My dam burst last night. That dam of self-control that allows me to run hell for leather at 150 mph all day long, just barely making it, with zero buffer time and a zillion deadlines.
I was running down the stairs at 9:30 PM after having been up since 4. I just wanted to get one last thing done before I went to bed. I missed the last step, landed HARD and awkwardly on my right foot and went sprawling. And then I curled up in a ball and started weeping.
My husband came running, what, what is it?! What’s hurt?
I sobbed and sobbed, and the words just tumbled out: it’s my foot. And Andi’s brain tumor. And I’m worried about my mom. And mad in advance about this kid who might hurt my kid. And I didn’t get this project done. Or that one, or that one. Or that one either. And I’m working out more and eating less and I’m still fat. And the house isn’t clean. And I overscheduled myself for tomorrow, badly. On and on I sobbed.
My husband rocked me there on the floor at the base of the stairs.
I’m juggling so many balls, I said, I’m trying to keep them going, I’m trying. I’m trying so hard.
Put the balls down, Honey, he said. Put them down.
My day was not a disaster, it wasn’t. There was a lot of good that happened yesterday, some great even. It just wasn’t perfect; I’m just not perfect.
I know you’ve had days like this too. Why do you think I keep telling you that you don’t have to be perfect? It’s because I have days when I beat myself up to the point of sobbing on the floor. Days when my heart breaks because I’m not perfect, and I want so much to be. At least a perfect mom… can I at least be that?
So very sadly, we can’t be that, even though we want it with all our heart. But we can be good. Hear this, is it really important: we can be GOOD.
Even though I’m going to tell you not to work and worry yourself into a crying pile on the floor, I know you’ll have bad days, because you’re human. Life happens, hormones happen. So I won’t tell you not to have bad days, I’ll just tell you to see them for what they are: days. Not a bad life, not a bad woman, just a bad day.
I hope you have someone in your life who will comfort you, tell you you’re wonderful, help to carry your load. If it’s your husband, awesome, maybe you can give him some of your balls to carry (and didn’t THAT sound awkward…) If you don’t have that man, find another grown-up to lean on. Your parents, your best girlfriend, your sister or brother; if there’s not one person, cobble together a team of support.
And on the days when your cool comes crashing down, you can let yourself have that good cry (it’s better than throwing things, it’s better than screaming). And when the wave subsides, pause and remember that though we can’t be perfect, we can be GOOD.
Put your balls down for a little while. A night, say. Rest, recover. They’ll all be there tomorrow. And somehow, magically, they won’t look so daunting then.
And remember good, Mamma. A good mom. A good woman. You can be that.
And that’s enough.