On Christmas Eve, I ran into a distant relative at the check-out line at the store. After a few minutes of catching up, she told me that she reads all of my articles and couldn’t believe that someone who has it all together was out shopping on Christmas Eve.
There I stood with no make-up on, hair not even dry from my first shower in a couple of days and dried-up medicine that was spit all over me from my ever-so-uncooperative sick 3-year-old. At first, I wanted to question if she actually read MY articles.
I mean, it’s never together — anything. I am literally winging it each and every day. Every weekday morning I wake up rehearsing rhetoric reasons in my head of why I should stay home from work (because I need to sleep for approximately 10 more hours) and yet I never actually use them. I just pour a cup of coffee and carry on.
While I like to blame it on the weather turning colder, the fact that I am chasing Maylie down the driveway with her lunch while the bus lights blink and (thankfully) neighborhood parents let the driver know we are coming has become pretty common.
Other than the few hours after my cleaning person leaves (and before we get home with the kids), my house is always a disaster. I cringe at the thought of unexpected visitors, especially those who I know always have their houses spotless. I need a three-day notice for company and much longer if we are talking about using the basement for any sort of gathering other than a convention for clothes.
Sometimes, my kids brush their teeth twice a day. Other times, I would literally rather pay the cavity bill at the dentist than go through another fight with my exhausted (not to mention stubborn) 3-year-old just before bed.
And I am sure there will be cavities — after all, my kids’ favorite food groups are carbs and dairy. Pasta (also known as macaroni and cheese), bread, yogurt, milk, and candy, these are the items my children could (and sometimes do) live off of. Sure, we throw in veggies and fruit as often as we can, but just getting them to eat anything is usually considered a win.
And let’s talk about bedtime — more so, the amount of time my children don’t spend in their actual beds. Typically, the night starts out with both of them in the bed of whoever’s turn it is for me to lie with (we switch nightly). From silent under cover kicks, to “don’t touch me” to “I love you, sissy,” we ride the emotional bedtime roller coaster three deep in a twin bed.
Most nights I am able to stay awake thinking about the dishes, work emails and messes that are waiting for me once little eyes have drifted off to sleep. However, at least a few times a week, Paul has to come in and give me a shake from my “evening nap.” The nap that is necessary because those same little sleepy eyes will be staring at me at my bedside by 3 a.m. Which in turn causes an exhausted mama that takes an evening nap while putting the girls to bed, and then cannot fall asleep until midnight, and again is woken up by 3 a.m.
It’s a vicious cycle, one that I have been meaning to change. In fact, as 2019 approaches, there have been many aspects of this mom life that I have penciled in to work on. You know, it would be nice to actually have it all together as perceived by my distant relative. Maybe I need to really put some energy into that.
But, let’s be honest, I have zero energy left over right now to put into having it all together. It doesn’t matter if we are ending a year, starting a new one, or anywhere in between, I am simply just trying to do my best in this several-year season of raising our little ones.
And no, maybe my house isn’t always up to others’ standards, but there are signs of children’s fun and laughter filling it from wall to wall. Maybe I am not challenging their palettes with organic foods and the best of the best nutrition, but there are always daily conversations and connections while bellies are being filled.
And maybe night after night, my bed is a little uncomfortable and completely full with a face-breathing 5-year-old and a flip-flopping 3-year-old, but truly so is my heart. Eventually, these days will pass, and having it all together will come with ease — but also without many of the joys of this time together.
So, bring on 2019. Because even if I don’t have it all together, the love surrounding me daily reminds me that I do, in fact, still have it all.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.