When the Struggle is Real

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You know those days when you know the stars have aligned perfectly for you? The super productive days where you just seem to hit the ground running? The ones where you feel energized, centered, focused, and put together?

I’m not here to talk about those days.

I want to talk about the hard days. The days when the universe is stacked against you. I’m talking about when you’re running late, the toddler’s diaper blows out in the car, and you realize you have one wipe left in the diaper bag. Days when you can’t find the baby’s last pacifier or find the energy to argue with your daughter about brushing her hair. When the mountain of laundry could have its own zip code, and the dishes in the sink smell like you’d rather throw them out and buy new ones. Days when you are at your lowest low, and life just seems to keep piling it on.

I want to talk about strength to get through those days.

I’ve had a lot more of the tough days lately. Most days I am overwhelmed with my endless to-do list. In addition to everyday chores, two of my kids have some severe health issues that are giving me streaks…yes, literal streaks, of gray hair. This fall season has been exceptionally bad. As I write this, I am preparing, mentally and emotionally, for my three-year-old son to undergo major surgery. I’m reading articles about how to explain to my happy preschooler what he is going to go through. I am rehearsing how to tell his older siblings what is going on, and what to expect for our time in the hospital. I’m managing, BUT I am struggling. Hard. And when I’m feeling low, I find myself thinking about this picture of my grandma. It might seem unrelated but hear me out…

My mom’s mom in 1988

I didn’t really know my mom’s mom. She died when I was very young, and though I have a few cloudy memories of her, I know her mostly from how my family remembers her. She cooked the most delicious food (my dad still talks about her mushroom gravy to this day!), she tended her roses, and, above all, she loved her family. In this picture, she is resting on a cot during a deck raising party my parents threw at our partially finished house.

I asked my mom recently to explain why she took this picture. She smiled wistfully as she told me, “Grandma was going through chemo and radiation after she was diagnosed with cancer, but she still drove herself to the house to help us watch you guys. She was tired, but she was smiling because she loved being with you kids. Even though the radiation drained her energy, she still wanted to help.”

She was tired. But she was smiling.

She was struggling. But she was there.

I hold onto that thought so tightly, you guys. When I’m really struggling, and I am facing something that seems insurmountable, I remember her. I remember the strength of this woman that I came from. I think about all the moms out there, working through their own struggles, making impossible decisions, and doing the best they can for their kids.

My grandma could have rolled over and pulled the covers over her head that day, like I want to do some days. She could have told my parents that she wasn’t feeling well, the drive was too far, or she just didn’t have the energy to be around all six kids. She could have let cancer make her feel bitter and angry with the world. But she didn’t. She was there, smiling through her struggle, Grand-mommin’ the heck out of life.

And that strength reminds me that being a mom is its own kind of superpower. 

Power through your own struggles, Mamas. You are stronger than you know!

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