You scrambled out of bed this morning to get the kids up and ready for school while trying to get yourself ready for work. The baby needs a new diaper and a change of clothes. The older kids are tired because they were up too late doing homework or at a ballgame or practice. You try to get everyone a decently healthy lunch packed while making sure you didn’t forget to brush your teeth or put on deodorant. You toss your work clothes in the dryer to get the wrinkles out because who has time to iron? You run back through the house to make sure everyone is ready, and two of the kids are still in bed. One starts to cry and the other is moving at the speed of a sleepy sloth. You are starting to get annoyed.
Your husband is at work. He was up and gone before you ever rolled out of bed this morning.
So you get everyone out of the house. Backpacks, shoes, teeth brushed, lunch boxes, permission slips, signed homework, shoes…did I already say that? Diaper bag.. don’t forget to grab the baby. Off you go. School. Daycare. Can’t be late for work.
Work all day, pick up the kids. Hopefully, their homework is done because they have practice until 8:00. There isn’t time for you to go home and start dinner, so you get fast food….again. You feel like you are failing because you know you really want to be that mom that feeds her kids healthy meals everyday, but time is such a limitation.
You rush home, get kids in the bath, start homework, try to get a load of laundry in and tidy up the kitchen after everyone eats. It’s already past bedtime.
Your husband hasn’t made it home yet, but you know he’s on his way. You start to feel a little relieved waiting on some help.
By the time he makes it in, it is time for everyone to get in bed. The kids are sad because they haven’t seen dad today, and you are exhausted because you’ve been flying solo. And your work is far from done.
This is the routine all week and then the weekend comes. Saturday he has to work. Again. Sunday you go to church and then he has to mow the lawn and tend to a few other things that have to be done.
This is not fair. You didn’t sign up for this.
You… are… tired.
I see you, Mama, because I am you. I see the wear on your face. I see the lines around your eyes and the tears that are so close to the surface. I see you trying your very best to be everything to everyone, and many days you feel like it’s still not enough, all while neglecting your mind, body, and spirit. I see you wishing that you had more time with your kids…and your husband. I feel the guilt that you feel for working all day while someone else takes care of the needs of your children. I see it all.
But I also see him.
I see the longing in his eyes to want to be able to spend more time at home. I see the guilt from missing his kids’ most important moments because the bills have to be paid. I see him wishing that he didn’t have to do this everyday, but not really knowing what he can do differently to make things better. I see him wanting to help out with the kids, but schedules are in the way. I see him, too.
These days are hard, Mama. And they are fleeting. Time stops for no one.
So on these most difficult days, know that you are a hero in the eyes of your littles, even if they don’t always show it. Know that these days are just as hard for him as they are for you. As overwhelmed as you are, at least you get to see those sweet little faces in the mornings, evenings, and weekends.
When it feels like you are getting the short end of the stick, keep in mind that he is the one who is actually missing out, not because he wants to, but because he is doing his part to help put a roof over your head. When you feel like giving him the cold-shoulder, it might just be better to give him a hug and a kiss and tell him how much you love and appreciate what he’s doing. After all, you are in this thing together..