fussy mommy

If you’re like me, there’s a period of about two weeks every May that just about does you in. It’s the perfect storm of all of your school year commitments and obligations culminating into  a period of several days.

That storm was brewing for me last week. We finished our homeschool co-op, had the final presentation night and baseball games. I finished administering standardized tests for all three of the kids and sent the materials to be scored. I was responsible for putting on a National Day of Prayer program at PWOC last Thursday and gave a devotion at the Tuesday night study. I hosted the final PWOC prayer group at my house, finished typing up many reports and documents to put into the continuity notebook for my board position as Prayer Coordinator. I hosted a day of LEGO camp (almost finished), tied up the loose ends on our own academic school year, and just completed the final edits for my book with a self-imposed deadline of last week.

When I have so much pulling at my attention, I become frazzled. I drink way too much caffeine and then I get jittery. I don’t sleep well and therefore become tired and emotional. So I drink too much caffeine…and so the cycle repeats. I don’t take the breaks I need with exercise or enough fresh air. I fail to share my struggles with friends who could totally speak some truth and wisdom to my soul.

I think if I can just push through with more busyness and work, I will eventually get to the end of my to-do list and there will be some magic pot of gold (rest) at the end of my rainbow.

I should also add that Ryan’s past two weeks have been equally as hectic with work and chaplain responsibilities. One thing that was on his plate was being my live musician and speaker at the National Day of Prayer Program.

The night before the program was not my finest hour.

photo 1                      photo 2

What began as Ryan’s passive-aggressive request for me to make him a smoothie (like I have done a dozen times over the past few weeks) quickly escalated into me feeling under appreciated, mad and over worked.

It wasn’t just about the smoothie.

We were all rushing to a baseball game. I was trying to get everyone fed and have the kitchen “closed” for the night. It made me mad that Ryan wasn’t willing to read my mind acquiesce and go ahead and eat dinner before the game.

It upset him that I was refusing to help him out and have a smoothie ready for him after a long day at work (which, by the way, included putting in extra time to prepare music and a talk for my Prayer Program).  Well excuse me Mr. Ward Cleaver. I haven’t been home all day flitting about in my pearls and high heels…I’ve been busy and feel like I am barely fitting in everything I need to get done in the next few days.

What I was really feeling was:

  • put out that my family expected me to make them dinner
  • mad that Ryan wouldn’t just be happy to eat a burger early
  • put upon that he wanted me to make him a smoothie
  • hurt that no one sensed my own feelings of being overwhelmed
  • jealous that no one ever offers to make ME dinner
  • tired

Ryan got home and he and I began to voice our opinions about the entire smoothie request. We were both mad, tired and short on grace with each other.

It wasn’t just about the smoothie.

We proceeded to argue and pout. When I get this frazzled and exhausted, it doesn’t take much for me to cry. And boy was I was crying. Suddenly every grievance I had with all of life came spewing out.

I told my family to go to the baseball game without me. I put myself in a time out in my bedroom. I even kicked off my sandals in anger and let them fly all over the place hitting the walls and furniture for maximum effect.

These emotional implosions happen only about twice a year for me, but this one was a doozy. Our children are no longer at ages where they are oblivious to occasional arguments. Maybe it’s their ages or maybe it’s that Ryan and I weren’t really making any attempts to hide or keep our voices low. The kids knew we were at odds and I know it made them especially uncomfortable to witness my display of tears, flailing and dramatic demonstration of my fury.

Ryan took the kids on to Thomas’s baseball game (without a smoothie)  and I continued to stew in my own pity for another half hour or so. Ryan and I continued to text message back and forth. We both apologized and hit our “reset” button. I finally dried up my eyes and joined my family at the baseball game.

On the way home from the ball fields, Thomas and Ryan rode together and Kate and Mae rode with me. I apologized to them as well. I reminded them that just as they sometimes argue and fight as sisters, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other or will no longer remain sisters. I just means they had a disagreement. We talked about forgiveness and grace. I told my girls that I wasn’t trying to make excuses but that Mama had a busy week full of outside demands. I explained that when I get overwhelmed and tired sometimes my patience is low and I cry.

Mae (age 9) said, “Oh, just like a little baby. When you get tired you get fussy!”

Yep. Out of the mouths of babes.

She hit the nail on the head. I absolutely get fussy.

<adjectivefussier, fussiest.>
1. excessively busy with trifles; anxious or particular about petty details.
2. hard to satisfy or please:
I allowed too many obligations and commitments these past several days to not only distract me from my family, but also I allowed my own tiredness to become an excuse to be a jerk. Since the middle of last week, I have had some time to reflect upon (and confess) my failures. While all good things, I said “yes” to too many people, opportunities and responsibilities. My take away is that I need to be more prayerful about my commitments. I need to take measures to cultivate an attitude of kindness and patience with the four people who live in my house. I need to practice more resting and less performance.

As these intense May-days swirl around us, I pray that you too, would find peace and joy. As school years, sports and church activities have their spring culminations, I pray that you, too, would be able to trade your fussiness for calm. I pray that this perfect storm of activities would feel less tumultuous and more tranquil.


“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’  And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?’ {Matthew 8:23-27}

Last week, I needed to wave the white flag of surrender and cry, “Save me Lord!” Instead I did what I always do and continued to rely on my own strength and resources and like always, it was not enough. I want to continue leaning on God to calm my stormy seas. When I invite Him into my days and my busyness He helps me to keep life (and my emotions) in proper perspective.

4 thoughts on “fussy mommy

  1. Karen Ward says:

    “We proceeded to argue and pout. When I get this frazzled and exhausted, it doesn’t take much for me to cry. And boy was I was crying. Suddenly every grievance I had with all of life came spewing out.

    I told my family to go to the baseball game without me. I put myself in a time out in my bedroom. I even kicked off my sandals in anger and let them fly all over the place hitting the walls and furniture for maximum effect.”

    I copied and pasted this quote because STOP. THIS. IS. ME. I laughed so hard at this – not AT you but totally WITH you because I have done this many times over the course of 22 years of marriage. Like you, it’s only be once or twice a year but when it happens it is, in the immortal words of Julia Roberts, BIG…HUGE.

    Here’s my take on it – I think everyone, husbands included, feels this way at some time or another. You had your moment and you both apologized for it. Life moves on. I’m also certain that it won’t scar the kids to see mommy and/or daddy lose it every once in awhile because hello, NO ONE IS PERFECT. You and Ryan modeled the thing they all needed to see the most – grace and forgiveness.

    Love you!


  2. lmarieherrin says:

    Thank you for demonstrating authenticity. I well relate to your “moment” and to those hectic months of May. Children are much more forgiving of us than we are ourselves. Thank you again for sharing a terrific “how to” when we, as parents, occasionally fail.


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