The baby is teething.
The toddler is exercising his independence with dashes through parking lots and going forward down the stairs.
The preschooler is having meltdowns at little things. Every little thing.
The husband just finished his fourth week of weekday travel. Four weeks of solo bedtime routines.
The house is a mess. The car smells funny. The fridge is empty.
My mama spirit is broken. My body tired. My heart running on empty.
I’m sitting at a coffee shop, sucking down iced coffee and completing the menial tasks that give me a sense of accomplishment – editing blog posts, signing the kids up for swim lessons, writing extremely overdue thank you notes.
I sit here, praying, that at the end of my coffee shop time, I’ll feel renewed. That I can walk back into my crazy beautiful life and see more of the beautiful.
That I can be the laid back, fun mama my heart so desperately wants to be. That I’ll be the wife who laughs more than nags, supports more than complains. I want to be more patient and more light-hearted. But, it feels like there is just no more.
My husband encourages me to find a hobby that fits into the schedule. That notion will stress me out more than just living without a hobby right now. He’ll push me to go out with girl friends, girls that are mamas, too, probably writing their own version of this blog post.
I reevaluate my calendar, wondering why I can’t fit in an earlier bedtime or a long, hot shower. Why I know I need the pockets of this alone time but seem to always find an excuse for why they need me more than I need this coffee shop.
I know I should go get a massage every so often and not lie there making the grocery list in my head. I should find time for a daily workout. I should read books, get my haircut every six weeks and buy something nice for myself.
But I also think it’s OK to just survive.
Accepting that right now, I’m a mom to three under five, wife to a traveling husband and leader of chaos makes me laugh and see the beauty rather than pressure myself to be the mom, the wife and the woman with the perfect self-care routine.
To sit at this coffee shop once a month because that’s the frequency that feels doable.
To put the hobbies on hold for another season.
To wish for more sleep rather than pressure myself to cherish those middle of the night feedings.
To bite my tongue so hard it bleeds because I cannot channel my kind words in the middle of the 55th tantrum of the day rather than finding every single teachable moment.
To imagine myself as a secret ninja mom who can do it all because that’s the self coaching that allows me to conquer these hot summer days.
I’m going to leave this coffee shop in a few and go build a Lego Batman car. Then build a Magna-Tile garage to house it in. And pump because the baby no doubt had a bottle while I was sitting here.
The afternoon will be about cleaning, packing a lunch for camp, washing bottles and ALL the laundry. Catching up on all the things I didn’t do while I was sitting here repairing my spirit.
I’ll make it through another bedtime. Collapse on the couch under a blanket with my husband while we silently zone out to Netflix. I’ll go to bed too late, get up too early. I’ll fail at finding the weekday balance of mom and employee.