I have an account at a bank that typically has $1.37 in it. I have had the account since high school and only keep it open because it’s in a different state and would take too much effort to close it.
I check the balance every once in awhile, just to make sure all is well.
So you can my surprise when I checked it this week, and there was $4,001.37 in it! Back in March, a $4,000 deposit was made. I immediately called my mom because she is the only person who even knows the account exists. And she’s the most generous person I know, so it wouldn’t have been beyond her to have done something crazy. Looking over her meticulous accounting records, though, she found no trace of the deposit.
Thus began our mother-daughter recon work.
I hoped the money was some sort of miracle sent to help me pay off bills from the most expensive summer of my life where everything in my house seemed to break.
My mom went down the rabbit hole of QuickBooks trying to find an accounting error. Surely, she had deposited a check in the wrong account?!
We both wondered aloud if my husband was living a double life. I’m kidding.
We both like a good detective show, so we pretended to be super sleuths and hashed out the possibilities for over an hour…never once considering that the money may not actually be mine. I mean, the money was deposited in March. Who doesn’t notice they’re missing $4,000??
My mom discussed it with my dad, who, unlike us, does not play detective in his free time. He is a lawyer and actually pays attention to things such as “facts” and “reality”. And, like any good lawyer (and dad), he would prefer for me to stay out of prison for embezzlement, so he suggested I call the bank and ask for a copy of the deposited check.
Darn him and his quest for truth.
The bank emailed me the check, and much to my dismay, it was not my money after all. The check was written to a man sharing my husband’s name, but it was very obvious it was not for us. Unless, of course, he IS living a double life, and his secret alias is a trust fund kid from Indiana.
It turns out that the person who doesn’t notice $4,000 missing is a trust fund kid from Indiana.
I told the bank of the error, the money was given to its rightful owner (I presume), and my bank account returned to its piddly $1.37.
Even though it turned out to be just a crazy story, the possibility of $4,000 appearing out of nowhere felt like the most incredible miracle in the midst of a very hard week.
Because, friends, this week kicked my butt.
Before becoming a parent, I had magical dreams of teaching my children beautiful virtues and strong moral character. I dreamed of the parent I hoped I’d be. Instead, I am pretty much drowning in the sea of good intentions with very little execution of those hopes. Which is equal parts necessary to surviving the dailyness of life and disheartening that it feels like I can barely do more than survive.
This week included my husband teaching my son why it is inappropriate to draw a giant penis on Moses at Sunday School. And I threw up a little in my mouth when another son wished that toilet paper turned his poop into Nutella. Beautiful virtues continue to allude us.
During a potential hurricane, our roof started leaking. Impeccable timing.
My children fight…and fight…and fight. And just when I think they have nothing left to argue about, they fight again. And while they fight, they destroy the house at an alarming rate.
My never-sick kids can’t seem to stay well. It’s nothing major, thankfully, but it’s unusual for them.
I really try not to complain. I try to take it all in stride and focus on the good. There is so much good. I know all problems pass and life happens. I know my kids are growing up fast. But this week…it all felt like too much.
The way I handle stress is by cleaning. So when I was overcome with all of the frustrating emotions of the week (and month…and year…), I stayed up until 3:30 one morning to really clean my house. Which is really smart when you have four children to parent the next day.
While I mopped my floor, I bawled my eyes out. Yes, life is hard. And right now, the circumstances of life are overwhelming me to the point of tears on a regular basis.
But those weren’t really the reasons I was so upset.
As everyone slept peacefully in their beds while I mopped in the middle of the night, the pain of how unnoticed I am came pouring out.
Being a mom is awesome. And fun. I adore my kids and think they’re the greatest ever. I love being a mom more than anything. Except that sometimes it kinda sucks, you know?!
At any given moment, there are a million things swirling around in my head…
The physical needs: appointments, sports schedules, meal plans, laundry needs, school work…
The emotional needs: am I spending enough time with each child, who needs what from me, why does that child seem a little off today, will the whining ever stop…
The spiritual needs: am I passing down my faith, are my kids kind, do they have decent character…as evidenced by Moses’ penis, you can see we have some room for improvement.
The job of a mom never ends. More often than not, I am okay with this. I know it’s what I signed up for. I mean, I didn’t really know, but I figured it out pretty quickly. A mother’s sacrifice is par for the course.
But there are some days that I just want someone to notice all I do and how hard I work.
Because I think the hardest part about being a mom is how no one really notices me.
If I didn’t show up for a day or two, it would be very noticeable.
But when everyone’s laundry gets done and meals get made and they all get to their games on time, the approximately six million things I do in a day go unnoticed.
While intellectually I know my family appreciates me, it doesn’t always feel that way. Sometimes, I’ll get a sweet thank you as a reminder that I am not as unnoticed as I feel. But every once in awhile…and by every once in awhile, I mean about once a week…I throw myself a little pity party for one. Because my house is a wreck, everyone complained about dinner again, and the laundry is overflowing…and while everyone is having champagne wishes and caviar dreams, the visual reminder of my six million unnoticed jobs overwhelms me. And I bawl my eyes out.
I don’t really have some catchy inspirational way to end this. I wish I did. It’s just I think a lot of us moms sit at home, thinking we are alone in this. Because, after a hard day, we all wake up the next morning, throw our hair up in messy bun, and pull ourselves together to face the world. We are all interacting with each other’s best self, and we convince ourselves that everyone else has it together and that no one else is struggling.
I may be struggling more than most as I am barely hanging on by the thread after a very long week, but I have yet to meet a mom who has it all together. Most every mom I know is a great mom. And every great mom struggles and cries and loses her crap once in awhile. Every great mom doubts herself and doesn’t quite know if anything she does is actually working. But we are all putting on our game face and hoping that our best is enough. (Spoiler alert: it is.)
You aren’t alone. Next time you fall apart and have a nice long ugly cry, don’t believe the lie that you’re the only one having a hard day. Believe me, you are not alone.
Being a mom is the best ever. But it still sucks sometimes. For every single mom.