Ever feel like you're always the overwhelmed mom? When people ask how you are, you're always giving the sort of strained, “Oh…I'm…fine….” when what you really want to say is, “I'm done. I'm just DONE.”
In the midst of yet another chaotic day, during which there is no way you will get it all done, and inevitably SOMEONE will be unhappy with you – someone asks how you're doing.
You say it dismissively and they give an understanding smile about how busy you must be.
It feels kind of lame.
Even if it happens that I am frequently busy and tired, I don't really WANT to always be the exhausted mom. That's not how I want to be known. I start to feel like I'm always the downer.
Also, It's a lie.
I'm usually not “fine” when I reply that way. I'm overwhelmed, or tired, or cranky, or all kinds of confused, but I don't think the person talking to me actually wants to hear those things, nor do I particularly feel like saying, “I'm tired, thank you, and I need to go grocery shopping, and, as per usual, there is an never ending pile of laundry that must be washed…”
For me, “I'm fine.” is a lie that tells the listener, “I'm a bit of a mess but look at me, I'm so valiantly pulling through.” It feels like a worn out answer that only serves to make me look scattered and I'm sick of saying it.
So I tried something new this weekend. I was having “One of Those Days.” and in an effort to get out from under my personal pitty rain cloud, I had been thinking to myself of all the things I am grateful for.
I was at a function for the kids, still feeling quite crabby, but with my silent gratitude list running through my head, when the first person I ran into asked, “And how are you doing?” She is a very caring person, she would have kindly listened to my gripes, but on a whim I simply said,
“I'm feeling very grateful today.”
And you know what? When she smiled it was like a little bit of sunshine pushing that self-pitty cloud away. I felt lighter and I felt the truth of the words I had said. On this day and every day I have so much to be grateful for. On my most exhausting motherhood days, gratitude is my saving focal point, and while I don't always feel, “Great!” or “Fantastic!” I can definitely say, “I'm feeling very grateful.”
And you, how are you today?