“I Don’t Know How You Do It!”

Many of the moms I’ve met since moving to my area in LA have just one child.  When I mention my three, they look straight into my eyes, sometimes shake their head slowly and say, “I don’t know how you do it.”

It mostly makes me feel validated for all that I do, since I often feel invisible and my “work” only gets noticed if I were to drop the ball.  Other times, it makes me feel like confessing, “If you only knew…I’m cracking these days.”  Wait, I did say that aloud, just this week, to my kids’ basketball coaches (dads of young ones) as they laughed about cracking too except I wasn’t laughing.

Summer parenting has been A LOT in a way I don’t have the patience to get into, and this is with the sons in various activities, not lounging around under my roof.  For one, I didn’t know how chauffeuring them around town, on a schedule, which sounds passive enough, would increase my anxiety.  Girl is two years old and ackin’ very two-ish from her middle carseat, demanding all the songs and snacks and no, different song!, and even hugs as I drive because Mom sitting in the driver seat is too far away.

I’d been feeling a nudge to CREATE SPACE for a while now as our lives are packed and when the nudge became a shove after a couple Facebook posts affected me, I removed Facebook from my phone.  The bad outweighed the good for me, for now, and there was no need for my already crammed mind to be filled with acquaintances’ summer travel or my heart affected again by seeing updates from those I was once close to, now like strangers from atrophy.

I’m not sure the point of this post but it has been TOO long since I’ve written more than To Do lists and I need to get back to doing the things that I love.

I wholly appreciate how the Lord knows what I need in big and small ways.  He sent me an unexpected encouragement through a stranger (a dad) who said he saw me at my boys’ sports camp, marching in, wearing the Girl, motioning quietly to the staff that I’m pulling out the boys to take them to swim.  He told me that he was so impressed that he even texted his wife about me, saying man, you should have seen this mom!  He added that he knows how moms don’t get affirmed enough for all that they do while dads get lionized for just being with their kids in public.  Seems like a small thing but it nearly made me tear up.

God also brought me a new friend I was able to walk and talk with, with a total of zero kids between the two of us, and it was such a gift.  After moving here about a year ago, I joined so many groups, thirsting for connection.  I think I found some support and community but not the deeper, individual connections that might take a while to build (it’s only been a year).  I missed the intimacy and natural chemistry of talking with a few someones who just get me and vice versa.  I miss the handful of close friends I did life with in NYC though yes, I know I pined away for CA while there.

I told the new friend about something enraging that happened to me yesterday and instead of the usual advice to just shake it off, reminders about how blessed I am otherwise, or other directives to please just make it all better by not spending one more second expressing truthfully how it made me feel, she gifted me with, “OF COURSE THIS SHOULD MAKE YOU MAD.  OF COURSE!  YOU’VE BEEN INJURED.”

And again, when I shared with an acquaintance, and he responded by inspecting my hand and remarking, “How bad were your knuckles bleedin’ when you hit her?” (I didn’t hit anyone but his deadpan question just made my morning after a terrible day yesterday).

Here’s to the rest of the summer:  creating space, creating, nature, quiet, nudges and shoves, deep breaths, letting go, and breaking bad cycles.  P.S. Facebook keeps sending me emails to jump back in, even asking me if I’m having trouble logging in.  That’s wrong!

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