If I Don't Laugh, I'll Cry: Some Days Are Hard Days

Most days are great. Most days are happy, and most days I can let the little crazy things roll off of my shoulder. Most days I can laugh it off as I tell others about the mess that was my morning, or how behind I am on housework. Sometimes though, it's just all too much. The big things, the little things, they all start to add up so quickly. I feel buried underneath a list of to-do's and responsibilities that I just can't get on top of. Just when I think I'm heading in the right direction, three more tasks come out of nowhere, and just like that I'm drowning again. Then, my oldest spills his dinner on the floor, and in the next room my youngest is eating the crayon he just found under the couch. Today's been a hard day. At least bedtime is coming soon, but now I feel like a horrible mom for counting down the minutes until my babies are asleep. I should be playing with them, laughing and making memories. What's wrong with me?


It all started this morning. I woke up on time, but my oldest heard me getting ready and decided to wake up, too. He was quiet for the most part, but then started getting too excited while playing with his toys. Now the baby is awake. It's official, we're going to be late. I do my best trying to run back and fourth to make sure they aren't getting into anything mischievous. Now I have to get all three of us dressed and out the door.. in twenty minutes or less. I get the boys into the car, and just as I'm about to leave, I realize I didn't pack their lunches. Yep, we're going to be late.


When we finally pull out of the driveway, I begin making bets with myself. I look at the clock to help determine the best route to the sitter's house. Can I make it to work on time? I know it's probably not going to happen, but at least I'll be able to say that I tried. At the same time, my brain is beginning to make my workday to-do list. Work has been busier than usual lately, so I have to remember to start on what didn't get finished yesterday. All while hoping that the new tasks of the day, that will without a doubt come pouring in just as the clock strikes 8, aren't going to require too much extra attention.


Okay, we made it to the sitter's house. If I'm only inside for 4 minutes, I can make it to work on time. I have to make sure I let her know that the youngest might be coming down with a cold, his nose has been running. Also, the oldest has been having trouble sharing, he's fighting with his brother every night. I have to ask her if he's been struggling here, too. Oh, and we were out of bananas, so hopefully she has one because that's the only fruit my oldest eats. I run through my list of updates with her, give the kids a kiss and start to head for the door. Most days, the kids start playing with their friends and couldn't care less about me leaving them.. but today is one of the hard days.


My sweet three year old begs me to stay. He hugs my leg tight and says he wants to come with me if I have to go. I bend down to wrap him in a hug, kiss his cheek, and promise that I'll be back soon. I can see the sadness in his eyes. He's still tired, he woke up too early this morning. Almost as quickly as they appeared, the little tears welling in eyes are replaced by a bright glow as one of his little buddies asks him to play with dinosaurs. "Bye, Mama!" Well, that was fast. At least he's over it... even though I'm not. I smile at him and wave goodbye and blow kisses to both boys and say I'll be back soon. I walk to the car quickly, not only because I'm running late, but because I don't want anyone to notice the tear I just wiped away. We have the most amazing sitter in the world, we couldn't dream of anyone more perfect, but man do I wish I could stay home with my boys today. Stay home, and watch them explore and imagine and grow today. Okay, back in route, off to work I go.


I think I just might make it. I will - I'm going to make it!


Darn it! Well, I was going to make it, until I hit every red light on my way in. I pull in the parking lot and don't even look at the clock. I don't want to see if I've failed. I pull out the keys, throw off my seatbelt and head for the door. I walk as quickly as I can to the other side of the building. I pass my co-workers who are already beginning their workday. I arrive at my cubical, 8:02. Dang it. I send an email to my boss apologizing, she reminds me that I've just used my second tardy for the year... we only get three, and it's January. It's her job to remind me though, so I understand. I'm not upset at her for reminding me. I'm upset that I already knew this, but then had to actually see it right in front of me, written out. I re-read the sentence a few more times, reminding myself to get it together. I wonder what my co-workers think of me, always scrambling in at the last second. I wonder if they know how hectic most of my mornings are. They're all moms, too. Granted, none of them have toddlers anymore, but I'm sure they can remember this stage of life. I hope they remember. Okay, time to dive in to work.


I genuinely enjoy my job. Most days I have pretty high energy, and I generally work with enthusiasm. I like what I do. Unfortunately though, today is one of the hard days. Today is one of those days where I'm drowning in tasks that need completed, phone calls that need returned, and multiple projects that are all labeled as 'urgent.' I'm doing my best to run on autopilot, especially through the 'usual' daily tasks at hand. It's hard to keep my mind completely on work, though. I'm hoping that my oldest has forgiven me for leaving him today. I'm wondering if my youngest is playing like himself or if he's showing more signs of coming down with something. I'm counting down until my lunch break so that I can check up on them.


