The Struggle

gazebo

All moms know The Struggle.
It comes in various forms at various times. Sometimes we can feel it coming, but sometimes we are completely blindsided by it.

Tuesday was an extremely hard day for me. I was really struggling to pull myself together.  I was unable to function for a few days last week. I caught a nasty upper respiratory infection and it took all I had to move because my entire body ached. The weight of my very light, plastic frame glasses on my face caused me pain. Of course the kids were all at 100% while I was sick. Last week was rough and by this past Tuesday I was completely done adulting. One of my friends called and asked how I was doing, she probably heard me yelling while our kids were video chatting. She asked, so I let it alllll out, and ended up in tears at one point. Trying to keep up with the kids and house when I’m functioning at maybe 30% was too much.

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Another one of my friends is keeping my kids for me on Friday, yay!
I am going to treat myself to Starbucks for starters.

Wednesday I decided another trip out was in order, but instead of getting out in the early afternoon, we didn’t leave until closer to 4pm. I was hoping we could watch the sunset at the park. We used to watch the sunset at the beach all the time. We still didn’t get to play and watch the sunset, but we had a blast on the trails.
Maybe next time.

I knew we would love Hills & Dales from the few pictures I saw online.
We all agree this is our new favorite MetroPark.

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We were there for 3-4 hours and the kids still weren’t ready to leave.
I don’t blame them, this place is so peaceful and gorgeous.

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Kiah lost her last baby tooth this week. She’s growing so fast!
I am in awe of this child. She’s my miracle baby. For those of you who don’t know, she almost didn’t make it when she was born. Look at her now…teaching me all kinds of things about how a child with Autism views and experiences the world, teaching me about childhood and mothering. It makes me weepy and so proud to be her mother.

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We took our time walking the trail.
Stopping to climb fallen trees, listening to what may have been a woodpecker.

I did my usual observing, thinking, and picture-taking.

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Some days I feel like I can’t do this, this single mothering thing. Lately I’ve been feeling like my rope has turned into a single thread and I’m barely hanging on, but when I stop and really look around me, I realize that I am doing this. Maybe I’m not always as graceful as I would like, our place can reach tornado-mess status in a matter of minutes, I’m always behind on laundry, and you’ll most likely find dishes in my sink at given moment.

I am a single, homeschooling mother of three young children. I recently packed up our entire life and moved away from my parents to come back home, which I am loving. I’m raising a child with Autism, one with severe food allergies and asthma, and one with a personality like mine.
Even on the days where it seems like complete chaos, I AM DOING THIS.

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I look at how happy and curious my kids are.
Part of it is that they are who they are, but the other part is I’m doing something right!
They tell me how happy they are on a regular basis. We’re always having conversations about past adventures.

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Look at these faces. I may not be a perfect mom, but I’m the perfect mom for them.
There is no one who will love them, advocate for them, fight for, love, and work harder for them than I do.
While I’m over here struggling, my kids will never see me quit.

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I think that’s true of any mom reading this. You don’t have to be the perfect mom according to everyone else, you’re the perfect mom for your children.
You might be struggling to hold it together, and you may have times where you completely come unhinged. Maybe you need to fall apart so you can put things in perspective.

Motherhood isn’t about who can post the prettiest Facebook moments, it’s not about who has the best curated instagram with the most followers, or who has the most comments on her blog. It’s not about who has the most pinterest worthy house, the biggest garden, or the best family vacation.
Motherhood is not about what size you are, or if you keep up with the latest fashions.

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I love social media, you might say I’m slighty addicted to certain networks. And I’m not saying we should stop sharing our moments, but we definitely need to stop comparing ourselves to what another mother chooses to show.
In our modern world where you can easily share your every moment at the click of a button, I think the moments that matter the most are the ones we don’t share.
The moments no one else sees or knows about.
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I love taking pictures and writing in this space. It’s like talk therapy for me.
Sometimes I ask myself why I continue doing this? First, for me. I love being able to go back 4yrs or more and see all the things we’ve done, how much we’ve grown. Second, for you. Reading your comments and emails puts the biggest smile on my face. Knowing that sharing my struggles and giving you glimpses into out ordinary days has helped someone else makes me really happy.

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Other moms are constantly saying to me “I don’t know how you do it”
You know what? Neither do I!
Seriously though, I may look put together on the outside most of the time, but if they only knew what I went through to get out of the house…

The truth is, mothers do what needs to be done. When you’re in a situation and your kids need you, you step up and handle it.
There are a lot of times where I feel like a hot mess on the inside.
I joke that they should come spend a day or two with me for pure entertainment.

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I was chatting with a mom yesterday at the park. Her son was giving her a rough time. We talked about how we didn’t remember our girls being this way at this age. We decided to call it boy wrath. Her son was 4 and I assured her that it was all very normal. She looked relieved when I said that. When she asked me if 5yrs was any better I didn’t sugar coat it. I told her that it’s ages 2,3,4 all rolled into one. They are bigger, faster, stronger, entering big kid stage, but still babies. And then I told her that it’s hard, but she’ll get through it. We all do.

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It’s taken me 4hrs to put this post together. I slept in since yesterday was so full and fun.
I’ve made coffee, fed and watered the cats(we have a new kitten – he’s adorable – pics to come soon)fed the kids, refereed disagreements, fed myself, started laundry, messaged back and forth about upcoming events. I’m not complaining.

I have a very good life. I have prayed and worked myself to this point. That’s what I remember when I’m barely hanging on…look at how far we’ve come. I’m not at the beginning of the journey, but I’m not at the end either.
It’s all going to be ok.

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Some days will be really good and others will leave us in the fetal position, waiting for rescue.

It’s ok to have bad days and moments. It’s ok if you feel like you can’t handle cleaning up one more mess, or talking your kids through one more argument. It’s ok to ask for help. Think of it like this….all the hard times you’ve gone through and will go through are a lesson, and you’ll help another mom with your experience in the future.

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It’s crazy, beautiful, exhausting, and probably the hardest job you’ll ever have, but it’s also the best, and so worth it.

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p.s.
I’ve decided to put off my weekly writing prompts.
I need to put most of my writing energy into finishing this e-book and updating this space when time allows.
My intent isn’t to disappear for weeks at a time without a word, but I think you understand why that may happen after reading this post.