The A/C has been out for 3 days and it’s 85 degrees in our apartment. James and I are both sweating, sitting on the floor in front of the box fan we bought from Target last night. There are puffs and toys all over.
I just spent the last 30 minutes taking all the dirty dishes out and unscrewing the filter from our dishwasher (dishwashers have a filter??) to see if that’s why it wasn’t working, while trying to distract the little one climbing on everything next to me.
Well, turns out it’s not the filter. We left the cool of the fan to feed baby James dinner-time purees when I get a phone call. It’s my landlord, probably calling to get an update on the window sill we just had fixed, or the broken A/C or the broken dishwasher.
I decide I can’t answer it right now because I’m about to start preparing dinner for my husband and I to eat when he gets home. But then I remember how desperately hot my child is and how he’s been struggling more than usual to sleep, so I decide to call the landlord back. James starts screaming to get out of his high chair, and to quiet him down, I move him to his exersaucer. As I’m on the phone with my landlord who has me on speaker phone with the lady at Home Depot asking questions about my dishwasher, I calmly try to explain to them what’s wrong. In that amount of time, baby James takes the food pouch out of my hand and squeezes it out everywhere. All over me, and him, the exersaucer, and the floor.
[Don’t panic Rosemary]
As I’m still talking, I take him out, strip him of his clothes, and he makes a dive into the same chair that he previously pulled on top himself. See here. Luckily this time it was just a little bump on his head, but the screaming followed. Mid sentence, I hung up the phone and focused on calming him back down. Home Depot called me back and James grabbed the phone and hung up on them again…
This saga went on and on, playing phone tag with different contractors, scheduling time to get things fixed, cleaning up the ongoing mess, trying to figure out why our internet has been out all week, and finally deciding to just wait to fix dinner until after James went to sleep…which he did for all of 30 minutes before waking up and crying again…
Oh, and the next day our car battery randomly died for no apparent reason.
The day above comes not too long in the lineup after James and I had an epic car ride home from visiting my in-laws, where the little boy cousins 11 weeks apart got to play! James hates his car seat, always has since he was a newborn. Of course the minute we got on the road, screaming commenced and escalated to gagging and full on hysteria. I ended up pulling over every 5-10 minutes…an hour had passed and we had gone maybe 5 miles. I’ll spare you the exhausting details but it involves going through some sketchy areas of town, getting visited by the police while pulled over, and peeing in a water bottle…
These funny stories are just my average days. Lots of fun, lots of laughs, lots of tears, lots of frustrations, the ups and downs of fussy days or weeks… balancing sleep schedules, teething, nursing, figuring out solids, walking, crawling, dinner, cleaning, errands, bath time, laundry, cleaning up blow outs, prepping to lead bible study, prepping to teach workout class, fighting sciatica pain and carrying James, the diaper bag, and 4 grocery bags up the stairs to our 3rd floor apartment etc. etc.
Some days this all seems like the most complicated thing in the world (especially those of you out there with multiple littles!), but most days it feels like the BEST job in the world. It’s easy to look at the craziness and want to just tap out… but all of this matters. I remind myself often: What you do matters and WHO you raise matters. It is a beautiful mess. As much as I occasionally get frustrated, I do LOVE these days with all my heart. And just because they’re hard days, doesn’t mean they can’t also still be very good days. And I’m learning, as many moms have advised me, to just let go of some things — the most important thing is that my son knows and feels he is loved and cherished.
I share this craziness because in our overshared, “liked” and commented social media lives, we often don’t see it.
You know those models on instagram that post the beautifully edited, posed photos holding their babies in the cutest outfits and you feel like their life is perfect?
It’s a lie.
Well, some of it. That moment when their child was snuggling was calm and sweet. But don’t be deceived by what seems to be picture-perfect…I bet that same kid decided to color the couch with sharpies right after that… Or maybe that mama is struggling because her husband is deployed or she’s just lost a parent or she’s self conscious about her post-partum body… Everyone is going through SOMETHING. And if they’ve had a good day or good week, maybe they’ll be going through something next week or next month.
It’s easy to see how we can look through the highlight reel and the smiling photos on someone’s profile and think, “Their life is perfect. I’m the only one struggling.” But the truth is, you’re not. I tell you these funny little snapshots because I don’t want you to look at anything I post and think “they must have it together!” When I look at this picture below I see extreme exhaustion and the anxiety I battled trying to leave the house, but I also see so much love and joy and wonderful memories with family. Sharing joyous moments isn’t “bad” by any means—it’s encouraging! We just sometimes need to step back and realize maybe that person went through valleys before they got to that mountain top.
Everyone has “hard”, you just might not see it unless you’re “doing life” with him or her in person. Don’t forget, to every picture there is a much deeper story. To every person there is a soul that’s weary, trying to find their balance and their purpose. To every life there are highs and lows, ebbs and flows. We all carry burdens, whether they are big or small. Look beyond the cute photos and ask someone how they are really doing. This is your friendly reminder that the struggle is real… for everyone. You are not alone.