The most magical thing happened this weekend.
My husband took our four children to his parents house, and I had the house to myself for 53 hours.
For 53 straight hours (not that I kept track)…
I did not make food for anyone but myself.
When I sat down for a meal, I did not get up again until I felt like it.
The faint smell of urine grew fainter.
I did not stick to the floor once.
I listened to an audio book with cuss words. Scandalous.
I watched trash television. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY.
I stayed up late without consequence.
I slept until I woke up.
I peed alone.
I ran errands on a whim.
I did not raise my voice once.
It was as awesome as you are imagining. It was a weekend that I needed far more than I realized. A weekend without anything to do (except wrap Christmas presents because Santa has to sneaky now that my kids are older) refreshed my soul in a much needed way.
What I realized in those glorious fifty-three hours is that the reason raising kids feels hard is because raising kids is hard.
Taking a break from my daily responsibilities made me keenly aware of just how much it all is. And this was a true break because I was in my own home, and my husband had our kids…so I wasn’t worried about them.
Except for the brief moment when he didn’t call me until lunchtime, and I feared they might have all died in a house fire overnight. I was worried enough to mentally plan their funerals but not enough to actually call. These are feelings I am sure you understand.
Unless you aren’t a mom. In which case it’s impossible to explain how you might potentially be a widow and yet be enjoying the quiet too much to actually find out.
They didn’t die in a fire, as I suspected…so all is well.
In the day-to-day happenings of life, you do what you have to do to get through the day. Somedays you thrive. Somedays you barely survive. And everyday you’re at least a little bit (read: a lot bit) relieved when all of your children are finally asleep.
Because the responsibility of raising children is HARD. AS. HELL.
Somehow it’s easy to forget how hard it truly is when you are grinding it out. But after taking a break from parenting for a couple of days…WHOA. It’s even harder than I realize.
Because children are the greatest part of lives and the best thing we will ever do (and are so dang cute), it’s hard to admit that it is A LOT.
And it is constant.
I think that’s what I realized the most. I did not recognize how much the constant-ness of it all exhausts me.
When I sat down to eat lunch and catch up on my DVR’d shows, the ease of it was palpable. (And amazing.)
Because on a normal day, I sit down to eat my lunch, and the following words come out of my mouth in between bites of food:
“No, you can’t play electronics. I don’t care if you’re bored.”
“Levi pooped in his pants again?”
Goes to clean Levi and starts the shower. Returns to the table after washing hands fourteen million times.
“Caleb, get off the computer. I said no electronics.”
“Luke, quit crying. Caleb, quit hitting your brother.”
“Luke, you hit him first? Then I don’t feel sorry for you.”
“Levi, get dressed. You can’t run around naked.”
“Caleb, go turn off the shower.”
“Chloe, stop yelling.”
“Boys, why did you behead her Barbies?”
“Chloe, did you say they couldn’t come to your birthday party?”
Mentally laughs that this is the greatest diss of all time for kids.
“No, you can’t ask Siri how many days until your birthday, but it’s at least 250.”
“Sure, you can do a carnival theme for your birthday.”
“Oh, really, Caleb? You and Luke have a new Mod, and there’s Endermen in it? Wow, cool.”
Tries to feign interest in the most boring video game of all time.
“You still can’t play electronics.”
“Levi, seriously, get dressed.”
Pinches that cute booty.
“No, we can’t rent a Ferris Wheel for your birthday.”
Pictures how epic a Ferris Wheel would be at a birthday party.
“Boys, seriously, stop fighting.”
“Chloe, quit yelling.”
“OH MY GOSH! EVERYBODY GO OUTSIDE. NOW!”
Everyone is unmoved by my threat.
“I SAID NOW!”
They all run out of the kitchen. And don’t go outside. But at least I have peace for five milliseconds.
And that’s just the ten minutes I take for lunch. There are literally fifteen other waking hours of the day.
I don’t have to make the disclaimer that, of course, I love it. I love being a mom. I adore my children. You already know that it’s worth it. Even if you have to waste precious moments of your life googling the language of Minecraft.
But sometimes I think we need permission to admit that the constant needs, the constant fighting, the constant noise, and the constant laundry are really, really, really exhausting.
Like more exhausting than we even comprehend.
I will resist the urge to interject a chipper, “I will miss this one day.”
I am sure in the year 2031 when my friends and I are lingering over long lunches of Cobb salads and Moscato while our kids are binge eating Ramen noodles in college, I will miss it. Well, at least some of it.
But the eventual missing of it does not change the fact that today is hard. And today is kicking my butt. And today an entire bottle of Moscato would only help if it folded my laundry.
I am not trying to be depressing. As previously explained, there are many parts of my day that are hilariously awesome and super fun. And there is nothing in the world I would rather do that raise my children. And hopefully raise them well.
But if you are having one of those days…where you feel like you’re on the brink of insanity…and the fighting won’t stop…and the dishes are piling up…and the whining is never ending…and you have no plans for dinner and everyone is hungry…and you wonder why it all feels so hard.
It’s because it is hard.
It is HARD. AS. HELL.
Rather, HARD AS NETHER, as they probably say in the fictional world that I cannot, for the life of me, understand.