The noise of my to-do list and my stresses and all of the things I MUST be as a widowed mom of four started ringing in my ears as an unintelligible noise last night. It began as I sat at a marching band concert at 8:00 p.m. I had to leave three others home with instructions to take care of showers and baths and please, please, PLEASE go to bed on time. I realized the weight of it pressed on me when watching my son dance with the band to the drum line, I started to cry.
I texted a friend: “Tonight as I looked at the swiftly filling calendar I realized I’m tired of being supermom. I don’t want to do all of this. But the alternative is unacceptable.”
What set me off was driver’s ed. I screwed up. I didn’t do my homework fully. My eldest son had gotten his learners permit in June. I had relied on information from friends about whether driver’s ed was needed around this part of the country. Let me say quickly, it wasn’t their fault. All of them have had their licenses for almost two decades. A few things have changed.
My plans to get him his license after before school marching band practice ends this week can’t happen. If he doesn’t take driver’s ed, he can’t get it for 180 days after getting his permit. That’s in late-December. Add to that the misinformation my insurance agent gave me about the rates and I was ready to cry. His assistant caught it and gave me better information. He needs driver’s ed. The classes are full until, you guessed it, December. And December will be filled with holiday concerts so that’s out.
The glory of having another driver to help with before-school chaos and the anger at myself for not researching enough pushed me to the edge. I awoke this morning and found out another piece of bad news. My eldest son thought he was all caught up on missing assignments. He’s not. The quarter ends Friday.
As I printed out a list of assignments he needs to touch base with teachers about, I watched him become so deflated. He’s struggled this year with stress and grief. How do I help this?
I’m tired. Emotionally this is exhausting. Motherhood with four kids is exhausting enough. But as I sat at the band concert last night the list of things I need to do—large and small—for my kids, my job, my home, my church, my craft fair, and even my dreams all started running through my mind. It was like a scene in a movie where someone suddenly hears every voice speaking in a large room at once.
I keep coming back to the last line I texted my friend—“But the alternative is unacceptable.” I can’t quit being what they need me to be. I can’t stop helping them get to places they need to be or communicating with their teachers. I can’t stop helping a child with autism navigate the higher demands of high school. I can’t stop grocery shopping or paying the bills or driving 847 miles a week.
Failure is not an option.
I sit typing this listening to Tenth Avenue North’s song, Worn. It fits. I’m just worn. And since quitting is not an option today, I will try to get organized again. I will make lists, again. I will ask God to help me be what I cannot. I will ask Him to help me make it through this afternoon and evening which are filled with so many things I don’t know how I will do it. But I will do it. Because they need me to. Because I must.