It’s. Been. A. Week. Anyone else? Seriously. The things that happened at the beginning of the week, like the snow and shoveling my driveway on Monday, or the MomHeart Group I went to on Tuesday evening seem like they were weeks ago.
Noah was sick last weekend and I ended up bringing him to the doctor on Tuesday. Bacterial infection. Amoxicillin. If you have (or had) small children, you know the drill. He’s much better now, but the girls are sick. And I have a horrible cough. The week has had some ups and downs, a lot of downs. But probably the biggest downer of all, is this feeling of failure in every department of my life that I’ve let linger all week. Why do we do this to ourselves? I know a lot of other moms go through this. So I’m opening up about my own feelings of weakness.
I guess it started on Monday. The snow plus Noah being sick meant a sick/snow day to start the week. I feel like I see occasional Facebook posts of other moms with their sick kids having a snuggly movie day under a blanket with some tea or hot cocoa. It looks so lovely and serene! (And of course, it’s only a picture, and we all know a 2-second photo that gets posted on Facebook is not necessarily the reality of an entire day, but it seems like it, sometimes, doesn’t it?) So I was hoping to have such a day with my kids. But I can only sit down and snuggle with my sick children after I’ve…
- disinfected the entire house
- changed bed sheets
- started laundry
- cleaned the kitchen and bathroom
- cleaned out all the humidifiers because oh my goodness did you see the GMA special on how much bacteria can grow in humidifiers if they aren’t properly cleaned regularly?! Yuck!
- bleached the window sills to get rid of any black mildew or mold… or is that just dirty dust that’s worked its way into the corners of the windows from every other time I clean the windows and sills? Doesn’t matter, bleach it!
- and on this day in particular, shoveled the driveway
So by the time I was actually able to sit down and try to get some snuggle time in, Abby, who wasn’t sick at the time, couldn’t sit still and watch another movie if you paid her, and Noah was falling asleep. So the day came and went without that perfect Kodak moment. Initiate feeling of failure. (And to clarify, it’s not just about getting the cute pic on Facebook. It’s about not getting that time, that moment. Don’t sick kids need mommy snuggles??? Am I a bad mother because I spent the day cleaning the house instead of hugging my kids??? Not that I don’t hug them all the time anyways, but, these were my thoughts.) Here’s what my house typically looks like with sick children…
My kids have been sick with colds recently so this new wave of sickness felt familiar. Which led to a whole new set of questions leading to my feeling of failure…
- why are my kids “always” (yes, huge exaggeration but this is how it felt) sick?!
- I haven’t refilled their vitamins in a while, is that the reason?
- Am I not feeding them enough fruits and vegetables?
- Are they not getting enough vitamin C?
- Is my house not clean enough?
- Am I not instilling enough “clean” habits?
- Am I FAILING as a mom because I can’t keep my kids healthy??? What are other people thinking in secret about what our house must be like if my kids are sick all the time…
We took December off from school so we could relax and embrace the reason for the season. I also hoped to play lots of educational games and do some supplement work to our curriculum. And here it was, week 2 of our 4-week hiatus, and we were stuck being sick. And not all at once. So when Noah was sick, I was busy cleaning and looking after him (and the baby) and then when he got better, Abby got sick, then Emmalyn. And now I have a terrible cough/cold! So there’s always been a reason we couldn’t get something done. How is it possible that I’m “behind” in my “break schedule?” That has to be some kind of oxymoron. So among this week of weirdness and sickness, these were some of the failing thoughts that I let grab a hold of me…
- Why can’t I keep my kids healthy? I’m a bad mom.
- We’re not having the “educational fun” and “embracing the season” like I envisioned for December. I’m a bad homeschool mom.
- Even though we’re not officially doing school this month, I still can’t find the time to balance the checkbook or budget and have caused my husband stress over this. I’m a bad wife.
- Even though we’re not officially doing school this month, I’m not putting in as much time as I’d like at work to get done what I want. I’m bad at time management.
- I found a recipe for a immune booster smoothie that I decided to serve my family each morning to help ward off future sickness, but it was not well-received. (Too pulpy.) And I only served it a few mornings. I’m a bad mom.
- I didn’t get my Christmas shopping done when I wanted to. I thought I would be “ahead of the game” and I’m not. I’m bad at getting things done.
- I can’t manage to get up early enough to do my quiet time AND exercise like I’d like to. I’m bad at taking care of myself.
These are the thoughts that swirled around my head and heart all week, nearly crippling me. I know that they’re not true. Sure, I can improve on all these things because I’m not perfect, but I’m also not bad at all of them, or a failure. I know this. But when you’re weak (like, because you’re tackling sickness during the holiday season and feeling stressed) the Enemy creeps in. And I let him. I let him allow me to focus on my shortcomings and to feel like a failure. And in doing so, it took my focus off of Christ. And when Christ is not at the center of my universe, it sort of spins out of control, you know? His grace is sufficient for me, and His power is made strong in my weakness. This truth was forgotten this past week. I hope to never let it be forgotten again.
I will say, that as melancholy as this post has been, I’m doing much better at the start of this week. (At least mentally; physically, I kinda feel like crap still.) And at the end of last week, I had a nice text-pet-talk with my good friend (and mom hero), Amanda. I know we can all be in this same boat at times, ladies. Let me encourage you that you’re not alone if you’ve felt these things, and please take hold of 2 Corinthians 12:9 and claim it for yourself! You’re not a failure, you’re a child of God and have the glorious privilege of resting in Him.
Looking for an immune-boosting smoothie recipe? I think I got this one down, as this morning, the kids said it was the “best smoothie ever!” This smoothie is jam-packed with vitamin C and can be a good “pick-me-up” if you start to experience the “winter blues.” I don’t really measure, so bear with me. For my 3 kids I used…
- handful of whole strawberries (stems included)*
- 1 banana**
- handful of chopped pineapple
- 1/2 – 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 TB almond butter**
- 1-2 TB wheat germ**
Blend until smooth. Serve cold! 🙂
*Strawberry stems are edible and very healthy, containing extra vitamin C and minerals, which is why I leave them on for a smoothie. Faster prep since I don’t have to cut up the strawberries, and the kids don’t even notice!
**Not included in the original “vitamin C” smoothies I was looking into, but they made the smoothie taste better for the my kids and the wheat germ helps to fill them up a bit more.
I serve this smoothie WITH FOOD for their breakfast. Growing kids need a good breakfast! Randy and I could just have the smoothie as our meal and be fine! (Although, I pack him a different “protein” smoothie for lunch, so if I want to serve him this for breakfast, I usually make some other food as well. Don’t want him to feel like he’s on a liquid diet. haha!) For Randy and I, I add frozen, chopped kale; but my kids pick up on that right away so I leave it out of theirs. Originally, I tried putting shredded carrots in the smoothies, too, but that’s what made it too pulpy since (although the carrots were already shredded) they didn’t break down enough. I like the benefits carrots have to offer and I want to get vegetables in the smoothie, too, so I might try carrot juice in the future.