I have been working very hard the last couple of weeks. I’ve been making Halloween costumes. I’ve been making a saint costume (twice) for Magoo’s All Saint’s Day Parade. I’ve been making hats for a craft fair and hair bows. I’ve also been helping the girls with Halloween crafts and I’ve been sewing badges on scout vests. I’ve been making headbands the girls ask for but won’t wear. And today I made a butterfly costume for an American Girl doll.
And I am exhausted. Most nights my head hits the pillow and I can’t believe I made it through an entire day.
Are all of these things necessary to do? Of course not. But part of being a mom for me is engaging in the girls’ lives in this manner. It’s making stuff for them. It’s showing them what they can do with their own two hands. It’s getting invested in their activities. It’s important to me that when Magoo walks through the gym during the parade of saints that she knows her mom made her costume. It won’t be as good as the others — either the store bought or the homemade ones. Making costumes is not my speciality. But it’s how I show love. It’s how I show them that they are worth my time. That they are worth my attention. And that they are worth my creativity.
And then I found myself sobbing in the shower about an hour ago so very overwhelmed by it all. All of this outpouring without much filling up was starting to chip away at my reserves.
And then as I was measuring Magoo for her second Mary Magdalen costume (the first couldn’t even pass for anything,) and she started saying she wanted to be Saint Michael, I almost lost it. And then when she complained as I was trying to get the hem right, I almost lost it a bit more.
And so I went in and I took a shower, and I let myself lose it. I let it all out.
I desperately wanted to talk to someone. I wanted to let out my frustration. I wanted to speak of all of the love that went into the work and all of the frustration and fatigue that was the byproduct.
But I couldn’t.
Because when you are a stay at home mom, people say you can’t complain. They say you have to feel gratitude only for your station. They say to vent is to spit in the face of your blessings. And I know this because I have let out my frustrations and I have been told that I then don’t deserve what I have.
And so I’m at a loss. How do I let people know that my frustration is encircled in gratitude? That my exhaustion is encased in love? That a mom can feel two conflicting emotions at one time, and that one doesn’t negate the power of the other?
I didn’t know if I should write today because I did not want people to think that I am ungrateful for what I have. I don’t want them to think my love is lacking or my appreciation dulled. But then I read something Momastery wrote where she said we can take our broken and make it beautiful. We don’t have to hide from our mistakes and our shortcomings. We can give them to God and let him create beauty out of them.
And the only way I know how to make beauty out of my weakness is by sharing it with the world. By telling people that it exists. That yes, love and pain can coexist. Fatigue and joy can be neighbors. And that there is nothing broken at all by this.
I felt so very alone crying to my bathroom walls. And I’m sure some of you out there feel the same way. And so I’ll take my pain, and I’ll put a pretty bow on it, and I’ll pass it along to you so that when you are choking on your exhaustion you will know that you are seen and you are heard and you are not alone. So that you can know that your love isn’t lacking because of your pain. So you will know that sometimes this all is just so very hard, and it’s supposed to be, and there is nothing wrong with that. That there is nothing wrong with you for struggling.
I can’t write songs. I can’t act. I can’t draw. I’m not an expert conversationalist, and I’ll never be famous. But I can share myself. It’s all I have to give. And it’s the only way I know to make my broken beautiful.