I am no different than any other parent. Tired, sometimes broken even. Always moving from one task to another. Get the boys up. Get the boys fed. Get the boys dressed. Drive the boys to two different schools. Run errands. Shop. Clean the house. Make the beds. Wash the clothes. Work. Make dinner. Pick up boys. Clean. Wipe. Diaper. Change. I fight with the key pad on the outside of our garage door. It tricks me into thinking the door is going to close all the way this time, as I stand out in the cold. The door comes down and then goes back up. I smash the buttons again, and again. I wonder why we can't fix this.
I charm the three year old into the bathroom and cajole him into sitting on the potty. He pees. Two minutes later his pants are soaked. Why is he fighting this? Another clothing change, another load of laundry.
I remind the five year old not to jump in the snow when he isn't wearing boots. Every day I remind. Every day he stomps in the snow and must change his socks. Why do we never have enough socks for this kid?
I clean, organize, wash, play, tickle, read to, sing with. And sometimes I feel as though I am doing all this from the outside, like I am watching someone else do it. Like I could just run away. At times likes this I feel broken.
I sit in the old University of Akron rocking chair in my youngest son's bedroom watching him throw yet another fit in his crib. If I leave, he screams. If I stay he screams. He loves me, he hates me, this one. At times like this I feel broken.
It is times likes this that I do not feel like I am living up to every one's expectations. Our home is pulled together enough but not perfect. Our snow isn't always shoveled. Clean laundry lives in baskets instead of drawers. Everyone feels this way sometimes- it is the never ending job of parenting, the constant juggling of work and kids and husband and house that slowly tear us down. My husband and I are parenting together but yet apart, as we divide and conquer. We need time for us to be us again. I want to be with my husband. I want to be with him, there for him, and always standing beside him. But sometimes it is too much.
Sometimes I have broken up too many fights between the boys. Sometimes I have reached too far inside myself to come up with something fun to do to stave off my kid's boredom. Sometimes I have cleaned too many kitchen floors in one day and picked up the same toys too many times. Sometimes I can't stop thinking about my youngest son's future and his current needs. Sometimes I just want to give him juice without negotiating which cup he will drink it out of or be able to put him down, for just a minute. Sometimes I just wish I could relax and not always be on high alert that a storm is brewing. At times like this I feel inadequate, broken.
We all think it. If I were a better mother I could handle it all. If I were stronger I wouldn't occasionally break down over my youngest's needs. If I were just a better wife I could meet my husband's needs.
This is where I was the other day. Alone with my boys in the living room. Feeling broken, again. Not an every day feeling for me, usually I have it all together. But on this day I was sitting on the edge of the sofa, sitting on the edge, period.
My little three year old was playing with the nativity set on the table in the living room. It is a puzzle, of sorts, and when the pieces are placed against each other it forms a circle. Each piece depicts a different part of the story; Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men, the Shepherd. He brought me the piece with Mary and Joseph.
"Momma need baby Jesus?" I took the piece from him. "Thank you Mishka."
"NO! MOMMA NEEDS BABY JESUS!" he yelled at me and pushed the piece towards my heart.
I don't talk about my faith all that much, and I know I should. I know I am called to share. I struggle with that. But I know I cannot do it alone. I know that everything laid on me is given to me by God, and I know that it is nothing compared with what is laid on the shoulders of others. Sometimes I walk too far away and can't hear what God is saying to me. And when that happens, a three year old can hand me a baby Jesus and set my heart back the right path.
"It goes here, momma.", he said, pushing it towards my heart. "It goes here."