The tears finally spilled over and down my face as I stood there looking at my husband. He looked at me and said softly, “It’s ok. You’ve had a lot going on.”
I stubbornly looked back at him and said, “It’s not ok. I’m a crappy mom. I don’t know why I can’t just get my shit together.” I sniffed as the tears started rolling down faster. The horrible feelings of missing Roo’s class Christmas tree at City Hall and finding out Monkey’s tumble class performance was sold out rushed through me. I hadn’t read the notes closely. I had missed dates and deadlines. It was my own fault.
The Coach asked softly, in amazement, ”Is that what you’re judging yourself by? You work, and write, and take care of the boys, and deal with your parents. You’re not supposed to have your shit together. Do you think you are failing because you don’t?”
A small sob escaped as I answered a simple, “Yes.” All the cracks that everything had been slipping through seemed to open wide as I stood there crying. In that moment, I seemed to fall right through them into a pit of failure.
Between the blogs and the movies and the media, we moms have been convinced we can have the Pinterest perfect home and be the room mom while balancing a job and a life of our own. We’re told 500 ways to organize and prioritize and simplify our lives. If we just do them all, we’ll have our shit together and life will be perfectly perfect.
It’s not true. I have the file folder on my counter for school papers and the clip on the fridge with papers for upcoming events arranged in order and prominently displayed. I write down our family schedule on a Pinterest inspired board every week so we can all see who has to be where and when. I go through the mail when I bring it in and throw out the junk immediately. My counters are clear.
But I still missed the important stuff. The clip on the fridge and the family schedule don’t really matter when you are too tired in the evening to look at them because you spent your day going to work, then having to rush to an ER 30 minutes away because your mom is there. Again. Talking to nurses, social workers, your mom, your dad, until you finally stumble in the door sometime after dinner was already eaten and put away. When you are too tired in the morning to see the papers because you were up every three hours giving your baby boy Tylenol and Ibuprofin and praying the fever wouldn’t go as high this time.
The Coach says it again, “It’s ok.” He beckons me over and wraps his arms around me. He covers me with the grace I so badly need, yet somehow can’t seem to give to myself. He softly tells me, “You are not failing. You are the best mom I know.” The words he’s told me a hundred times or more. The words he will keep telling me until I believe it the way he does.
I begin to wipe the tears away and I feel the cracks start to heal as I rise out of the pit. I know how this will go. I will resolve to be more organized with the notes coming home. And I will be, for awhile. Then life will happen again, and things will slip through the cracks. In this moment, I say a prayer that I can carry The Coach’s words with me into that inevitable next time. That I can find the grace to give myself.
But if I can’t seem to find that grace the next time I can’t get my shit together, I know he will, a hundred times or more.