We all have those days, the ones where we feel like it’s just too much.
My most recent was on a Tuesday.
We started homeschooling in earnest on Monday. Two days prior, my 2 year old showed us that he was definitely ready for potty training, so I felt we had to give it a go. I’ve also started waking up early to run again.
And I knew I needed to be showered and ready to go before the kids woke up because we had so many big things on our plate, and I didn’t want my 2 year old peeing somewhere while I was in the shower. 🙂
So I was waking up earlier than usual, but still going to bed later.
And on Tuesday, Andrew, my 2 year old, staged a potty revolt. He would barely tinkle and then say he was done. Five minutes later, he would pee on the floor or in his underpants. It was bad, y’all, especially for someone like me who hates chaos and mess.
And the baby was cranky…
And the mommy was tired…
And a friend was coming over to visit that afternoon, so I needed to clean.
And…whatever your And is.
We all have them. Those days where it all piles up and it’s just too much. The previous day, I knew I was relying on Christ for patience, wisdom, and grace with my kids. But Tuesday, I felt my flesh rearing up. I lost my patience. I blew it twice. And then I cried.
What do we do on those days? I guess I don’t know what you should do, but I can tell you what I did.
I Identified the source of stress.
For me, it was a few different things. The cranky baby with the child who needed instruction combined with the potty training boycott was way too much.
I’m not an octopus; I just don’t have that many hands.
For a time, we sat in the bathroom working on phonics, but in the end, I just scrapped it. It’s Kindergarten. It’s not that big of a deal. We’ll catch up later.
The other source of stress was having the house clean. I was trying to clean with the kids but the baby was unhappy and my children were sort of cleaning, sort of playing, but in the meantime one would start peeing again. It was wild.
I let go.
Of expectations. Of a need to control. Whatever it is, let go of it. For me, it was the house cleaning. I finally said forget it. If my choices are a messy house or kids who think their mom is a monster, then I’m going with a messy house. And that’s what I did.
Dinner was junk of the frozen pizza variety. We had to do it. It was either that or pick up junk, so we went with cheap junk instead of expensive junk.
I focused on priorities.
The baby. He needed me. I didn’t know why he was cranky, but he was, and it’s unusual behavior for him. We would find out the next day that he had an ear infection, so I’m glad I gave into his demands for comfort.
The potty trainer. I stopped worrying about it and went back to the basics: Keep it positive. That’s my goal with potty training and at some point, I had stopped being positive and started resorting to demands and pushiness. So I focused on positive reinforcement and reminding him to potty, making it fun again. By the end of the day, his boycott was over.
I hit the reset button
I Tapped into the Power Source
Any of those things alone would’ve been difficult: The potty training, the ear infection, and the homeschooling. But combined, they felt impossible.
So I prayed. I confessed to God and my kids. And then I practiced frequent prayer again, asking God to help me do things that felt completely beyond my ability:
stay patient with my kids,
be the octopus mom with a gazillion hands,
and serve with a joyful heart.
Three things I’m not very good at. But He is good. He is faithful. He provides abundantly more than we think He can.
Wednesday was better.
Thursday was great.
Friday we were done.
In the moments of chaos, I tend to think I’m going to stay there forever, and I just can’t stand chaos. But that’s really not true. There are seasons of chaos, or sometimes just hours of chaos, and then it all goes back to normal–a crazy normal, the kind of normal that comes when you’re muddling through the little years, but it’s a form of normal that I can handle because God enables me to.
How do you handle those days when it’s all just too much?