About two months ago, a friend gave me a beautiful, tiny heirloom tomato plant for my backyard. She knew I love tomatoes on summer salad, and I’d admired her garden in the past. Such a thoughtful gift, right?
Undoubtedly yes, but my brain’s immediate response to the plant wasn’t gratitude. Instead, it was: “Great, one more thing I have to keep alive.” (I did not say this out loud. I thanked her profusely.)
I know this is a terrible, jerk response, and that having to water a plant twice a week is not really such an onerous chore. But rather than beating myself up for my gut reaction, I want to acknowledge the legitimacy of how I felt when my friend handed me the plant – the feeling that I could not handle adding one more tiny responsibility to my plate.
Is it OK to admit out loud that sometimes, being a grown-up and a parent feels really overwhelming? And that the stress and overwhelmed feeling comes out of the blue for no particular reason? I hope so, because I’m admitting it here.
I adore my family. I love my husband and my children, and I’m super excited to be pregnant with baby #3. I love my two cats (especially the really old one who needs expensive prescription food and basically never leaves her heated pet bed). I even love the dog, who is pretty but functionally useless. I enjoy my job, and I love working on CluckCluck and this blog.
That being said, some days I feel like I barely make it out with my sanity intact. Some days feel like a crazy, harried race from the moment the alarm clock goes off in the morning, to the moment I force myself to turn off my computer and crawl into bed at night. On those days, we make it to school three minutes after the final bell rings, I barely make a dent in my to-do list at work, I forget to buy a birthday present for Saturday’s birthday party, I blow off scheduling the roof repair guy, and I feed my kids frozen French toast for dinner. Then after the kids are asleep, instead of writing a new blog post or doing my expense report like a responsible adult, I curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and watch two episodes of House of Cards back to back.
I used to be pretty hard on myself on days like these – I’d mentally kick myself for being lazy or disorganized or whatever adjective seemed most appropriate. But recently, I’m trying to give myself a break. Because I am pretty sure we all have those days.
Of course we are blessed and lucky to have our families and our lovely lives. But I am giving myself permission to admit that some days, just making it out alive with everyone else alive too is the best I can do. And that is OK, and nothing to feel guilty about.
So keep on keeping on, my friends. Get done what you can get done, and don’t berate yourself over the rest of it. Are your kids alive, reasonably healthy, and loved? Then you win. Gold star to you, for real.
Be kind to yourself. And if you remember to water the plant, consider it a bonus.