It’s almost 4pm on a Friday, THANK GOD! You are so done! It’s summer break and even though life should be more fun and relaxing with the warmer weather, the kids are at home… Enough said! Hubs will be home any moment now, which means you’ll have some help with the evening routine. And with the kids off to bed in only a few hours, that’ll give you the rest of the evening to sip on a glass of wine and watch the latest season of The Good Place, (shame on you if you haven’t seen it!). You expect it will be exactly what you need to rejuvenate.
Then suddenly a text comes in from a family friend. A fellow mom friend, reminding you of the potato salad you promised to bring over to the bar-b-que… It feels like that text initiated your shut down mode. You’ve been unplugged. The batteries are out. The wheels have stopped turning and your system is malfunctioning.
A bar-b-que… After such a long day with wild and crazy kids, there is a barbecue. You have to wear an actual outfit and look presentable. You have to get the kids cleaned up and appear to be a some what functional family. You have to let your husband know the moment he gets home from work that he has to go out again. Is it worth it?! Will they really notice if your family doesn’t turn up this time?
This was me today. Add to the equation that I was volunteering at the kids’ day camp everyday this week. That’s five hours of time spent taking care of someone else’s kids. I was exhausted. Our routine was all over the place. I couldn’t wrap my head around getting our entire family dressed and ready for and evening with friends at a barbecue. And not to mention on a Friday evening when I’m just about ready to crash from such a draining week. I am a train wreck. So it just makes sense to do the convenient thing for me and in turn for the kids (no one likes grumpy mommy) and my husband, (he’s first on the list to lash out at ?).
My friends won’t notice I’m not there right? The kids won’t even know what they’re missing. Wrong! I had finally gotten the baby settled after she screamed for hours during what should have been nap time. I didn’t care about anything else but having a quiet evening. So I texted the host of the barbecue and said we couldn’t come out this time.
After receiving an empathetic text in return that finished with, “we’ll miss you guys”, I triumphantly took my settled baby to her crib. The moment she touched the mattress her eyes opened wide and her screaming was unconsolable.
In that moment I received a text from another mom friend at the barbecue offering that our family ought to come out even though the kids are cranky because all of our friends’ kids were cranky as well. (These kids were all at day camp together).
It was then I realized that I was wanted. I was wanted even though I was grumpy. I was wanted even though my kids were grumpy. Everyone at that party would have had an exhausting week just like me. To end this week with a social gathering with all of our exhausted families was a way to carry each other’s burdens. A way of showing one another that we are not alone in this season of exhaustion.
When our family got to our friends’ barbecue, we were met with exhausted and smiling faces of our fellow parent friends. And some how, in the midst of our exhaustion, we all found the energy to have a great time. The kids even got a second wind and were laughing and playing together. We had a few moments of tears from crankiness. But parents were consoling all of the children together. It was a moment to not handle my exhausted kids on my own.
By the end of the night we all left in better moods than when we had came. We were so happy to have a community of friends that wanted to be with us even in a moment when we felt like we weren’t good enough to be wanted.
Have you ever felt like you needed to stay away from everyone if you’re not your best self? And especially when your family are not their best selves?