Several evenings ago my son came home from riding in the combine and sat on the couch. He looked at me, smiled, grabbed his blankie, and trudged over to the recliner I was sitting in. I opened my arms and he climbed up onto my lap. There used to be so much more room in this chair, I thought to myself. I snuggled him tightly with both arms wrapped around his legs and waist, trying to cradle him as I’d done when he was a baby. He looked up at me with tired eyes, smiled, and rubbed my cheek with his tiny, dirty hand and gave me a kiss. In that moment, my whole world stopped. Tears filled my eyes as they are now while I recall this moment in as much detail as I can, because these moments pass so quickly and so quietly, that they are often forgotten when we are busy getting lunch ready to go to the field or running to the car so we aren’t late for church. I don’t want to recall those moments. In those moments I am stressed out, yelling directions at each child, “Dawson get your shoes on! Keeley, get in YOUR seat, not your brothers! Harper, please stop crying. DAWSON!! GET. YOUR. SHOES. ON!”
Why write about it then, you wonder. So do I. But, here’s the deal. I feel that in order for us to know that we are not alone, we have to be willing to share the not-so-good parts of our lives. I’m not saying we need to express every emotion for the world to see on social media. There’s enough of that nonsense happening already. At the same time, when we are doing the most important work of our lives, the work that God has given us mothers and fathers, we have a tendency to start wondering why we are the only mom, wife, daughter, sister (dad, brother, son) in the world who can’t handle the small things in life—like putting kids in a car to leave or getting to our meeting on time—without having a meltdown. We know the reality is that nearly every other parent out there is experiencing the same struggles, but in that moment we don’t feel that connection. Instead, we get in the car, the kids are excitedly chatting to one another or calmly waiting for the destination and we begin to beat ourselves up for the way we just lost control. Glancing in the rearview mirror, we offer a smile to the child who is forward facing so that he will smile and show the rear facing babies that all is well. Then, we silently pray forgiveness and promise that next time we will be more prepared. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Our reality is based on either our fear of failure or our struggle to improve. Fear creates stress and anxiety. It bubbles up as we count down the minutes until we know that it is time that we need to be getting kids ready to go, dinner out of the oven, bedtime routines started, or make it to the game on time. Minutes move at warp speed and our heartbeat seems to be keeping the same pace. Stress ensues and we find ourselves irrationally barking orders and making it the kids fault that we are going to be late. Seriously. I swear my son moves like a sloth every time I utter the words, “Hurry up! Please, buddy! We need to go and we are late!” I can almost see his shoulders slump, his head hang, and he takes very careful, slow steps towards the shoes and searches carefully for a match. It’s exhausting. Improvement takes planning, organization, and preparation. I say that it is a struggle, because for some of us, it goes against our natural tendencies to “grab and go”. Picture this: Each child has a pair of shoes laid out and ready to be put on. The car is already packed with whatever is needed for the trip. Snacks are available, water bottles are filled and placed in their seats, and all that is left is to put shoes on and load each child. It’s a struggle for me to plan ahead, but I’m working on it. For my own sanity and the preservation of my children’s sensitive emotional stability.
I’ve started applying a focus blend while the kids eat breakfast. It gives me the ability to think clearly and take step-by-step actions towards our goals for the day. In addition, I apply an uplifting blend to give me a positive attitude regardless of the mishaps that can occur even when you have a well thought out plan. I swear my daughter, Keeley, plans her poo schedule to thwart my carefully constructed plans to get out of the door on time. Each child has their own blend for their individual needs: Dawson for focus and attention (he’s 4, it’s a requirement), Harper for her tendency to behave as a diva, and Keeley for her digestive health (poor baby). I diligently apply their blends after breakfast and again before nap time. We have a good day. We laugh, we have dance parties, we roll around on the floor tickling one another until we cry. We lovingly snuggle before naps, or when we are sad that brother or sister took a toy, or when we are happy, or when it’s been an hour and miss the contact. It’s a struggle to improve, so we use our oils to help.
I had a bad day. I knew it was going to be a bad day when I woke up. My head was pounding, my neck was throbbing, and I could barely move my shoulder. Bulging discs are no joke. Mine is between C5 an C6, is pressing on a nerve, and I have a first rib that causes more trouble when it decides to flare. Before I even got out of bed, I knew that it would be the kind of day that my goal would be to “get through”. Because I woke up later than usual, I had less than 15 minutes to make my coffee and take a few sips before I heard the girls awake. I made an executive decision (which is my right as the Home Administrative Director) to let the girls hang out in their room until I was finished with my coffee. Trust me when I say that it was a necessary decision. I applied my Pain Blend and rubbed deeply into my neck and shoulder. I knew it would take a few minutes to seep through my skin and into my blood stream, so I got the girls up and nursed them. I felt very little relief and became despondent. I poured my three children bowls of cereal (it’s a treat and they were thrilled) while I sat back on the couch, barely able to move at that point. The rest of the morning was completely uneventful. I put Baby Bum on the television and let the kids watch as I tried desperately to find a comfortable position. I heated my neck/shoulder, and then I iced it. Applied more oils. Put oils under my tongue. Then I realized that I was guessing what I needed when I didn’t need to be. I pulled my scanner out and within 30 seconds knew which oils I needed.
Throughout the morning I cried, a lot. After my scan, I applied the oils it suggested and laid on the couch with tears streaming down my face. Harper and Keeley climbed up to play, and I cried more. I couldn’t handle their crawling over me, but I didn’t have the heart to tell them to stop. Harper stopped, looked at my face with a quizzical expression, reached her tiny hand to my eyes, and wiped my tears away. I smiled through my tears and told her thank you. She smiled, laid her little face on mine, and rubbed my cheek. She was mimicking what I had done for her countless times and it made my heart soar. In that moment, I looked at her little face and saw the love reflected. Keeley joined her and laid her head on my head. Dawson came and rested on my legs. There we were. A perfectly imperfect family (minus daddy). Suddenly, as if God were speaking to me, I felt His message clearly: You don’t have to be the perfect mom. You just need to love your children. I’m sure I raised my voice at least a dozen times since that moment, but I also know that I made sure that my children know just how much their momma loves them. They are my life. They are my blessings. They are my prayers come to life. You can’t have a perfect life, but you can know that You Are Not Alone.