just survive the day

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Probably the best parenting advice I ever received...well actually, it was more like parenting absolution, came from my Aunt Darlene.  She's my Dad's oldest sister and also my confirmation sponsor and also one of my favorite mom role models. (Hi Aunt Dar!).  I always feel like talking to her is within a space of non-judgment which is so very refreshing in this world of mom-eat-mom parenting out there.

There are so many rules and guidelines and expectations these days on what being a 'perfect parent' looks like, and to be quite honest, going into motherhood for the first time with Greyson, I was all about those rules and my own expectations.  My kids will never...., I will make sure my kids always... were thoughts I actually had and believed in as a first time mom.  Aaaaand then I had a baby and hahhahhhha, to those thoughts.  I often wish now that I could go back to that pre-motherhood version of myself and give her a little hug and a kiss on the cheek and say, 'oh honey, you are so young and dumb, but I love you for that ambition anyway.  Hang in there girl, you've got a long road ahead.'

look at that girl, so young and full of confidence.  hahha.  I love her naive little heart.
Anyway, in one of these no judgement chats with my Aunt Dar somewhere along the early part of my 6 year journey of motherhood, I confessed some aspect of parenting with a sideways glance to show I wasn't so proud of it and it certainly was not part of my 'My kids will never...' pre-parenthood goals - and my Aunt Dar replied something to the effect of, 'Oh Tabi, sometimes you just have to survive the day.'

I've been holding that little piece of parenting mercy in my heart since then, and I've needed to lean into it about a bajillion times when this mothering gig seems to crack at the seams and makes me want to hide in the corner from shame and defeat.

Some highlights from those kinds of moments -
  • Greyson woke up in our bed every.single.morning for literally three years. every.single.morning from when he was two years old until he turned five.
  • Because I kepting holding off on kid-proofing the iPad, Gemma, at four years old, had navigated herself to a full-frontal, graphic, live birth youtube video and was casually watching it when I came over and asked, 'whatcha watching baby....OMIGOSH!' 
  • Violet is in the midst of potty training at 21 months (!!), but she still drinks a bubba at naptime (!!?!) 

The point is,
there are things we are 'supposed to do,'
and things we hope to do,
and things we can feasibly do,
and things we have to do.

And the lines between each of those options become incredibly blurred when you're in the actual living of the moment in motherhood with your own kids that each have their own personalities and needs that conflict or mesh with all of the rest of your families' personalities and needs.

It's a tricky business, this being a momma
- especially today when so many people believe they might know better about the distinction between those lines from their outside perspective....but that's a different blog for a different day.

So aaaanyway, the other day, when everything was going to crap around 7:30p, I took our screaming, gassy three week old in the bjorn carrier and put our very cranky 21 month old on my shoulders outside in the warm evening air and did about 27 laps around our backyard.

Oh, this might look like something a great mom would do - Brandon even came out and snapped this picture while shouting out to me, 'Babe, you're a good momma!' - but let me assure you all- this was not about these little cherub children.  This was me just trying to survive the day, just trying to get a few minutes of peace before I went totally mad with the tinny sound of small humans.

Everyday is beautiful, and precious, and exhausting, and bizarre, and both everything and nothing like I ever thought being a mum would be.  Nearly every day I'm thrust into moments that knock me off balance about what is the 'best thing' to do right in this second.  And even then - is it the best for one child - the best for all our kids - the best for our entire family...?  

And so I try to do my best each day, but also I give myself some grace knowing that sometimes 'ya just have to survive the day' and I resolve to do better tomorrow - to try to be better tomorrow; a better mom, a better wife, better daughter, sister, friend.  

And lots of times I am better tomorrow, because the kids are more rested, or I'm more rested, or I have support from our village that day, or the weather cooperates, or some other combination of luck and magic.  Granted, it's only a teeny, tiny, tiny bit better - but definitely in the right direction, and I think it's because of that mercy on myself and the hope that I can do better on the next go-around.

My hope is that each of us mommas (and daddas) can keep that little bit of forgiveness in our hearts for ourselves in those difficult moments.  And if we can all try to remember that - we're all just trying to survive the day - when we see other parents in their own difficult moments...we might just be able to make this world a little more kind.  

good luck out there, mommas.  

we had a no, no, no day yesterday (ahem, Violet), so I'm hopeful today will be brighter, and that's even despite the poop I cleaned up off the floor this morning AND the pull-up she just disguarded at my feet.  #someoneholdme 


  1. So good!!!! And true. Thinking of you!!

  2. Hi Tabitha- thank you for writing down your thoughts as they are often my thoughts too. Hang in there mamma, you're doing a good job.
    I'm printing this out and putting it in a place I can always see it:
    There are things we are 'supposed to do,'
    and things we hope to do,
    and things we can feasibly do,
    and things we have to do.
    But sometimes all you can do is survive the day
    Give yourself some grace and try to be better tomorrow.

  3. typed this up earlier, but somehow didn't post--since i want you to know that you are doing a good job (not just as a momma but as an individual-world-encourager) am typing again! oh my. i needed these words right now at almost 4 in the morning. my last thought before coming to your site was did my almost 2 year old smile and laugh enough yesterday and did the baby get enough face time from her momma? and then like i often do in moments of overwhelming inadequacy and self-doubt, i sought your blog out like a harbor. and these words were waiting for me:) thank you! and your husband is right (and wise), you are a good momma! xo Haley

  4. "Survive the day" may be even more accurate in the summer when there is no routine or schedule to piece our sanity together throughout the day!!!