Trigger warning: this story contains depictions of abuse. If you need help, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233.
I’m sick. I mean, it’s just a cold, and I don’t mean to be a whiner, because I get that people, maybe even you, are receiving health news much worse than “looks like you’ve got an endless amount of snot that keeps pouring out of your nostrils no matter how many times and how long you blow your nose.”
I mean, where does it all come from? Lord have mercy!
But I digress. And I’m here to tell you one quick thing before I go to bed at 8:30 p.m. for the 6th night in a row (thank you, Nyquil…you’ve never let me down, even after all these years).
There is ONE THING that all sick (insert: pregnant, lazy, busy, stressed, and actually sick) mothers use when they bite the dust. And how do I know this magical thing, you might be thinking? Well, of course, I took my woes to the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group…and this ONE THING kept floating to the top of the list.
So listen here, mama. If you aren’t yet employing this miracle, life-saving strategy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
You guys. This. Is. Genius. And I can say that because I didn’t come up with it.
It’s called (drum roll, please………………………………………….)
THE PANTRY RAID:
If you’re a sick mama (that means anything from having the sniffles, to barfing, to being overly or newly pregnant, or had a bad day at the office, etc.) you do not have to feed your children dinner. Instead, your employ the good ole fashion pantry raid, whereby your kids get to eat anything from your pantry that is within reach. And you call it dinner. And you call them fed. And you call yourself a hero.
Don’t believe me? Just check Section 9, Page 1,387 of the Parenting Handbook, where mothers from around the country have chimed in on this very matter:
Jessica: Whenever I bite the dust, it’s a pantry free for all. Popcorn, pop tarts, granola bars, chips, cereal (dry of course)... whatever you can reach, you can eat.
Cassidy: TV all day. And eat what you can find/reach!
Katie: Candy and chips only for food.
Tiffany: Anything within reach - Cheetos? Sure! Animal crackers? Fine! M&M's? Go for it! Just eat at the table.
Victoria: Sat on the couch all day while instructing my 2.5 year old how to feed herself. “Push the chair to the pantry. Open the door. Get the goldfish... there’s lunch!”
Apparently, mothers for GENERATIONS have been using this exact same tactic.
Emily: My mom just shared with me that she was laid up on the couch with a terrible cold when I was about a year old. She brought the box of Cheerios with her and kept throwing handfuls onto the living room floor for me like she was feeding birds!
Not so sure about this whole Pantry Raid idea? Not a problem.
Some honorable mentions include survival by:
TV. All day ‘er day.
Goodbye Diapers. Seriously, if you don’t have energy to change them, why put them on? As a bonus, it induces some extra incentive to have your carpets cleaned.
What’s the point? When mama’s down, mama’s down. The quickest way for mama to get back up again is to soak in All. The. Rest. And that means employing some tactics that probably wouldn’t fly on a regular Tuesday. But listen, not ONE of these moms talked about feeling guilty for doing the absolute bare minimum. Mom guilt won’t help you heal any faster. No one’s snot is disappearing overnight because they felt guilty for throwing Cheerios on the floor and calling it dinner. No one’s vomit has spontaneously vanished because mom guilt made them feel like a complete loser of a human being for allowing their kids free reign over the TV for a few days (or weeks). Mom guilt is a dumb liar.
Thanks to all the moms who helped me feel better for scraping by in my time of sickness. We don’t need to thrive all the time. If we did, we’d never appreciate our own awesomeness, and neither would our families.
So raise your class of Emergen-C for a toast. “To you, mama. For being who you are in sickness and in health and in all the days between. Your sanity, your creativity, your love is unparalleled. And your kids, your family, and your community are better because you are in it. Snot and all.” *Clink clink* And goodnight.
P.S. If you need some practical self-care steps, download your FREE Self-Care Guide here!!!
Numbers are not really my thing, but tonight…tonight I got really good at counting. And you know what I counted? My mistakes. I soaked in a hot bath of guilt, shame, and fear, and literally counted the number of mistakes that I could remember from the past week or so. I counted the number of mistakes that I’m still carrying from who knows how long ago. I’m counting…counting…counting…
I was late every day last week to pick Josie up from pre-school. Gives new meaning to the pre-school walk of shame.
I turned in Josie’s eye exam form 3 weeks too late. She’s probably about to go blind.
I didn’t realize that Josie’s Halloween parade, party and class chapel were not only happening this week, but parents are welcome…as is her Halloween costume. Insert a 35-minute round trip drive home to frantically search for said costume in a mountain of princess dress-up clothes in the world’s messiest playroom.
Despite my best efforts to remain consistent in discipline, Josie has gotten off too easy with a few too many sassy comments.
After a long evening of yelling, feeling lost, and ready to walk away from the motherhood game altogether, I shoved a wailing Josie in bed at 6:17 p.m.
And those were just a teeny tiny sampling of the Josie ones. I probably don’t even have the emotional capacity to go into any of the other mistakes I’ve made a mom to a beastly boy child, a wife to a hardworking husband, a co-worker, a daughter, a friend…
Sounds like a nice little Tuesday night, doesn’t it? Let me tell you, it’s not.
Earlier today, I had some friends affirm me, and specifically affirm the mission of the Mother of the Year movement. They said that I’m good at empathizing with moms of all ages because whether our kids are in diapers or in dorm rooms, we all want to be better at giving ourselves a break. They said that I’ve given us all a rally cry. A cry that says that our best is enough for our families. A cry that says we don’t have to live the lies that we believe about ourselves. A cry that says no matter what, we’ve got great moments in each and every day to celebrate and we can stand tall in that victory.
Ummm, wow. But guess what I forgot today? The rally cry. The mission. The words that I often write to you. And the words that I truly believe with my whole heart. I’m a good mom. So are you.
So in case you’re having a night like I am right now…a night where instead of counting victories, blessings, or even mediocre success, you’re counting all of the ways you’ve failed. Let’s talk.
Replace the word should. “I shouldn’t have yelled at her.” “I should have put her Halloween party on my calendar.” “I shouldn’t be sitting in the bath right now being mean to myself.” Instead of using the word should, use the word could. It’s a lot more empowering and creates space for making some changes. “I could have controlled my temper. Next time, I’ll try to walk away for a brief cool-down.” “I could have put her Halloween party on my calendar. In the next 2 days, I’ll find her school calendar and add every event in so I’m prepared.” “I could allow myself to feel some grief over my mistakes, but then I’ll forgive myself and move on.”
Tell yourself the truth. It doesn’t take a genius to read through my list of mistakes and figure out what lies I’m believing about myself and my situation. And you know what lies do? They steal our joy, our confidence, and our peace. Replacing the lies with the truth, one by one, will send a new wave of peace and clarity our way. This is something I’ve been practicing (and am soon to reveal an AMAZING tool that can help us master this!)
Invite Jesus and someone else into your mess. Maybe don’t invite a friend into the literal bathtub with you (#awkward), but the quiet moments are perfect to have a little chat with Jesus about how you’re feeling and ask for His wisdom. Ask Him to tell you the truth about who you are. And then find a time to share your struggle with a trusted friend. Nothing makes you feel more alone than keeping your mess to yourself. Be brave and bring someone in who can speak lovingly to your pain.