Today Was a Hard Day

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Desperate to delay beginning the day, I hit snooze twice to silence my usual 5am alarm. For no particular reason, I just want to procrastinate, keep my head against the pillow, and not worry about anything for the next 18 minutes.

Before The Day Begins…

Before my feet hit the floor, I am consumed with a surge of emotions regarding the day ahead. On the way to the kitchen, I begin my mental to-do list for the day. For moms, our to-do list often involves other people and rarely ourselves. Even with a strong cup of coffee in hand, I am not ready to be pulled into chaotic morning routines, inevitable wardrobe drama, and my favorite game of where is my…“.

With no rest for weary, I wake the kids, make lunches, kiss my husband as he walks out the door, and put on a smile. We have one hour before school drop-off and two hours of stuff to get done. Halfway through breakfast, I realize I have asked my children a question about an after-school activity and mentally checked out of the conversation before I even heard the answer. I am half-listening to my children, only paying attention once the breakfast table bickering begins. Eager to dismiss the arguing, I raise my voice.

My words feel harsh. Or maybe it’s my tone.

Or maybe it’s both.

School drop-off is quick, and I hurry back home. I have a solid half hour before I fire up my computer to begin my workday. There are many different ways to spend these thirty minutes of solitude. I could unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, or exercise. But as I stand there locked in a staredown with a pile of laundry and the elliptical covered in dust, I melt into the couch and watch an episode of The Golden Girls instead. Even in the moment, when I know it’s not the right choice to make, I do it anyway. Shortly thereafter and right on cue, I feel the mom-guilt wash over me, knowing I could be doing something more constructive with my time.

Getting Down to Business…

With a few good belly laughs under my belt, the show ends, and I head for the home office. With a fresh cup of coffee, while reading over emails and reviewing the days’ agenda, I quickly begin making additions to my already long to-do list. I enjoy my work immensely. It brings me deep satisfaction, but my work/life balance has been off lately. Sadly, I find myself putting in far more effort and hours at work than I do at home with my family.

The day is busy, so I eat lunch at my desk (typical). After hours of sitting and staring at a computer screen, my legs are sore upon standing and my eyes tired. I should have taken more breaks, stretched, and walked around. Deep into a project, I struggle to settle on a stopping point for today. Time is like sand through my fingers as I realize it’s almost six o’clock and dinnertime.

Working from home has many advantages, but it offers no opportunity to peel off the workday during a carefree drive home while belting out my favorite hits from the ’80s.

When I do travel to town for work, the excruciatingly long detour only serves to ramp up my anxiety leaving me perfectly exhausted.

Missed Opportunities…

It’s too late to get a proper dinner on the table, so pizza is on the menu tonight. My lack of water intake today (and denial that I need an updated eye exam) has left me with a headache that is getting worse as the evening wears on. Suddenly I feel like poor company at the dinner table. There’s still a matter of shuffling kids to sports practice, so the husband and I conquer and divide the duties. He will drop off, and I will pick up.

Head throbbing, I excuse myself to take a hot bath. I could have enjoyed the silence while immersed in lavender bath salts, but (against my better judgment) I opt for online grocery shopping instead.

Back at home from volleyball pick up and desperate for a little “me” time, I rush my kids to wind down, shower, and jump into bed. Typically, bedtime tuck-ins are my favorite part of the day. Mostly because my children still let me tuck them in. It’s also when my children are ripe for conversation where we unpack the day’s events and laugh. Instead, tonight was a quick kiss on the forehead and wishes for a good night’s sleep.

As I turn off their lights and close their doors, my heart feels heavy, and I wonder…did I ask them enough about their day? 

With my own bedtime approaching, I consider my options. I am halfway through a great book and could knock out a few more chapters. Maybe I could hang out with my husband in the garage while he does, umm…whatever husbands do in the garage. I could tidy up the house and prep lunches for tomorrow. And, as always, there’s the elliptical giving me the stink eye from the corner of the room.

Unapologetically, I decide to eat an entire bag of peanut M & M’s and watch Firefly Lane on Netflix. Because I don’t have the emotional energy to do anything else at this moment.

Sitting In Judgement of Myself

I sit here in judgment of myself, my choices, and the disconnection with my family today. And, because I can easily (and often) overcomplicate the simplest of things, I halfway convince myself that I have failed at motherhood as a whole instead of recognizing a tough day.

A single, solitary day.

Admittedly, I am a bit of an overachiever, always wanting to do more and a little better than what is expected. So it’s tough to feel like I have missed the mark with my kids (or husband) today. Wondering what I could have done today to be a better mom or wife while also wondering…why am I so hard on myself? As if I am not entitled to struggle.

Some days it is hard to do my best. Today was a hard day. So much goes into motherhood, making it impossible to do my best and be my best all the time. It’s the invisible weight we carry as mothers.

Mistakes Are Lessons…

Today I have to dig deep and offer myself grace and forgiveness. Without it, that one single, solitary, not-so-great day will bleed into another one. Mistakes are lessons, and I am here to learn. Learning the hard way is better than not learning at all. My children love me – my bad moods, short temper, not-so-proud moments of profanity, and all.

My children see the best in me more than I see it in myself.

Today wasn’t my best day.  I’m OK with that. I won’t let it define me. Today is not yesterday, and it won’t be tomorrow. Today is simply today. Maybe I could have done better today. Or maybe I did the best I could. But I will try to do better tomorrow.

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Born in Alabama (Roll Tide!), Heather moved to the Pensacola area at the young age of 7 and has called this area home ever since. After narrowly surviving distance learning while telecommuting, she is now concentrating fully on her career as a community coordinator for a local court-based program. Heather received a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of West Florida and has over 15 years experience working in child welfare, the school system, and as a crime victim advocate. Married for 14 years, she and her husband are the proud and busy parents of two beautiful girls, whose interests in volleyball and sailing keep the family calendar packed. Heather fancies herself to be an organizer of chaos, leader of household misfits, and below-average gardener. When she isn’t avoiding the elliptical, cheering on a tournament or regatta, or searching for a new recipe, she enjoys traveling, sailing, camping, and finding new ways to make a positive impact on her community. Recognizing she is a constant work in progress, Heather loves connecting with others, self-reflection, and strengthening her village, all while trying to breathe in the simple pleasures of life.

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