The other day I was washing dishes while our almost-2-year-old daughter watched Frozen on the couch for the third night in a row (thank you, Jesus, for TVs). Since becoming parents, the hubs and I are not obsessive about cleaning or dishes (because—marriage), but that particular night the kitchen was a disaster, and dishwashing duty couldn’t be avoided. I had my first class call for a course I just started taking (shout out, Boss School!) and queue of emails I hadn’t been able to answer since that week was Aria’s school’s Spring Break at (REMINDER: SHE IS 2). I had 2 guest blogs due, a video workshop to script, a group coaching program I was passionately rewriting, some homework, and an email to send out to my subscribers.
The reason I’m explaining all this is to give you a peak inside my brain’s to-do list. I was stressed and overwhelmed. I had been snapping at Kev since he came home, and my mind literally felt like it might explode with all the things I had wanted to complete in the last few days, but had been unable to (with said 2-year-old on Spring Break).
Kev looked over at me and asked if I was okay.
“Nope. No way. Not okay,” I replied.
“What’s wrong?” he probed.
“I’d say my anxiety is at about a 9 at this moment,” I explained.
Then Kev said something to the effect of “but you wanted to stay home with our baby.” He said it in the nicest way possible, of course. And he MEANT, “Can you shift your attitude to be grateful that you get to stay home with Aria when she’s on Spring Break instead of going into work?”
I know he did.
But it didn’t FEEL like that’s what he said, and it touched on something that had been percolating in my mind for a while.
“Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean I’m not grateful,” I shot back.
And then I got all intense on his ass and the poor man wished he had never said anything.
“This is the problem with society today! We put so much pressure on women to enjoy every SECOND of parenting, when realistically, sometimes it’s effing hard and we wanna scream at the top of our lungs because we’re being pulled in a million different directions and trying to balance it all, and it’s just not realistic! Why can’t we focus more energy telling mothers, ‘I know today is a hard day and your plate is so freaking full you want to burst into tears, and I know you still love your baby and appreciate her beautiful, perfect little face every time she looks at you, or throws her milk at you or hangs on your leg howling for no reason while you’re trying to pee, and that’s NORMAL. Just because you’re having a hard day doesn’t mean you’re not grateful.”
And I meant every word. Just because I’m having a bad day, week, month, trimester, whatever DOESN’T MEAN I’M NOT GRATEFUL. Life is not shiny and happy all the time, people. Life is full of human moments when our anxiety levels are at a 9 and the only thing to do about it is to feel those feelings, wash the stupid dishes, apologize to your saintly husband, put the baby to bed and then work until midnight. Not only is that okay, I think it’s the norm. I meet and coach way more women who tell me stories like this than, “I wash the dishes every night with glorious abandon and really have no stress.”
Let’s keep it real, shall we?
I am the happiest I have ever been. Literally. I love my family. And I love my choices, and because of that every day I wake up and I truly do love my life and know that I am creating it just the way I want it. And there are still days or weeks when my plate is full, and I’m struggling to juggle it all and it’s Spring Break, and I just collapse in overwhelm. And on those days, I use every single resource I have cultivated over the past year to slow down, shift my mindset, repeat a mantra, have an important conversation, stay up late, vent, ask for help and just…. get it done. There’s no magic formula for getting shit done. You just have to do it with as much grace as you can muster. Oh, and then, you will probably have to apologize to someone. Don’t leave out that part. Every time I apologize to my hubs it opens the door for a much deeper conversation about what is really happening in my head and heart that day.
Some days it will feel REALLY easy, and some days it will feel RIDICULOUSLY hard. Some days you’ll forget it all and go out and drink your face off (not sorry) and some days you’ll know THIS is what needs your time and energy right now, and it IS worth it for some stress. And you do it all for yourself, for your family, for your baby who makes you happier than any other thing ever did and for the things you can’t even anticipate yet.
Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean we’re not grateful. We can do hard things, but let’s be honest, we’re not going to do them with a smile on our faces every single time.
Do you have a story to share of a recent instance when it was HARD and you felt ungrateful? Tell us in the comments below so we can collectively squash that shiz.
Shiny, Happy and Human,