On Sunday we were over at my parents house for swimming and some bbq. The kids splashed around, my mom was wrapping up stuff for the homeschool year, and I was in the kitchen talking with my dad. With Aria on his lap, the conversation turned in an unexpected direction. He asked me how I was doing. Not a flippant "oh how are you?" that often earns a simple response of "Oh I'm good thanks." Nope this was my Dad asking how I was managing along with three kids under three. The question took me by surprise. Not because I didn't think my dad cared or because I thought it was a weird question, but because no one ever asks me. This isn't a pity party post. This is not a "Why doesn't anyone care about me post." No this post is just because no one ever asks me how I'm doing. Like really doing. It hit me because I never actually think about it. Life with three under three is pretty much routine now and I usually don't give it a second thought. We are all alive. That's a good sign right? Things are fine. But when my Dad asked me how I was, it was like a punch in the gut. I suddenly realized that I in fact, am not all that "good" and I'm not really "fine". I'm like actually riding the struggle bus pretty hard right now. Like I have a city pass for the struggle bus. That's how I'm doing.
I told my dad that life was currently quite "frazzling", spinning my wheels if you will. I'm so tired of being tired. Peter now argues with me, James has a giant meltdown at least twice a day, and Aria is teething. It's a perfect storm. My dad didn't offer any advice or try to tell me that everything will be fine. All he said was "I'm proud of you." That's it. Now hearing something like that from my father means a lot. However, I think there was something else to the statement that just hit me on another level.
The fact that my Dad didn't try and offer a ton of encouragement and "you got this" type statements was refreshing. These days I read a lot of messages from people (especially moms) encouraging other moms to keep pushing through the rough days and to keep your chin up because it gets better. I like to dish it out myself as well. Now, I think all those messages are really important. 90% of the time they help me when I'm at my lowest. But some days they just go in one ear and out the other. I'll read this super encouraging message and I don't feel a thing. I feel the same, unchanged, still discouraged and frustrated with life. Then I feel bad that I wasn't encouraged. I wonder, "what's wrong with me?" That was a beautiful message and I feel nothing. Nothing.
After some more thought about what my Dad said and how it made me feel, I realized that there isn't anything wrong with me. It's ok to just feel defeated sometimes, it's apart of our human nature. I'm not saying it's a state of being that you want to be in constantly, because who wants to feel defeated all the time? I'm just saying sometimes we have to meet ourselves where we're at. A lot of times we get some unrealistic expectations of what our life should look like, but I think if not more often, we have unrealistic expectations of how we should feel. We have unrealistic expectations on how we handle discouragement and just down right awful days. Back in college when I was going through some tough stuff, I was in my coach's office having a little heart to heart. He said something I will never forget...
"Sus, I wish I could tell you that everything is going to be ok or that everything is going to work out. I wish I could just pop into the future and come back and tell you that life is good again. But the bottom line is that I can't. I can't tell you those things because I don't know. What I do know, is that you have been given the gift of today and all that matters is how you choose to live it."
So if you're struggling today? It's ok. Don't feel like you need to turn it around and out a smile on your face. Get through it how you need to (which for me involves cake pops and coffee). I wish I could tell you that it's going to be ok but I can't. All I can say is that it's ok to struggle. It's ok to feel defeated. It's ok if someone tries to encourage you and it doesn't work. Just meet yourself where you're at and start fresh when you're ready.