Here is the truth, my friends. I am struggling right now. I feel so stuck. As the mom of eight kids, many with special needs, the school year has hit me like a truck. I have three reminders from teachers that forms need to be turned in, a notice from the school that my son has already lost his classroom planner, a child begging to be homeschooled, a high schooler who has been late a concerning amount of times, and another who has already earned an out-of-school suspension. Unopened emails are piling up like dirty laundry. Oh, and did I mention that my husband, Mike, and I just signed another book contract? This book will be about strategies for raising children who have come from trauma. I think I’m just going to write a chapter called “Eat a Lot of Frozen Pizzas.”
If you are about to close this post because you’re thinking, This woman is depressing, I don’t blame you. Stick with me, though, because this paralyzing feeling doesn’t have to be the end of the story. I have felt like this before, and unfortunately I will feel like this again. Being a parent is hard. Who am I kidding? Being a human is hard. I have so many ideas about how I want life to go. I have so many goals and passions and expectations with this life I’ve been given, but sometimes those expectations can turn into disappointments. If I’m not careful, the feeling of disappointment can turn into blame. I might blame my husband, my neighbor, my boss, my kids, but when I turn out the lights at night and sit alone, I find that I’m really blaming myself.
Here are two steps I have learned to take when I feel this way. If you are struggling with this feeling, you can do this too.
Accept Where You Are Right Now
As I type this, I am sitting at my kitchen table, my absolute favorite spot in the house. I am looking out at my bird feeders and my flower bed, and the view is lovely. The garden needs to be weeded again, and one of the bird feeders is running empty, and I think we should mow the lawn soon, but I am actively telling my brain to stop with that train of thinking. I cannot do all those things right now. I can sit here and write for the next 30 minutes. I love to write. I love this place that I’m in right now. I accept where I am physically, mentally, and emotionally. I accept that there are a million other things to do, but I choose to be present in this moment at this time.
Make the Most of It
My children have appointments all the time. Sometimes I feel like I might lay on the floor of one of the many waiting rooms and kick my legs like the sweet little dissatisfied toddler who just slipped out of the chair beside me. When I remember to accept where I am right now, I then have an opportunity to make the most of it. This sometimes takes some planning and sometimes just takes an intentional redirecting of my mind. Not everything in life is going to feel productive or fun. Many things are just a gray area of waiting. Some things are mundane. I can choose to make the most of these things. Grocery shopping can become time alone with one of my kids or just time alone. Laundry can become a time to talk to my spouse. Driving can become the time I listen to an audio book or a favorite playlist.
I still feel overwhelmed to the point of feeling stuck sometimes, but I feel a little less so when I choose to change my attitude about my circumstance.
When I feel stuck, I find these words encouraging from Acts 17:28: “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”
Today if you feel stuck, turn your eyes to the One who made you. Remember that your value comes from Him. Allow yourself to stay present in each moment and make the most of your short time on this earth.