The universe works in wonderful ways. Have you ever noticed there are times when you really need your spirits lifted and the right message comes to you at the right time and you feel as though it was meant just for you? It's funny how, when we need it the most and if we pay attention, we get the love and validation handed to us.
This was the case with me the other morning while I was scrolling through Facebook after I sent my kids outside to burn off some energy. I was fried and feeling like I was at the end of my rope and had nothing left to give. Summer was coming to a close, there was a full moon and I was trying to make things special for my kids on their last week of summer vacation and it wasn't appreciated at all: They were bored, they fought about where we should go for ice cream and wouldn't stop arguing with each other.
The harder I tried to get in a better mood and distract them, the more of a mess I made. I was thanking the heavens above that school was starting in a few days. We all know that feeling doesn't come without a huge helping of guilt: I should enjoy these last few days of summer. They're growing so fast, what's wrong with me?
Then I came a video from writer Tara Wood and her words were exactly what I needed at that moment.
She begins with talking about how she likes to keep it real and "she tries to stay positive and laugh through the fuckery." But she was having a doozy of a day, because we all do. She had snapped at her kids and "spoke to them in ways she didn't like at all."
And I was right there with her. I'd had the same type of morning and was wallowing in shame and guilt as I tried to block out their bickering, for fear I was going to lose it yet again.
You would be hard-pressed to find a parent who has not had a day when they lost it first thing in the morning then worked hard to make up for it by trying to stay positive and keep on momming their ass off, even though they were going to fall apart any minute.
Moms go too long without breaks, we find it hard to ask for help and, despite our best efforts, we find ourselves snapping at our kids over little things. Then we take a step back and realize what we need is to separate ourselves and take a respite—and that's incredibly hard to do because guilt warps our brains into thinking we are somehow failing our children. But it's necessary for our well-being and our kids' well-being.
There are days it can dry up your soul. You can love your kids more than anything and still feel like you've lost pieces of yourself. It is normal.
Wood goes on to say, "We all lose our shit but it's important to forgive ourselves. It's not always easy but it's always worth it. If you have a crap day, you can forgive yourself and start over, OK?"
Wood is right. We all lose our shit—even the moms we think have it pulled together all the time, I guarantee you, have lost lots of shit. And the mothers who claim they never lose their patience with their kids or have needed to take a break are the ones who lose it the most, I promise you.
Being a parent goes beyond being hard. There are days it can dry up your soul. You can love your kids more than anything and still feel like you've lost pieces of yourself. It is normal. There is nothing wrong with you. And you are not alone.
Beating ourselves up over a bad day is inevitable. I can sit here until I'm blue in the face and tell you not to let it ruin your week. I can tell you to stop doubting yourself as a mother. I can beg you not to lose sleep over it and that tomorrow will be better, but I know better.
You are going to feel like crap about it. You are going to lose sleep. You are going to feel less-than and wonder if you are the only one who feels like she can't take another minute.
But maybe, just maybe, if you can remember it happens to us all, it will somehow help you to forgive yourself—even if it's just a little bit.
While it may not feel like it in the moment, tomorrow is a new day and your kids will still love you—meltdowns and all.