Give Yourself Some Grace, Mama

By: Guest Contributor

I left the house for work at 9:45 this morning. NINE. FORTY. FIVE.

I wasn’t sick. My kid wasn’t sick. The house wasn’t burning down. I just couldn’t do it- I didn’t want to adult. I didn’t want to work. I didn’t want to mom. I didn’t clean the house. I didn’t work out. Instead, I sat on my couch and I watched Netflix and drank coffee by myself.

And I thought, because I felt like I couldn’t do anything else, that doing this – nothing – until 9:45 would make me feel better.

It didn’t.

I arrived to work around 10, just as worn out as I was at 7:15 when I dropped my son off at daycare. I felt tired. I felt helpless, I felt hopeless- like I was sucking at everything. Do you ever have those days? Where you look around at everything all around you and think, ‘Man. Today. Today, I just suck?'

I know, I know – the negative self-talk, the self-pity. It’s so lame. But hear me out: my house is a WRECK, toys everywhere, food crumbs everywhere. Clothes – clean or otherwise – are scattered everywhere, dishes are piled up, mail unopened, bills unpaid. And I pranced into work at 10 a.m. so we all know I’m a shitty employee.

There's also this: I’ve been going to couples counseling with my husband for about a month now because I’m pretty sure he stopped loving me after our son was born. I feel like we’re just floating through the motions of what marriage and parentdom is supposed to look like. 

I’m fat. I weigh as much now as I did halfway through my pregnancy, and I haven’t worked out since about that then, either. I couldn’t even manage to put on any makeup today.

So, today, I’m sucking. Nope, not winning at all, at anything. And, what’s worse is that I almost don’t care. I want to eat cupcakes, I want to ignore the messiness, I want to sleep through the day.

Is this what adulthood is supposed to feel like? Motherhood? Wifehood?

I recently keep thinking about the Christian idea of grace, as it applies to our children, mostly. The idea that kids are people too, and allowed to have bad days and moods. I feel obligated to give my son the grace to feel his feelings and process and move on, meanwhile loving and supporting him regardless and no matter what.

But what about me?

Somewhere along the way, I forgot to learn how to give myself grace. I expect so much from myself- so much more than I expect from anyone else. But somehow, when I’m the one having a bad day or just too many emotions, I don’t give myself the grace to get through. I call myself names like "lazy" and "inadequate"- things I would never allow my son to call himself.

Being a full-time working mom is hard. It’s so hard. But, I do it and will continue to do it and here’s why: I am the primary breadwinner for our family. I make more money than my husband, and I want us to have a good, comfortable life. I want my son to have the things he needs and sometimes the things he wants.

I want him to have a strong woman as his role model, so that he knows women do anything men can do. I want my son to go to daycare to be socialized and comfortable around different types people.

At least, this is the 50,000 foot view of why I do what I do.

Up close, the details are that I’d probably go even crazier if I was home all day, and if I was a bad employee to the role of being a stay at home mom, I don’t know that I could ever forgive myself. That takes a heart and soul I’m not sure I have.

So, grace for me is the concept of forgiveness- constant, unwavering love despite acting or feeling unlovable and unforgiveable. Why is it we are so willing to bestow grace on others and not onto ourselves?

Here is my promise today. Today, I am giving myself grace. I give myself grace to just be ok, or to suck, at all the things I’m juggling. To find motivation in the fact that I am TRYING. And in the fact that I am a caring human. My ability to be self-aware is a little better than my ability to count calories. I am also giving myself grace to love myself, to love my family, to love my coworkers. And to give them grace as well.

And I'm going to give you grace- the grace to accept whatever you feel like you’re sucking at today. Maybe tomorrow we’ll both do better. Maybe we won’t. But we need to love and forgive ourselves regardless.