Recently I’ve had these feelings come over me. I’m sure you know the ones. Overwhelmed. Over stitmulated. Just over. Over it all.
Everything was too much. The kids were loud. The chores were piled up. Dinner was exploding on the kitchen counters. And someone had tracked chicken poo in the house. Again. It was in that moment, with sauces simmering, the oven groaning under the load of a heavy dutch oven, a child practicing her wazoogle, and another child complaining that she won’t like dinner, that I decided to go on strike. If I made a protest sign and paced the sidewalks in front of the house, surely they would get the picture and give this tired mom a break. Right?
But most likely not.
Moments like this, especially when they stretch longer than just momets, make me think that I need more breaks. I need time off. And it’s true, everyone needs a break. But I can’t really take my mothering hat off and cease being a mom. I can’t take grown up hat off and not be an adult either.
And that there is the whole problem.
I’ve seen it on cute pictures when I scroll Facebook. I’ve seen it on t-shirts. Heck, I’ve even seen it on coffee mugs. Don’t make me adult today. I can’t adult. It creates this thing in me when I see this message pop up. It’s making me think I deserve some time for when I don’t have to be the responsible one, the grown up, the adult.
This whole adulting thing is tricking us. At least it is me. It’s causing me to feel like I deserve to not adult. I deserve a break. I deserve time off from the hard life of being a grown up. But the truth is that I don’t. Not really. I signed up for this life when I decided to marry at 21 and start popping babies out at 24. I choose this when I signed my mortgage papers and then willingly took on all the bills that homeownership implies. I agreed to this when I choose the life of motherhood and grown up-ness.
I spent the last few weeks begging Zac for some time off. I kept thinking that if I just had an afternoon, an evening, a week (kidding about that, well-sort of) off I would be so much better at this whole grown up gig. And because Zac loves me, he tried his hardest to make it happen. But life threw us curveball after curveball, making it very hard to grab that time. I found myself praying about it, and not the righteous prayer of a fervent saint. It was more like the desperate, selfish prayer of an over-scheduled and burnt out mom. It went something along the lines of, give me this time off! I deserve it! I just can’t adult!
Admittedly, that wasn’t my finest moment. But just like God always does, he met me there in my selfish pity party. He reminded me if I was grown up about my schedule and how I planned my days I wouldn’t be in this desperate place to begin with. Because if I was mature and grown up and adult like about how I spent my time, I would have allowed time for breaks and time for margin. If I had that time, I wouldn’t be feeling so over everything and ready to hide under a blanket with a box of cookies.
I needed to learn to be selflessly selfish.
Allow me to explain. Demanding time off from adulting just because I deserve a break is selfish. But proactivly planning for margin allows space so that the requiremtns of being an adult don’t do me in. I was feeling like I needed a break exactly because I hadn’t been allowing myself a break. I had packed my life so full with plans and obligations and things, that I had no margin for rest and recovery. I had no room for things that fill me up and give me the fortitude to carry on doing this adutling thing.
So naturally, I’ve been feeling like I can’t adult because I was worn out. I need to allow room for rest. It’s not selfish to plan my schedule so there’s time to do the things that fill me up. It is selfish to wear myself out to the point of burn out and then demand that my family adjust their entire weekend so I can have a day off.
I don’t want to not adult. Because I am an adult. And I’m really happy about that.