Somedays, I think my daughter hates me. Today was one of those days. She woke up at 6:30 am, and as usual, she ran to her door (which she cannot yet open on her own) and began to bang on it repeatedly, yelling “Daddy! Daddy!” over and over again.
Well, daddy had to get up and get ready for work. So, while he got in the shower, I rolled myself out of bed and immediately, right then, my day began. I didn’t shower, get dressed, or even bother to wipe the crusted mascara from beneath my eyes. I went to her door, and despite being half-asleep, I looked forward to seeing her rosy sleep-filled cheeks and puffy bright eyes on the other side.
But, she wasn’t happy to see me. She wanted her daddy. My heart sank as she cried and tried to run past me to find him. I had to block her path and pick her up against her will to change her soggy diaper and keep her from interrupting Daddy’s shower. The day started with a battle, and today was going to be one of those days. It was going to be one of those days when everything felt like a battle – a battle to get my daughter dressed, a battle to get her to eat her lunch, a battle to convince her to put the toy back on the shelf at Target. It was going to be one of those days filled with nothing but crying, and kicking, and screaming.
Today was going to be one of those days when I can’t find myself, a day when I go missing.
Not all of my days are like this. Usually I love being a mom with every ounce of my being. But these days still happen from time to time. It’s like I lose sight of why I chose to stay home with my children. I feel overwhelmed by feelings of failure. I feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks and worries and to-do lists running through my head. I feel overwhelmed by the dreams I want to invest in but don’t have the time to. I feel like I’m drowning in motherhood. I feel angry when my husband goes to get my daughter dressed and she happily obliges, while I have to chase her for 20 minutes and bribe her with sugar just to get her socks on. I feel neglected and tired and unloved. I feel like my efforts have been in vain. I can’t remember what my purpose is, who I am, or how I got here. I feel like I’ve gone missing.
And on these days, I send my husband angry texts, venting about every one of my daughter’s offenses. I threaten revolt. And after forcing myself to remember that my husband is hard at work too, I catch my bearings, take a moment, and declare, “I need a break.”
Because, I do. I need a minute to stop worrying about everyone else. I need a minute to think about more than diapers, and nap routines, and how I’m going to survive until bedtime. I need a moment, or two, or ten, to just be by myself.
So, my husband tells me he’ll take our daughter for a few hours. I know I should feel guilty about not wanting to go with them. I know I’m blessed to stay home, to have a loving husband, and a beautiful healthy child with a second one on the way. And I am thankful. But I don’t feel sad when they pull out of the driveway without me. I feel light. I feel a weight being lifted. I walk into the silent house, stand in front of the mirror, and wipe the tired from my face before starting fresh.
I slowly put myself back together. I get in the car, take the long slow route, and drive to Starbucks. I order my favorite drink full of sugar and calories, and even that indulgent pastry.
And then, I sit. I sip slowly. I turn off my brain and I watch the people around me. I take a break. I remember how thankful I am to have a husband who I trust so completely that I can truly turn my “worry” off. I remember that I’m still here, beneath the crusted stretchy pants and the craziness. I remember why I love being a mother, why the bad days don’t make me a failure, and how the Lord is calling me to do this thing called motherhood, and do it well. I caffeinate, rejuvenate, and relax.
I find myself at Starbucks.