trinkets and garbage

First of all, thank you so much for your encouraging comments yesterday.  Gretchen hit the nail on the head when she said, "some days just transcend the word bad."  Yes.  That is what happened.

When I was a teenager and full of teenager turmoil I had this reoccurring image in my head, an image of a room.  It was so vivid it was suffocating and I can picture it, even now. It was a room that was dark and crowded and filled with sharp and burning things.  There wasn't an easy exit; there was nowhere to turn that wasn't painful.  When I would get upset, I could picture myself in this room turning around and around looking for a path.  There wasn't one.  There was one safe chair and I would sit back down, knowing I was going to be stuck there in that safe-chair for awhile.  I was stuck in that room and that chair for years. 

Yesterday morning was truly terrible. I don't like to admit to myself or anyone else that I have really bad mom days because I don't like to dwell on them.  I like to get my act together and tra-la-la along.  I fast forward through the hard parts of what I do everyday and focus on the many wonderful parts. I do not do this to fake people or myself out.  I do it because I am not in that chair in that dark room anymore. I am in a different room full of pretty things and tangible love and sunny lemonade air and I like it here.

But still.  Yesterday.  It was terrible. 

One thing after another led to a perfect storm of frustration and lots of tears.  I tried to fix things.  I tried praying, I tried hiding in Clark's bed for a few minutes, I tried taking the kids outside. Each move led to a new bigger problem and the volume on the wailing and whining kept increasing. After a few hours I truly felt that I was undergoing some kind of torture and found myself yelling back at my three year old in a voice I have never used before, a voice that scared my one year old and made her cry and then made me cry.  I was done.  D-O-N-E done.

It was the very lowest low I have felt in the three and a half years I have been a mom.

I have never before felt that bad about myself and my ability to be in charge of these babies and run a house and keep up with everything and do a good job.  I felt like a giant red flashing failure.  A giant red flashing failure who is having another baby in 13 weeks.

And then an image popped into my head.  I felt myself spontaneously visualizing it and then it came clearly into focus. I remembered the room image that I couldn't chase away as a teenager and this felt just like that.  Except it wasn't a room.  It was a big heap of clay, like modeling clay or something. It was filled with garbage and trinkets and junk.  I could see it there in my mind, clear as a photo, and I somehow felt it was me and I was that stuff, all of it, trinkets and garbage and clay.  I prayed again and asked God to help me get all of my junk sorted out. I know He knew what I meant.


  1. Oh, Erin. We all go through this. I myself go through it at least once a week. It's hard to be a mommy sometimes. Yesterday was bad here too. Elliott gave Faith a bloody nose, and that was the least tragic thing that happened all day. Today has been good so far, knock on wood. And tomorrow will probably be good too. But it might be bad. Or worse than yesterday even was.
    I just have to remind myself to take it day to day, literally.
    Having kids, especially when you're pregnant, is all about survival. Getting everyone into bed alive and mostly clean at the end of the day is cause for celebration.

  2. erin. i get this so very much. i have had that moment. that exact moment of scaring my sweet, little baby and wondering what in the world has happened. i think i live my life...my mothering...much like you. tra la la-ing and not just surviving, but thriving, loving it. being intentional.

    i think when these days come then, it is even harder to take. it's so unexpected and NOTHING fixes it.
    actually, i had a day yesterday, too. i couldn't yell because i had a puking migraine, but i repeatedly cried and said, "OH, this day." i NEVER want to wish away days, but i'm so glad yesterday is over for both of us.

    happy day, happy weekend to you. oh wait, i'm not done. i totally thought yesterday too, "what in the world are we doing praying for our next child to be revealed?! i stink at this, how could we have another?!" sigh, sigh, sigh.

  3. I am so sorry Erin. I have had that moment, that screaming crazy mom make your child burst into tears moment. It felt like hell.

    Also? I am reminded that there are kids out there who are so used to being around yelling and screaming that they are desensitized to it and don't react at all. Those are not our kids. I pray for those kids and for us on our bad days and I'm grateful for a sensitive kid whose spirit is intact.

    You are an excellent mom. Excellent moms have crap days.
    Hope today is better.

  4. erin, i was right there with you yesterday. i spent most of the day crying. not weeping - sobbing. it was rough and ended with me wanting to pray, but not even knowing what to say, just crying out to god for help.
    thank god every day begins new! every mom has days like that. we've all made our kids cry because of our short tempers. thank god that you have a sensitive heart that recognizes it, repents and asks for help.


  5. Oh, gosh, I hate this for you, but I know exactly what you mean. I think we all have days like this...days that just won't freaking end and refuse to get better, days when the sun doesn't shine like we want it to. For the most part this mommyhood gig is incredible and wonderful and very "tra la la", but sometimes it isn't. I'm glad your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is over now. I hope the tra la laing makes a reappearance very soon.

    And, God totally gets it. :)

  6. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing the honest and hard. Hang in there, mama.

    xo e.

  7. We all get it, you are absolutely not alone. Believe me. I can't offer up much more than that, I know where you're at, but I must tell you that lately I've been seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and it's keeping me going. I think after this baby is born you'll see so many things fall more into place. Remember what Clark looked like when you had Alice? Alice is going to be Clark this time. How fast did that go? And I don't mean for this to be a sad reflection, but more of- you get through it. You will make it and if only for the fact that this type of stuff- the growls and the sads and the bad days upset you- that is testimony that you ARE NOT a failure. You are constantly aware, so much, so caring, so involved and loving, You are a good mother.


  8. I am so glad yesterday's howling-sort of-day is history. We've all been there and there is nothing to do but fall on your knees sometimes.

    God is pretty good at sorting out the junk and leading us through. In fact, he's the best at it. I've never done it without him.

  9. this post is ugly, beautiful, wonderful and full of truths. I've had a really hard week and I can totally relate.

  10. Those days come.
    They do.
    And there isn't any help for it but to grab tighter to the oars and row harder.

    I promise there is a rainbow harbor around the bend.

    And I totally feel what Love said...about wondering how we can wish for more children when we fail so much at blessing THESE.
    Sigh, sigh, sigh is right.

    I just have to know that my weakness is where He is made strong.

    I wish I could bring you cupcakes.
    ---Sara Sophia

  11. I'm so sorry Erin that you had such a tough day. That same exact day I had a meltdown too (and I only have ONE child!). I like this post, not because of what you went through, but because it is REAL stuff that all mommys go through, and it is nice to know that we're not all alone. You are a great mama :)

  12. Every Mom has these days. I just found your blog and have read a few old posts , you sound like a pretty awesome Mom! Don't fret :) I unfortunately had one this week as well. I'll pray for you :)

  13. i wrote this really long comment about my experience with my [much more frequent] days like this, and then deleted it. i'm compelled to blog about it instead, seeing as how it is a subject we can all understand and identify with. kisses from the dirty south. you do things much better than i.