’t care what we wear, as long as we show up and are as attentive as our station in life allows. I just had an epiphany last May (2016) that I was veiling out of love and deference for Him, and was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt to Mass, but then dressing in heels and a skirt to go celebrate a graduation later that day. It didn’t seem genuine to me to not wear my better outfits to hang out with Him. (And, as a SAHM, Mass affords me an opportunity every week to look nice)! 😳

      Lastly, thank you so much for your comment! I try to present a real-ness to life, and am completely humbled that this message resonated with you.

      I hope you will enjoy my musings as you follow along! 🤗🤗

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