'Lunch Break' is kind of a funny term. At least for me, it's not really a break. My lunch break is usually my 'How Much Can I Get Accomplished In One Hour' break. And on the hard days, there's more tasks on my list than normal. Today I had several stops to make, and didn't make it past number two. My 'quick-run' into Walmart turned into me realizing how many things we needed at home. I might as well just grab them now. Who knows when we will have time to make our next full blown grocery trip. Oh, don't forget to text the sitter to make sure the boys are having a good day. That's the whole reason I was looking forward to my break anyways. She responds back quickly. 'They are doing great!' Thank goodness! I feel better now.


I head back to work and finish the afternoon's agenda at the same level of speed and craziness that the morning presented. A co-worker announces that it's finally five o'clock and we made it through the day. I'm all about celebrating little victories, so I'll take it. On our walk out to the car, that same co-worker stops me. 'Are you okay? You were pretty quiet today." They know me all too well! I'm usually a very outgoing and bubbly, gal. I don't have the ability to hide the hard days. I laugh and explain it's just been a long day. I quickly run through the bumps I've hit today with her. She smiles, she's been there and she remembers these kind of days - the hard days. The fact that she can relate to me is so comforting. We wave goodbye, and remind one another to drive safe.


There are two things that I spend my entire day looking forward to. The first, is picking up my kids from the sitter. Hugging them, kissing them, and hearing all about their day. It wipes away all of the crazy, and gives me a fresh start - most days. But remember, today is a hard day. The kids had a great morning, but I'm now hearing that the afternoon was rough. The youngest is in fact getting sick, and the oldest wouldn't share, resulting in a time out (or two). I gather them up, with their things (that our amazing sitter has all packed up and ready for me - I'm telling you, she's perfect), and we head to the car.


Most of the drive home I'm reminding myself to have a talk about sharing and to see how bad my little guy's cold is, we might have to make an appointment in the morning. This triggers the start of my mental evening to-do list. The list always starts off pretty reasonable, but then becomes extremely far-fetched... What should I make for dinner? I should just put something easy in the oven and start on laundry. I should probably clean the bathroom before I do the laundry, though. So that way I can get all of the towels and clothes gathered together. I know there are dishes that still need done from last night, I better do that first. The boys need baths, too. So there's no point in cleaning up the bathroom until that's done. The laundry will just have to wait. Unless I do it when they're in bed? That's it! I'm totally just going to stay up super late, light candles, and clean the house from top to bottom - totally doable.


Now we are back to where we started. Remember? One attempting to eat the crayon and the other spilling dinner on the floor? I'm just about to crack, when the second part of the day that I most look forward to is finally here. The super hero that is my husband arrives home from work. He tells me that he had a hard day, too. We remind each other that the day is almost over - thank goodness. We agree to get the kids to bed as early as possible, so that we can enjoy some alone time, just the two of us, before calling it a night. What a calm way to end such a hectic day, let the countdown begin. We finish dinner and get the kids bathed. The dishes still need done, and the laundry hasn't been touched. It's bedtime. We tag team - he takes the little one and I take the big one. We turn out the lights and turn on a show. Our babies slowly drift off to sleep while being wrapped in our cuddles and kisses. It's not long before we're all asleep.


I wake up suddenly, realizing we never got our alone time. I check the time, it's 11:42. I need to get the kids in their own beds, and get my husband out of the recliner. His hip is going to regret this in the morning. I start to stand up when I realize that I'm finally in the moment that I had been wishing for all day. My family was sound asleep, the house was so quiet. My list of to-do's were no longer relevent. It didn't matter that the chores weren't done, or that I had an overwhelming day. I could look around the room and see that everything that really mattered was right in front of me.


Today was a hard day... but that's all it was, a hard day. Most days don't look like this. Most days are happy, and carefree, and full of beautiful messes that make me laugh. The hard days aren't happy days, but boy do they make the happy days even better. There are going to be more hard days ahead, I know this. But there are going to be even more happy ones, and those are the days that matter most of all. So embrace it all, mama! Every single bit of every single kind of day, embrace it. Laugh until you cry, or laugh so that you don't cry. Either way, these moments will soon be memories, and these memories will (believe it or not) be missed. It's okay. Today was just a hard day, you get a fresh start soon.


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