Mama, you are beat! Ok, yes, your muscles are physically tired from scrubbing showers and carrying groceries and you didn’t get enough sleep last night because of teething or potty training. But I’m here to tell you that you’re tired in a way that a nap or a full night of sleep can’t fix. It’s your brain. Your brain is exhausted and you want to know why? It’s because you’re the keeper of ALL THE THINGS.
It’s your mental To Do list that never dips below 30 items.
It’s the thousand details you keep stored up there that you need to remember like how you bought your niece the perfect birthday gift on clearance in April. It’s now October and you need to find it wrapped, hidden and hopefully labeled somewhere in your house.
You look at your grocery list in the store and think about the few items that you know are cheaper somewhere else. You begin to mentally do the math on the savings and wonder if it’s worth making one more stop once you factor in your time, gas and sanity level.
You excitedly RSVPed yes to a wedding, bought and wrapped the gift, signed the card with your husband’s name, dragged your kids to TJ Maxx to try on dresses in the fitting room while they fought, felt guilty about spending the money on a new dress, lined up a sitter, withdrew cash to pay the sitter, and made them all dinner just so that you could have a few, relaxing adult hours out of the house.
You’ve collected, washed, stored, organized, and passed along countless items of hand me down clothes every season with such efficiency that you’re certain you could run your own Macy’s. You have sorted all of your Christmas decorations in the attic into 3 boxes and the one that comes down each year depends on what age/stage your children are at and how much you like those glass ornaments. You noticed that the lavender and peppermint bottles in your essential oil cabinet are running dangerously low so you add that to your order along with your husband’s favorite blend just because you care.
You scheduled your kids’ dental cleanings around naptime and then have to call back and reschedule because you forgot about daylight savings. You wrote, stamped and mailed a note to a struggling friend to let her know that she’s on your mind… along with everything else but she’s definitely there and definitely near the top. You signed up to make treats for your son’s party at school and remembered that it’s a nut free classroom just as you took the peanut butter cookies out of the oven.
You feel the weight of keeping all of these balls in the air. You don’t want to run out of toilet paper, offend a family member by forgetting to send a thank you note, or show up unprepared to teach Sunday School to a group of 6th graders who will know if you are trying to wing it.
Now, enter your sweet husband from stage left. He is the #1 recipient of all of your brain work and lists. If you’re lucky, like me, he’ll come in the door after being gone all day at work and start playing with your kids. He won’t notice
if that you haven’t had the opportunity to shower, the dishes in the sink or that the baby is pulling garbage out of the overflowing trash can. From your cheap seats in the bleachers he is care free and reaping the benefits of all of your hard work. (Trust me, there’s another post coming soon about life on the other side).
Somehow he miraculously turns his brain off as soon as he leaves work. He’s not worried about what’s for dinner, that you’re down to the last diaper in the house or that the kids really need a bath. Maybe you’re jealous. Maybe you’re angry. Maybe you’re both. Here’s what I want to say and it might sting a little. You can do that, too. You can turn your brain off and get on the floor and play. You can ignore your To Do list… for a time. Perhaps you can’t ignore it for a whole day because important things will fall through the cracks but you can spare an hour. You can fold that laundry later and throw the wrinkled stuff back in the dryer. You can go to bed with the dishes in the sink and wash them tomorrow during breakfast. Nobody else will know. You can take a cue from your man and stop to smell the roses before your kids run over them on their bikes.
My word for myself lately has been “intentional”. I want to be intentional with my time. If I spend an hour watching a TV show during naptime, I know that’s an hour that I’ll have to make up later or something on my list that has to get dropped completely. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I very intentionally do sit down and waste an hour (or 2 if it’s Mr. Selfridge) in front of the TV. My other word is “balance”. Ha!
My husband and I have a running joke (I laugh because the alternative is to cry) about how he stands at the sink and stares out the window while he washes one dish for about 3 minutes. Why does it make me so mad? It might be because in the time that he does that, I’ve washed 3 faces, 6 hands, cleaned the table, gotten everyone to use the bathroom and have started putting shoes on to head out the door. Or does it make me mad because I’m not able to stop and relax enough to stare out the window like that? Why not? Who is stopping me?
Friend, I want to encourage you. I want you to know that I know that you are the keeper and rememberer of all the things. Your brain is tired and you want so badly to turn your thoughts off but don’t for fear that something will get forgotten. I trust that you know what can be postponed and what really does need to get done. I want to encourage you to postpone what you can today. Say no to something, leave the mess and play. I pray that you do and that you feel rejuvenated by changing things up. I pray that your family makes sure you feel appreciated for the times that you run around like a crazy person and also for the times that you stop and enjoy the moment. Lastly, I pray that you dare to wash a dish for 3 minutes while you daydream out the window.