Latest Posts
Posted on 9/22/2017 by Stacy Mal
Posted on 7/28/2017 by Stacy Mal
Posted on 7/19/2017 by Stacy Mal
  The Catholic Blog

Breathing

Posted on 9/22/2017 by Stacy Mal
image

Sometimes It All Gets A Little Too Much.

The memories that have been popping up for me in Facebook are surreal. It was this week, one year ago, that Eva was in the hospital and diagnosed with Lyme disease. Shortly after that, we discovered Abby had it too, and we began to home school them.

 

I still kept working my regular marketing job, while running a side health business. Managing all that while caring for (and homeschooling) two kids with chronic illness was, well, interesting. Some days I felt my other two kids and my husband got the raw end of the deal when they came home from school and work. They got what was left of me, which was much like "fridge leftovers," not always very appealing.  

 

Some days I couldn't wait for those 5 minutes in the car... when I had just dropped off one kid at an activity, before I picked the next kid up (it was my ONLY alone time, ever).

 

I would turn on the song by Shawn Mendez, "It All Gets A Little Too Much." I would turn it up as loud as it could go. I would sing as loud as I could sing. I would bang my hand on the steering wheel. And I would cry. In those few moments driving, by myself, I would let loose and let go, to a song that I swear was written just for me (and maybe every other mom on the planet). I would sing with every ounce of myself the lyrics that somehow seemed to read my soul.

 

"She would not show that she was afraid,

But being and feeling alone was too much to face,

Though everyone said that she was so strong,

What they didn't know is that she could barely carry on,

 

But she knew that she would be okay,

So she didn't let it get in her way,

 

Sometimes it all gets a little too much,

But you gotta realize that soon the fog will clear up,

And you don't have to be afraid, because we're all the same,

And we know that sometimes it all gets a little too much,

 

She would always tell herself she could do this

She would use no help it would be just fine

But when it got hard she would lose her focus

So take my hand and we'll be alright....."

 

In my minivan, I would sing, and I would cry. I would dig down deep and find the strength to keep going before I picked up the next kid. And it would work. At least for a little while.

 

Abby and Eva made enormous strides in terms of their health this past year, and they have just about conquered Lyme disease. They did amazing homeschooling last year too. I loved every minute homeschooling them and watching them progress, physically, academically and emotionally.

 

But it came at a very high cost to me.

 

And as soon as we started again this year, I began feeling it. The lack of sleep, the anxiety, the perpetual lump in your throat signifying that at any moment tears could fall. My body began questioning whether I could do this for another year. My mommy heart assured me that I could, that I MUST. And a battle took place inside me.

 

Then it happened. My husband looked at me -- with only a look that he could give -- a look of kindness, and compassion, a look of love. And he said, "You can't do this."

 

There it was. The dreaded words that I would never (EVER) tell myself, words I always thought meant failure and defeat and weakness. But, somehow, those words coming from HIM (in love) did not mean any of those things. When HE said 'I could not do this,' it did not mean that I had failed. It did not mean that he was condemning me. It did not mean that I had let our kids down, or that he thought I was weak.

 

It meant that he loved me.

 

He loved me enough to tell me something he knew I didn't want to hear. THAT, my friends, is a true partner. It's true love. Somehow he was able to tell me something that I could never tell myself... and what's more miraculous, I was actually able to hear him. Somehow his words didn't hurt like I always thought they would. Instead, in a weird sort of way, they freed me from unattainable perfection. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I could breathe. Somehow in my brokenness, he gave me the power to rebuild.

 

The reality was that our kids are strong enough to go back to school. They are healthy enough to handle it. They are not behind academically either. In fact, the only thing that was holding them back was my fear that they couldn't continue to make progress without me. (Ugh, how humbling.) We needed to home school them last year through Lyme disease. There was no question about it. And God gave us the grace to get through that. But the "need" wasn't there anymore. And neither was the grace.

 

And so, this week, exactly one year later, we decided to send Abby and Eva back to school. Yes, this is just a few short weeks after I posted pictures of them and our home school classroom... all ready for another year. (Like I said, this is soooo humbling.)

 

I actually considered not posting about this out of embarrassment.  But I have always tried to be as transparent as possible on this blog (hence this picture of me with zero make up, dirty hair and pony tail). What you see is what you get. My life is not filtered (or censored). And so, I felt like I absolutely HAD to write about this. So... here it is. This is me admitting to you all that I don't have it figured out. I'm not perfect. I can't handle everything. I need help. And right now, I need the help of teachers.

 

This is something I want every mom to know. Whether you work, or don't work. Whether you home school or send your kids to school. Whether you're married or divorced. Here's what I want you to know: It's ok to NOT be perfect. It's ok to NOT be able to do it all. It's ok to ask for help, to get overwhelmed, to live unfiltered.

 

You don't need to "keep up" with other moms, because the truth is, they aren't keeping up either. Parenthood is hard. Really, REALLY hard. I didn't want to post about this because I was embarrassed that I couldn't handle homeschooling anymore. But why? Why was I embarrassed? Nowhere in the "mom handbook" does it say we have to do it ALL, or that there is only ONE "right" way to parent.

 

The truth is: the only "right way" to parent is to love your kids enough to be honest with yourself about your limitations so you can give them the best version of yourself, however it is that we can accomplish that. And to not compare ourselves with other parents, to not set the bar so high that we set ourselves up for failure. The only "right way" to parent is to be open to God's will and His grace, and to follow where He leads (regardless if it is not what you envisioned, even if it is down a very humbling way).

 

I will admit: this is not what I originally had hoped for. This is not at all what I planned. This is not what I had worked so sooooo hard for. But it is what is best. My kids going back to school does not mean that I failed them, and it does not mean that I am weak. It means I love them enough to swallow my pride and ask for help because it's what is best for them and our family.

 

And God is so good that He has provided an opportunity for them to attend an AMAZING Catholic school. They have been welcomed so warmly there that it has brought me to tears SEVERAL different times this week. From teachers, staff, and other parents... who smile and go out of their way to make you feel at home.

 

My gosh. It is as if a weight has fallen from my heart and those self-inflicted chains have been broken. Finally, my heart is at ease... for the first time in a very long time. It's quite a feeling. To know my children are ok. That they are better than ok. All because of my husband loves me and we have the support of wonderful community.

 

Ironically, as I was writing this, that Shawn Mendez song began to play on my playlist, and I admit I started to cry again. But for totally different reasons. The second verse means so much more to me now that the fog is beginning to lift..

Sometimes it all gets a little too much,

But you gotta realize that soon the fog will clear up,

And you don't have to be afraid, because we're all the same,

And we know that sometimes it all gets a little too much,

 

I pray that any mom reading this (who feels like "it all gets a little too much") I pray that, while reading this, she knows "you don't have to be afraid, because we're all the same."

 

I have written this for you, friend. Hang on just a bit longer. "Soon the fog will clear up." May the Lord God bless you with peace and joy.

 

https://youtu.be/Dvv6OkU874k