This past Wednesday, I met my good friend Brittan at the library. She’s a homeschooling mom also, with four children, and our husbands work together. We have tried a couple times this year to meet at the Library and let the big kids do their school work while the littles play with the toys.
The boys and I arrived before she did, and they started to play with the trains and the computers. I told Judah he could spend a couple minutes playing and then he needed to get started on his school work. I grabbed for my phone to see if Brittan was on her way. Crap. I left my phone on the kitchen counter. I never forget my phone.
Brittan arrived not too long after and we figured we would give the kids a few more minutes to play with the toys while we chatted. As we talked, I started to feel a little bit nauseous. I thought it might have been a mixture of the Chai Tea I was drinking and a lack of breakfast this morning. Stupid move, Krista.
As we talked, the nausea got stronger and I began to feel a little dizzy. I thought to myself that maybe if I sat down I would feel a bit better. I staggered over to a stool near and watched as the littles played with the trains.
I tried to act cool. I didn’t want to ruin our morning. And I certainly didn’t want Brittan worrying about me. She had enough kids to look after. But I could hardly talk. I thought I was going to vomit if I opened my mouth.
“You don’t look so good, Krista”, Brittan said, looking at me like she’d just seen a ghost. I knew my face was turning white. I could feel it.
My heart was beating so hard, it felt as if it was either going to explode, or just stop beating all together from pure exhaustion. I couldn’t catch my breath. Deep breath, Krista. Deep breath.
My vision was doubled. There was two of everything.
My arms and legs had started tingling and were going numb. At this point, I wasn’t too confident that I could stand even if I tried. Get it together, Krista. Your kids are here. I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
She needs to call 911, I thought. No way, the boys will freak out. I can do this. I’m OK.
Brittan gave me some water and was starting to look worried. Clearly I didn’t look as good as I thought I was faking.
“You don’t look well enough to drive home, Krista. Where’s your phone? I’ll call Ryan”. Crap. I forgot my phone.
I tried to stand, but could barely make it a few steps.
I was so impressed with Brittan. I watched, covering my mouth for fear of puking on the library carpet, as she juggled six children under 7, all running in different directions. And, she was managing to help me; making sure I didn’t keel over from a premature heart attack.
After probably 20 minutes (but what felt like an eternity), she contacted her husband, who told Ryan what was going on and he left the office to come get me. She helped me get back to my car, where I told Judah to buckle Dex into his car seat. I turned on Tangled and laid down on the floor of my van until Ryan came to get me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was having a panic attack.
I had never had one before. In fact, I’ve always thought panic attacks were more of a figure of speech than an actual thing. Apparently, I was ignorant.
See, about eight weeks ago, Ryan was told he was getting a pay cut. And in January, he would be getting another one. When I heard the news, I spent the evening bawling, curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor. I was so scared.
That same week, I had pulled Judah out of public school and decided to home school him. I cried and cried because I wasn’t sure at the time if I was making the best decision for him. I was scared.
The following week, I got my period, and it didn’t stop. I lost over 30 ounces of blood in 9 days. When I went to the doctor, they found two cysts on my ovaries. They were ‘no big deal’. But I bled for 6 weeks nonstop. I was scared.
I’ve always handled my stress pretty well. I’ve been able to hide it. I’ve been able to control it. But not this time. It was just too much. And it had been going on for too long.
Because, to be completely honest, that was just the tip of the iceberg for me.
I needed a wake up call.
Because for the last six years, I have been scared.
Being a mom is wonderful and joyous and life-changing and purposeful. And scary.
Everyday, there are two little boys that rely on me to keep them safe and teach them everything about life and love and God and academics. About how to treat others and how to treat themselves. How to take care of their bodies and fuel their minds. How to be strong and stand up for themselves. How to be humble and put others before themselves. How to be confident and never give up on a goal. How to be kind and generous and treat everyone equally.
And I’m scared. I’m so scared that I’m screwing something up. I’m so scared that I’m saying the wrong thing or setting a poor example.
Every word I speak, I overanalyze.
Every choice I make, I scrutinize.
Every lesson I teach, I question.
Because this. is. hard.
Being a mom is hard.
I’ve come down so tough on myself for the last six years. I haven’t allowed myself to stop and take a breath.
To do, without thinking.
To live in the moment. Or enjoy those moments.
But I don’t want to be scared anymore. I don’t want to worry about every little thing I do and say.
This job is hard enough without all that.
This job is the hardest job there is.
But it’s also the most rewarding job.
And I’m tired of missing out on the reward.
Of course, I still want to know that I’m making good choices and teaching my kids the right things. We all want that.
Because we are all good moms. And we’re all trying our best.
I don’t have to be the perfect, accomplished, makeup-done, pinterest-worthy, life-lesson-out-of-every-situation mom that I was trying to be.
We are allowed to be our own version of our best without pounding ourselves into the ground.
I can be Krista, the mom God made me to be.
The dance-around-the-house, sleep-in-on-the-weekends, bathrobe-wearing, mistake-making, silly-faced mom that I so want to be.
And I don’t have to be scared doing it.
None of us do.
Mama, I know you’re scared too. I know you’ve had your panic days. Your pay cut days. Your am-I-making-the-right-decision-days.
And it piles up.
And it becomes overwhelming.
Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. Sometimes it’s hard to walk. Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy the moments that are meant to be enjoyed. Sometimes it’s tough to remember that this season is supposed to be fun and purposeful and life-changing.
I get it.
But nobody wants to go through life scared.
Mom; I’m done being scared of that word.
And I’m definitely not hitting the panic button ever again.