These days, I’m an expert at only one thing really — dropping balls. Everywhere I look actually. But I’m not saying sorry. Here’s why …
I have these imaginary conversations with all the professionals in my children’s lives. It goes something like this:
Them: Wow. You know, we hate to say it. But your kid is ____ (fill in the blank), and it really looks like you don’t have your stuff together.
You see, if we actually did have this conversation, they would be right. I don’t have it all together. Not even close.
I’m fostering a traumatized child. I’m managing one million appointments. (And if that appointment is for a particular child, assume it takes me quadruple the time it would take for a biological child.)
I’m still nursing a toddler. I’m not sleeping through the night. I have a chronic health condition that I’m still sorting out.
I’m parenting four kids. (And whoever said three is the hardest was smoking something.)
Sometimes, meeting the needs of one of my children makes it look like I’m dropping the ball on the other one.
Late to pick up the kids from school again? Why (unapologetically) yes, I am.
I had to take two of my kids to occupational therapy appointments, which pushed back nap for the toddler, and then still had to get groceries so we had dinner that night.
So yes, my children will wait in the office for ten extra minutes so I can run through a store and grab dinner before picking them up — because we still have appointments in the evening I have to be home for and have dinner done for as well.
Because food is important.
So are naps.
So is my sanity.
I’m pulled in all directions right now. So I’m asking for grace. But to be clear — I’m not saying sorry.
I’m not saying sorry for making executive decisions on which need takes my highest priority right now, even if that very need is your highest priority.
I’m not saying sorry for resting when I have to. It may not look like I’m being productive, and perhaps it looks extravagant and luxurious to you, but to me, resting means survival. I cannot show up for my kids if I have used up all my energy and have nothing left to give.
I’m not saying sorry for putting my family’s needs above my own at times (and vice versa). And my needs above yours sometimes.
I’m not saying sorry for dropping the ball on work. I’m sad that I am, I hate that I am — but somehow juggling all the mental decisions and tasks that make our family run causes me to forget other things. I hate that it is inconvenient, I hate that it reflects so poorly on the work ethic I pride myself in — but …
I’m not sorry because I’m doing my best.
I’m doing my best. This is what I come down to time and time again.
And I know I’m not alone.
I hear this from friends who face daily battles which are invisible to everyone else.
We moms are juggling massive mental, emotional, work and family issues that are exhausting, and with society’s expectations so high — no wonder we’re dropping balls.
We’re juggling the needs of more than one child, and oftentimes extra-needs children, and sometimes what one child needs conflicts with another child’s needs. It’s exhausting to manage.
We’re dealing with our own crap too — our health issues, lack of sleep, postpartum hormones, relational stress, or even grief.
We chronically look like we don’t have it all together because — newsflash — we don’t. It’s impossible.
And we shouldn’t have to pretend like that is on us.
We all need grace. All of us. Whether we look like we have it all together or not.
Grace to assume we are doing all that we can.
Grace to believe that there is more we are carrying than what we are letting on (and grace to let us share those burdens when we desperately need support).
Grace to say “I’ll help” even before being asked.
Grace to know we drop balls — even things we care about — because we have to.
Grace to say, “It’s OK … I get it” because even if you don’t know what this particular brand of crazy looks like, you’ve been through your own version and you get it.
So yes … I’m asking for, hoping for, pleading for grace. But I’m not saying sorry.
And when you need grace, and you can’t bring yourself to apologize when you are doing your best — I promise, I’ll have lots of grace to give. Because I’ve learned to freely give it to myself — and I have lots of grace to spare.
This post originally appeared on The Lewis Note