I think every mom has been there. You spend one too many days inside, you watch one too many Netflix episodes in a row, and all of a sudden you’re in a funk. Looking back, you can see how you got there, but in the moment it feels like a fog has suddenly slipped into your life. They say in motherhood the days are long but the years are short, and these are the longest of days. When it feels like you’re doing this all for nothing. When it feels like your whole purpose in life is to wash dishes and fold clothes. Which, granted, may be a purely satisfying existence for some, but I am not one of those people.
Traveling to a new place for Orlando’s basketball season always exacerbates this for me. When my schedule is drastically reduced, my friend count dwindles, and I’m adjusting to a new city. It happens. The process starts all over again. I slip in to that funk once again. Sometimes it’s just an “off” morning, sometimes it’s a week of pajamas and junk food. I can often recognize that I need that elusive “me time”, but I have a hard time carving it out. Something always comes up. Something always makes me feel guilty. Motherhood sometimes feels like you’re pulled in a thousand different directions, and yet there are stretches of nothingness that can drive you mad. How many times can you pick up the living room in a single day and still feel like you “accomplished” something?
I call it a funk, but some would say it’s more than that. Somebody, like perhaps Sara Bareilles. She has been my jam since college. I would listen to her album “Little Voice” (which I just realized turns ten years old this year, holy crap) to study, pass the time, and knock out ten-page papers in a pinch. But the other day I heard her song “Many The Miles” for the first time in a long time and something new rang out to me. She says:
“I made up my mind when I was a young girl
I’ve been given this one world
I won’t worry it away
But now and again I lose sight of the good life
I get stuck in a low light”
Stuck in a low light. That describes it perfectly. Motherhood is a thousand bright moments and a few blisteringly dark ones. It’s feeling like you’re the luckiest person in the world when they wake up with arms outstretched for you, and begging for bedtime to come just a few hours later. I’m working on balancing that out. I’m working on finding time to get away. I’ll sneak off to a cafe, I’ll turn over dinner time clean up to Dad so I can get just a few moments of peace alone, anything to break up the monotony of raising these precious little people day after day. And I write about it here because, as you guys know, writing is my therapy, among many things.
Does that sound horrible? Does it just sound like life? I’m going to look to Sara for advice on what to do next:
“Red letter day and I’m in a blue mood
Wishing that blue would just carry me away
I’ve been talking to God don’t know
If it’s helping or not
But surely something has got to got to got to give
Cause I can’t keep waiting to live”
I don’t even think she’s a mom, but she gets it. Maybe you do, too. Here’s the video in case you need a little commiseration today:
Like she says, don’t wait to live. Don’t let the funk win. Fight it. Fight it with everything you’ve got. Start an impromptu dance party in your kitchen. Bake a batch of cookies. Take a walk in the sunshine just because God gave you legs that can. I’m writing this for you, but I’m also writing this for me. As a reminder when the dark days come back. When you’re stuck a low light remember, as Sara says, “then love comes in.” It will come around once more. Sometimes you just have to give it a minute.
P.S. Need something to lighten up this post? The one time I saw Sara Bareilles in concert it was standing room only and I almost passed out. Not for excitement, but because I am a weak-sauce mother of two who isn’t used to being out past 10 pm, much less standing for three hours straight. LOL.