It has been a tough few weeks around here.
Like, really tough.
Both of my children are off. The time change certainly didn’t help, but the reality is that we were already a hot mess long before we lost that hour.
My youngest has been anxious and angry – angry with dyslexia, with me, with his brother, with the world.
We haven’t slept a solid stretch in weeks.
It has gotten a little ugly around here.
But truth is, none of this is the worst part.
The worst part is how I am responding to it.
I find myself sleeping late, resentful that I have to get up and do it all over again.
I find myself checking out, instead of entering into my sons’ pain.
I find myself vacillating between trying to desperately control all the things, and giving up and watching Netflix.
I am not proud of my mothering right now.
I am also a realist.
There is only so much one person, one momma, can do.
Only so much she can take on, grieve, clean-up, rescue, clean-up again, and fight.
As the days have started to slide into a haze of meltdowns, stress, and unruly emotions, I have tried to get it all back on track. I have tried to fix it, smile, use a Mary Poppins voice, and turn us around.
Sometimes, it works. Most of the time, it doesn’t.
What I am learning, day after day, is that the only way to really turn around a bad day is to let go.
Let go of the fear of the future.
Let go of the expectation that we should follow the same routine each day.
Let go of the idea that we will all eat together at the table tonight.
Let go of the hope that my youngest should be the easy one (not proud of this at all, but it is real).
Let go of the suggestion that I am failing everyone, at everything, all the time.
Let go of the anger that I can’t figure out how not to fail everyone, at everything, all of the time.
And it works.
When I set aside the fist clenched tight control I mistakenly think I should have, I am better able to respond to my children.
I am able to see that now is not the time to practice reading, and play Twister with my little guy instead.
I am able to lie down on the bed with my sick son and console him, rather than worrying about all the things that are not getting done on the to-do list.
I am able to turn on the audio book in the car and head out for ice cream, instead of letting them both waste away on their iPads while I do the same.
When it’s a bad day, the last thing I need to do is make it worse in a wild haze of let’s get this all back to easy again.
Because easy is not my goal. Although sometimes I act as though it is, I know that easy is not what I want.
What I want is real love and understanding for these children. What I want is to steward well this chance that I have been given to be a mom.
What I want is far more than just a better day.
I want to embrace this life, and the story that God is telling in all of us.
The truth is, motherhood matters more than any other endeavor I have ever undertaken in my lifetime. I imagine it always will.
And in order to really lean into being a mom, I have to let go of how I think it’s supposed to be.
It’s the only way I can turn these bad days around.
I have to let go of all the worries about the future.
I have to let go of all the fear that so quickly creeps up.
And just focus on today.
On the next hour.
On making the best possible choice for the very next thing I do with my children.
On praying that He will cover the gaps in my parenting and heal all the wounds that are hurting.
On loving as well and as much as I possibly can.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.