Sometimes I have to make a really hard judgement call. Today I had to decide, “Are they safe to be in the car together?” I also had to ask, “Will they stop screaming and acting out during the service?” The unfortunate answer to both of these questions was, “no.” I had to make the judgement call not to go to church.
I really love church. I love the calm, quiet prayer. I love being reminded that I am not alone on this journey. I love the fact that for 45 minutes, someone else takes my kids to Sunday school and I have a small break. I love the fact that someone else takes those 45 minutes to try and teach my children about love, kindness, and something bigger than themselves.
Today, I was devastated to lose this. Our kids’ trauma was running at full speed today. They screamed, smacked each other, kicked things, said the most hurtful things you can imagine, and spoke to my husband in a way that was beyond disrespectful. They were way to dis-regulated to attempt a public outing. The whole thing would have overwhelmed them and made their behaviors worse. Today their trauma was winning this battle. I know that we are fighting a war against trauma, but every lost battle just feels like such a loss. I know this. I know my kids. But I also know myself, and I know that I really needed my church today.
I also have a friend visiting from the other side of the country. I want my friend. I want the carefree outings we used to take. I want the late night talks and margaritas and chocolate lava cake from restaurants. I want to watch and critique a movie with my friend and have zero meltdowns occurring in the same room. Of course, when my kids are having a hard day, none of this is possible. And having a friend over whom I’d like to pay attention to? That causes my kids to have a hard day.
Sometimes being a Trauma Mama means making sacrifices. Sometimes it means giving up on the things I want in order to meet the needs of my children. Sometimes? It makes me mad and resentful. I have given up so much of myself to be their mom. It’s worth it a hundred times over but on days like it kills me. Today I feel resentful and angry. Today I feel tired beyond belief. Today I wonder how we have ever managed to make it this far.
I stayed at home with the children today. they cleaned some areas in the house where their things were. I listened to Chopin at full blast on my iPod while my daughter screamed for an hour that she “hated this family,” and wished she were with her “other family, even when they did drugs!” I sipped chamomile tea and considered spiking it with something stronger. Nah. I lit lavender scented candles instead. I practiced regulating my breathing while my daughter tore apart the office and then put it all back together again. I took a bubble bath.
My mother stopped by after church and talked to the kids about following rules during Papa’s birthday tomorrow. It helped, but the day was just plain hard. I’m pretty sure the only thing I achieved on this day was surviving. Tomorrow is another day. And through it all? I’m still here. This mom isn’t going anywhere. We all have our bad days but I am still here.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.