Alright moms, this one is for you. Can you relate to the following scenario?
All I wanted to do was clean my bathtub. That shouldn’t be too hard, right? WRONG. I could not get the stains off the tub, no matter how hard I scrubbed or what cleaner I used. To compound the frustration, I couldn’t have the kids near because I was using chemicals (which I only ever use on tough bathroom stains; the rest of the time I use homemade cleaners). So as I was upstairs cleaning the bathroom, all three children were in the living room. I could hear everything they were doing, but they couldn’t see me and…let’s just say they were having trouble playing nicely. Ronan was tired and grumpy, and it was generally just a volatile situation.
So there I was, scrubbing as hard as I could but seemingly accomplishing nothing while chaos reigned without me, and things got a little insane. I cried. Sobbed, actually. I disciplined screaming toddlers a little too harshly and took out all my frustration on the tub, which didn’t care and still didn’t relinquish the stains.
Finally I came to my senses enough to abandon the scrubbing, let the two older kids play a learning game on the iPad, and just snuggle my sleepy, teething, almost-not-a-baby-anymore. It wasn’t my proudest mothering moment.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, it’s certainly not to praise my parenting! Looking back, of course, I should have just waited to clean the tub until the kids didn’t need me. Sometimes that’s hard to do though, because it feels like they always need me! In my brain, it was also my job to keep the house clean, and I felt beaten down that I wasn’t doing a good job at this one particular thing.
Again, you ask, why am I telling you this? I wanted to share one of my less than perfect moments simply as a reminder that we’re all susceptible to bad days. We’re all only human still; growing every day, being sanctified and on the journey to holiness, but still so very far away from it sometimes.
Once I realized how upset I was getting, I should have just paused the entire project and given my attention to the immediate needs of my children. It can be really hard for us to do this as moms, because we feel like if we don’t power through in the moment, the project will never get done. I don’t lie when I say that deep cleaning the bathtub had been on my to-do list for several weeks, and there just never seemed to be a good time to do it. So once I started, I felt stuck needing to finish it. That’s all it was though – a feeling. In reality, I wasn’t stuck. I was choosing to push myself to the place of overwhelm.
Of course, sometimes there are situations that are truly overwhelming and we have no choice but to endure until we can breathe again. But in my case that day, and often in everyday scenarios that push us to the point of explosion, we do have more control than we think. We can choose to stop and breathe. Snuggle our children. Make a plan. We can admit our mistakes and then give ourselves the grace our Father does.
Bad days don’t make you bad mom.
Yes, we’re continually learning new strategies, controlling ourselves better and minimizing our mistakes. As we should! But some days you will still be less than the mother you want to be. Some days you might whisper-scream at your children, as I have, “I love you so much but you’re being so hard!” (I told you I wasn’t perfect!)
That’s not to say that we should throw up our hands and quit trying – of course we keep going! Just know, sweet mama, that your moments or hours or days of “crazy mom” (like me sobbing at the bathtub) do not take away from all the sweet moments of connection you also share with your children.
To mother well day after day is an impossible job in our own strength – so let’s stop trying. Let’s lean into our Father God, who has given us these children and has promised to give us strength for each day as we need it. You’ve got this, fellow mamas!
Oh, and if anyone knows how I can get the stains off my tub – I’d love to know! 🙂