She squirmed and fussed as I pulled the hair into a braid for the school performance.
“Not right!” she wept once she looked in the mirror.
I soothed her. Gave choices of which color hair tie she wanted. We negotiated back and forth for a few minutes. I finally convinced her that her four cowlicks didn’t wake up on our team, and she relented.
As we got to school, I pulled the hairspray out of my bag to hold this miracle of diplomacy in place. Somehow the cap got stuck in my purse strap as I heaved it over my shoulder. Before I knew it, I’d hairsprayed my own face! (And can I just say that “extra hold” does, actually, mean “cemented together?” Even if it is holding together facial peach fuzz!)
This whole scene, after battling my 12 year old’s weeping and gnashing of teeth when asked to take a shower. And managing the sensory overload the change in weather wrought in my 8 year old.
Once they all got to school, I came home and the cat had knocked over one of the kids’ bowls of yogurt. He was skating in it on the kitchen table as I walked in, mocking me.
Honestly, that’s a good day. Because motherhood is the perpetual
entropy motion career. Which is why it’s easy to get to the end of a day and not have a clue how weary I am, let alone be up-to-date with my emotional and relational health.
The Part We Forget (That Makes Us More Weary)
I’ve mentioned before that, when asked at dinner parties for my “best piece of coaching advice,” I often answer: “Learn how to grieve well.” It may sound morbid to us in western cultures where grief is big, scary and to be avoided at all costs. But it’s actually the secret to joy and productivity. After all, how can we experience the good in life if we live under the weight of what’s gone awry in life and relationships?
The human heart can only hold so much, friends. We’ve got to learn how to grieve to make space for healing and joy.
Which is why I love the message of a book I’m reading right now, by friend and fellow blogger at Not Alone, Kathleen Bolduc. Entitled The Spiritual Art of Raising Children With Disabilities, her book takes readers through a process of self-awareness, grief-awareness, and God-awareness that I’ve not seen in a book for parents before.
Though written for parents of children with special needs, the tools and stories in her book apply, as she even states in the first chapter, to anyone in need of emotional house-cleaning.
Kathy begins with grief—what it looks like and how to let it unfold and wash over us—so our hearts have space to find joy again. As a coach, I love how she keeps the chapters short, honest, and full of practical, fresh ideas to implement each tool she offers. She makes normal (and inviting) the idea of intentional grief as the route to reviving a weary mom’s heart.
In chapters that follow, she offers ideas for what to do now that the wound’s clean and able to heal. Topics span the gamut between active steps (cultivating new life-giving routines for ourselves, and unconventional ways of living gratitude) and passive (learning to live in the right-now and letting things be “good enough”).
Kathy’s voice is one of hope-lending mentorship since she’s walked the weary-mom road long enough to begin to see the other end of it (her grown son now lives at Safe Haven Farms, a farm community for adults with autism).
Lessons Kathy has learned along the way—lessons shared in her book—form a life-line for us moms in the thick of it today.
If you’re a weary mom—especially if that weariness stems from raising an intense child, losing someone you love, or anything else that’s nearly knocked the wind out of you—I highly recommend this book.
Whichever you do, don’t forget the value of grieving, letting go, and pursuing healing as valuable ways to revive a weary mama heart.
May your Mother’s Day be richly blessed!
P.S. If you’re more of an “I learn by doing” person, you may want to check out Kathy’s upcoming webinar on these themes! If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, Kathy invites you to join her for a free webinar on Thursday May 22nd at 1 pm EDT. She promises you an hour of rest & refreshment using art, music and Scripture. If you’re unable to attend at that time, once you’re registered you can participate at your leisure. Register here.