It's been an exhausting couple of days, for various reasons, both good and not as good.
Last night, we arrived home right at bedtime, and the kids willingly went into their room to prepare for rest. They laid there quietly and happily for a few minutes while I got stuff ready before going in to do bedtime prayer and gratitude, give hugs and kisses, and wish them goodnight.
Then, as is common lately, one by one, they all had reasons to get up, or call for me in the other room. I try diligently to always have a positive attitude or at very least a kind voice when I re-enter, but it's a struggle sometimes. Especially on nights like last night where it was already nine o'clock and I had a list of various duties to tend to before excusing myself to bed.
Eventually, they coaxed me into laying among all three of them on their bedroom floor, one laying across my arm while both arms were splayed to my sides playing with the two youngest's hair. The fish tank light was off, the van on for white noise, and I laid there struggling to stay awake myself, my to-do list playing repeatedly in my mind. That's when the thoughts started rolling in as well.
"This is so hard."
"This is so exhausting."
"There aren't enough hours in the day."
"There's not enough of this Momma to go around."
"I don't know how I'm going to do keep doing this."
"Its going to take some sort of super human strength or some kind of super powers to keep this up forever."
Eventually, they all drifted off to sleep. I did a half-baked job on my nightly duties and then flopped myself into my own bed. Then, I realized I had a few more things to do, rolled on out, finished up, and returned. Then I realized the door wasn't locked. So, I got up again, locked the door, and then fed the cats, got some water, and went back to bed again. I think I fell asleep around 11:20.
This morning, I woke, tired as usual, and forgot to make my coffee before we all marched out the door at 7:40. The children were all in fairly good moods for their shortage of sleep last night, and we were on our way.
As I sat in the waiting area at one of their appointments, the thoughts of last night replayed in my mind.
But today, they were reframed with a feeling of empowerment.
Parenting is hard. It's crazy hard. It's hard when there's two parents. It's harder when those parents are separated. It's even harder when you're doing it alone. At least, in my experience that's true, having done all three versions of parenting in the last 7 years.
Right now, I'm back to being a single parent. I mean single parent, as in not sharing the children with their other parent. I know that to some, co-parenting or shared-parenting is considered or felt to be single parenting. Again, in my experience, they're wildly different. So, as I said, I'm flying solo. I wish I wasn't, but I am, so I pull myself up by my bootstraps (oh wait, my boots are all strapless...) and I carry on day in and day out.
Even when it feels like it's too much. Even when I'm too tired. Even when my nerves are shot and my brain is fried, and I go to work with my pants on backwards (yes, that's happened, more than once actually, in the last couple weeks... maybe I should retire those pants).
I won't pretend to be a super woman. I won't claim to be a super hero. I won't boast to be a super mom. Because, quite honestly, I'm not. It may look spectators that I am when I calmly herd my three littles into a restaurant for supper, and they sit down quietly and excitedly tell the waitress their order. But then as soon as she turns her back, two of them are sword fighting in the booth, shortly before one of them bites the other one in the bathroom fighting over who uses what toilet stall. I hug the injured and break out my "mad voice" and my "mean Momma Bear glare" at the other while the wait staff smiles at me with a knowing look.
I don't have it all together. I'm not a super-hero, super woman, or super mom.
I'm your run-of-the-mill, ordinary single mom just doing the best she can, usually. Sometimes I'm not doing the best I can. Sometimes I'm doing what I can just to get through the moment... which I guess, in those moments, is actually probably the best I can.
I will be first to admit though, it does take some sort of super power to be a single mom, a co-parenting mom, or a happily married mom (or dad). Like I said, parenting is crazy tough.
So, as I sat there, this morning, reminsicing about last night as I choked down the straight black coffee I was accidentally given instead of my regular order in the drive-through this morning, after having forgotten to make my own at home like I usually do, I thought about these super powers that are needed.
And, I realized...
I DO have super power.
It's the power of the Holy Spirit. It's the power of Jesus. Its' the power of God.
As soon as I realized that, I had verses flooding in my mind, and I needed to share them here.
Because, if we want them, we can ALL have super powers.
Every single parent out there. Every single person without children out there. Every single child out there.
We're all equipped. We just have to seek them.
Ask God, He'll give them to you, freely, lovingly, and happily.
That's how I do life right now, when I'm too tired, too overwhelmed, too frustrated, too sad, too everything. I lay down on the floor with the lights out (or maybe as I drive in broad daylight in the van, or a hundred other places and ways) and I let God in. It's not always a conscious effort, to be honest. But, he reaches me, and he blesses me, and through every tear, every sleepless night, every pants-backward-at-work-Wednesday, every joyful-they-ordered-their-own-supper Friday, every big and little moment, I keep on keeping on. He's the One pulling me up, so I don't even need straps on my boots.
Sometimes, of course, I don't feel this way. I don't see it this way. Even as I write this today, knowing exactly how I make it through, I'm still exhausted and a bit overwhelmed (even knowing God's going to carry me through).
And you know what, those are my worst days.
I'm praying for less and less of those days, and more days where I'm fully aware of my super power, MY Super Hero. (Even on those days when I don't think I'll get through it, I know somehow I will, even if I'm too stubborn to admit the real reason. I'm imperfect.)
I'm praying the same for each of you.