Mom Parenting Wife

Showing Grace – Even to Myself

I never look forward to the first day of school. It means summer is over, fall is coming and dragging in her cold-hearted sister winter. This year, it was especially difficult. After five months of staying-at-home, our family was going to have a major adjustment. It didn’t happen all at once and it boiled down to showing grace to ourselves.

The kids are back in school. And as nice as it is for them to see their friends and be in front of actual educators (as opposed to me), it’s incredibly exhausting.

Our first week of school was only four days long. And at the end of it, we packed up our camper and headed out for the long Labor Day weekend. We got to camp in the evening and I went to bed shortly after. I popped up early hoping to enjoy the day, but my body was so tired. All I wanted to do was sleep. I was crabby. I was exhausted. I just wanted to lay down, which I actually did several times.

I was mad. I so wanted to camp, read, walk, hang out and all I could do was think about a nap.

My Labor Day camping trip included a lot of laying around, wearing sweatshirts and wondering why it already felt like fall.

Then I thought back to the week.

  • We started getting up at 5:45 a.m. after five months of getting up about 15 minutes before needing to login to school, work or whatever.
  • The school office needed extra help after a staff member had a family member die. I volunteered to help out. It was my job, plus assisting there. It was a lot.
  • I was suddenly walking back and forth through the school and church and getting a lot more steps than usual.
  • There was a lot of stress and anxiety associated with the kids going back to school. From school supplies shopping, forms to fill out, decisions to make and a lot of new rules to follow.
  • I had to pack for camping, which is always a bit stressful because I’m afraid I’ll forget something silly.
  • I was driving back and forth to the school and home more times than I had in recent months.
  • I was prepping for fall sports and my daughter’s return to soccer.
  • Oh, and I grew a giant stye on my right eye.

That was enough. My body had it. It was physically, mentally and emotionally over it and needed to rest. The kids were tired. I was tired. Everyone else at the school was tired. We were trying to adjust to so much (schedule, masks, new grades) and while we were excited to be back, happy to see friend and ready to move into a state of normal, we hadn’t considered how much that would zap us of energy.

My daughter has been back to playing soccer for a few weeks now. The first day she said, “I’m going to be sore tomorrow.” And then the next day, she said, “Why am I still so sore?” Um, because you haven’t played that hard for that long since MARCH.

We all have to ease ourselves back into this. We can’t expect just to fall into place and handle it right from the start.

It’s a mess. I’m a mess. But we are getting there.

I’m keeping up with my planner, staying on top of my schedule, attempting to keep myself organized and then, giving myself some grace.

As stupid as it sounds, I have to build up my “life in a pandemic, while working two jobs, and my kids are back at school” muscles. Today was arm day in my workout. I came home, and I was tired. I figured I’d work out after dinner, but a headache completely came on while I was eating and refused to let up. So, I let go.

Despite what my workout group wants me to believe, I don’t have to work out every single day. I can skip a day, eat a few Oreos and go to bed early. Being physically tired is going to make me mentally tired. And when I’m tired, life becomes overwhelming.

So, I’m giving myself the space and the grace to say, “It’s okay to not ______.” Cook dinner. Workout. Fold the laundry. Weed. And I don’t do that every day. I won’t make a habit of it, but at least I can rest my body and my brain…at least for a few hours.