At the end of the day, I usually feel used UP! I bet you do too. Problem is that this often happens before the actual end of the day and at a point where I cannot simply “call it quits” and go to bed. Some days I feel used up whether it be 4:00 in the afternoon or 9:00 at night. I finally retrieve all the children from school and various activities and arrive home. The important papers start piling out of the backpacks and into my hands. The homework comes out and people are asking questions or looking for supplies. Nathan comes out of his office to ask if I can read an email before he sends it. And everyone wants to know what’s for dinner.
This is the hard time for me. The time where every person seems to need so much, and all the worlds and needs and chaos of the day collide in this one little place in my kitchen and in my mind. It’s easy for me to get frustrated at this stage, feeling on overload. Why are they all turning to ME? And WHY did we have so many children? These are the thoughts running through my head. And in that place, I often respond to my family in a way that just creates more chaos and makes me feel bad later.
Recently we had a day that ended late and with everyone exhausted. The kids had each been somewhere different and I had carted them around and arrived home about 8:15. Nathan was gone for the evening and would return home late. I already had a headache and was ready for the bed. Sam had debate material to look over and try to understand to prepare for his first tournament. Abby wanted me to check her homework. Daddy ALWAYS checks her homework, and the fact that he wasn’t there to do it sent her into a panic that only the end of a tired day and preteen hormones can bring. She also had an application for student council that she really wanted me to look over for her. Lydia had just finished soccer practice, and therefore needed to shower before we could even start the complicated and tedious bedtime routine that she requires at this stage of life. I knew I was on edge and that all of these things were not things I could handle. I was going to that place of “overload”. Sometimes, a mom needs to give it up and let the kiddos deal with their own stuff or let it wait until tomorrow. However, I knew in this case that I was really needed in this evening by each of my kids. I decided I didn’t want to bail on this day and these people that I love, and that I needed to finish the day well rather than falling into a downward spiral and taking them down with me.
So right then and there as I was putting away things in the refrigerator, I took a moment with my head inside that fridge. It was just me and God in there with a whole bunch of random cold foods. I took a deep breath and said, “God, I can’t do all this. There is nothing left of me to give today. But these people need me, and I need you to be enough for me so that I can be enough for them.” I came out of that fridge and then I began focusing on each person’s specific needs. Got the little one in the shower. Told the middle one to trust me, that I would read the application and check the homework later and write her notes for in the morning. That she could go to bed and not worry. That yes, I do know how to do math. (A tough sell. It’s just easier to let daddy do it and not use my brain, so I do. A lot.) Got Sam started on some stuff on the computer and told him I’d be back to help answer some questions. You know how when you focus on everything, you can’t focus on anything? Yea, that. But I took time to focus one by one on each person and each need. When I did this, I could speak into their situations and restore order in their little worlds. And all the while I didn’t lose my mind. I was in my own bed before too long with a peaceful house, and knowing that God had answered my prayer. He had certainly filled me up some more so that I could give what was needed. I wondered why I don’t make that simple choice and say that simple prayer more often. Why do I ever try to handle it myself or just resign myself to a crash and burn? Pride. Control. These things stand in my way. When I hold on to them, it’s true, there will never be enough of me. When I let go, there is.