Survival Mode

           There is seasonality to so many things. Wardrobe. Sports. Cuisine. It seems that life has a certain ebb and flow to it throughout the year as we find ourselves running the rat race one week and stopping to smell the roses the next. And I don’t know about other moms out there, but I feel like I ride the roller coaster all too much.
            At some points in our life, I have the time to stop for a moment and pause and find stillness. It is during these times that a million thoughts go through my head. They include such things as: Are we eating enough kale? When is the last time I have vacuumed out my return air registers? Are the toenails of my children as short as they should be? We need to drink more water. We need to clean our closets and donate our clothes to a respected charity after I’ve done extensive research and freshly laundered all of them. What color should we paint the kitchen? I should really do more volunteer work.
            Sadly, these times are fleeting. Often I wonder if they are purely a figment of my imagination because they last as long as a breath of air on a windy day. It seems they stick around just enough to sink in and do their damage by making me feel guilty the rest of the time.
            When I’m not in these moments of stillness and deep thought, I find myself in something I call “Survival Mode.”
            These Survival Mode days are the ones of true maternal grit, the ones that separates the weak from the strong, the girls from the women. These are the days you want to slap everyone in the face who says, “I just couldn’t fall asleep last night” because you would have given four toes off your left foot just to lay your head on your pillow.
            Survival Mode is when it takes every last bit of strength to cover the basics of existence. If my family is wearing clean clothes (who cares if they match) and have full bellies (even if it is cereal for dinner), I am winning in Survival Mode. If homework is done and I only forgot one fundraiser deadline, I’m winning in Survival Mode. If I got three kids to three practices on time, even if one had to walk, I’m winning in Survival
Mode. If the kitchen is still in tact and the dog isn’t covered in wild animal guts, I am a champion.
            But really, we’re all winning when it comes to doing the best for what we love. There should be no guilt or shame when it comes to doing whatever it takes if we give it all we’ve got. The worst thing we could ever do is judge each other for a forgotten form or an abundance of kale.

            If you’ve got enough time to stop and think about it, saddle up. Your Survival Mode could be just days away.

Originally written 10.11.15


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