I am tired of this. But we are making it through. We are in the middle of a crisis. But we are doing our duty for now, and staying home.


There are many of you lovelies out there who are in full-go mode--juggling working from home and online school and diaper changes and food making and cleaning up (OMG...feeding everyone again and again....) and all of the tasks it makes to run a home and a family in a normal day. It is exhausting. Wonderful, when you look upon all of their sweet, sleeping faces before you turn in at night, but still exhausting.


It takes confidence.


It takes a lot of resources.


It takes a lot of time. It takes a ton of energy.


What it takes is endurance.


The kind of endurance that can carry a baby/toddler/clingy 5-year-old (it's been known to happen) around while you do all of the household things and get everyone what they need and where they need to go. The kind of endurance that can carry the weight of responsibility--not just of physical chores. There is a weight to entertaining the whole crew all day. A weight to trying to make someone happy. A weight of family trouble. Boredom. Irritation. Disappointment. Sadness. Anxiety. Not knowing. Fear.


Because especially as moms, we care so much, we bear a bit (or for some with misguided intentions, all) of that for our whole family--probably some for each person individually, and the family group as a whole.


And THAT is when the REAL exhaustion kicks in. Because emotional exhaustion can be worse than the physical kind.


It can be hard to keep it all together. I am saying that from experience, believe me.


I am a really emotional person. I get irritable. I freak out on my kids. I shout at my husband. I slam a door. For my sake, please act shocked. Thank you. I'm not proud about it. And let me remind you that this is a tricky time of year--the weather has been great and my windows have been open....So, I am sure my neighbors are aware of this about me, too.


When you are depleted, you have nothing to give. Your patience and nerves are shot. Nothing left in the tank.


We all know the airline safety speech about putting your own oxygen mask on first, before trying to help someone else. Why? Because we know that if you don't put yours on first, you run out of oxygen and can't actually help anyone else. We know the trope.


What about if you are an athlete about to perform at the Olympics and all you have been eating is Smarties, Fritos and Mt. Dew? Technically, these are foods. But they are not fulfilling and do not have the vitamins and minerals you will need to fuel your body. Your performance will most definitely suffer, and it will be especially difficult to recover your strength and energy after the fact. They might provide energy for a short time, but then you'll crash. Your body needs more than that.


You have heard all of this before. I have too.


So why go into it here?


Well friend, we are in for the long haul of staying home (for at least the rest of this month), social distancing, and online school. And while it can be seriously awesome, it is also exhausting. This is like the Family Time Olympics. You have to take this seriously. :)


You are going to need your strength. I am here to tell you to take your vitamins. I am telling you to put on your oxygen mask every day so you are filled up and ready.


Only watching Netflix and scrolling social media can be like eating a junk food-only diet. It's kind of like breathing in air at a high altitude with no mask on.


Seems like a good idea for a little while, then the bottom drops out. You need more.


I am not saying this kind of junk food isn't fun. We have Netflix. And we use it a lot. I love Doritos, too. I have loved me some Real Housewives...true story. And don't get me started on my love for Diet Coke. As long as it isn't your entire diet, there may still be room for this in your life. I am simply saying that your system needs something with more nutrients to make it through the day.


PRAY

Before anything else, while you are still in bed and before your feet even touch the floor, I suggest spending a moment praying. We know that a posture of gratitude changes us from the inside out. Thank God for what you have been given, and pray for strength for the day, pray for wisdom, pray for yourself. You should totally pray for yourself--if you were ever under the impression that was selfish, you are wrong. It isn't. God wants to fill up your cup so you can pour out during your day (for your people, work, whatever).


Pray for the people in your circle, too. They may not even realize they need the oxygen, so that's like helping them put their masks on. And more oxygen is always better.


READ YOUR BIBLE

Opening your Bible in the morning is a little like starting the day with super green protein smoothie and multi-vitamins. Even if you just a read a verse or two (basically a few sentences) it's like breathing 100% oxygen. It's a chance to fill your soul so you have a full reservoir for the day ahead.


Pray this before you start reading: "God, help me understand what I am reading and help me put it to good use today. Amen." (BTW--Amen just means, So be it and May it be done).

If you don't know where to start, I suggest reading Proverbs, Psalms or John. You can use a devotional to guide your time/reading, too. Even 5 or 10 minutes can make a huge difference in your day.


Don't underestimate the power of this. Not sure you believe me? Try it.


You, my dear reader, cannot pour out of an empty cup. You have tried. I have tried. It ends with tears and wanting to hide to flee from your house without even a toothbrush. I am baring my soul here for you people.... You have to be refilled every day.


Some of these days are looooong, amiright?? Get your oxygen mask on, and take your vitamins in so you have the stamina to make it through. Help others put their masks on, too. We are all going to need it.


Thinking of you all, friends.


(virtual) xo, Ann Marie

OH...MY.... Stay-at-home orders are no joke. This is going to be a long road.


We are at a standstill here, and wherever you are reading this...it is probably the same for you. Making art projects, baking banana bread, making s'mores in the fireplace (with chocolate cookies instead of graham crackers, 'cause we're resourceful like that). Getting bored. Wandering lost around the house. Hiding in the bathroom (anyone?? is this only me???). Picking up toys and clothes and making more food and cleaning the kitchen for the zillionth time today.


All of a sudden, we are not busy. And we don't don't know what to do with it.


A family of 6, usually chasing all over because of sports and teams and activities....but now we are not.


We are staying at home. All together.


I am feeling a lot of not knowing what to do, but not wanting to waste this time that has been thrown into my lap. Now that you are not busy in the same way you were "busy" before, what are you doing with your time?


A lot of people use busyness as a badge of honor, as a measure of their value, importance.


Her: How are you?

Me: Oh, gosh, we have been soooo busy! Blah, blah, blah....


I am guilty of this. It becomes part of my identity. Schedule so full, so many things going on, so many places you have to go, people that need your time/attention....If I am being honest with myself, it makes me feel good to have a lot of things on my plate.


I know. It sounds so LOSER to write that.


But I am not the best at blocking my own schedule and staying super productive during the down time (I used to be really good at this! What happened to me???), so having a busy schedule means using the time that is blocked out for me, between pick-ups and drop-offs, and that helps.


But truthfully, I am not good at the go-go-go type of schedule. I DO it, because my family's scheduled life demands it, but I don't thrive there. It just wears me down. I think I generally need more sleep than most people, but that is for another post.


Stay-at-home orders probably would have sounded really good about 6 weeks ago. My guess is that you were shuttling kids from playdate to practice to practice to appointment to practice to meal to home to event...like an unpaid Uber driver. Because that is what I was doing, too. It is so easy to wrap that up with your identity and get confused on what you DO versus who you ARE.


But now how are you doing without the BUSY?


I try to be a person who knows who I really am. That I can define myself beyond what I do. But different seasons of life rearrange us, and then we have to come back to re-define ourselves.


Now that you have no plans, what are you doing? Better yet, WHO are you?


Maybe you feel a lot of pressure and you feel like this situation is adding so much stress, to your life, to your sanity, to your relationships. And that is surely true.


And thinking too much about this can be scary too, because it reveals US. Just going through the motions of every day, ALL day, ALL together has no doubt been an eye-opening experience.


Maybe you are like me today and you are just feeling irritable, or lonely--other people's behavior or presence notwithstanding. It's gonna happen. We are all going to go through that. And that can be ugly.


But don't get stuck there.


Reach out to tell someone what you need in that moment, whether it is a few minutes alone to collect yourself, or a hug (or a virtual hug!) or an encouraging word. Or a cookie. (Do I have to share that we have been baking? A lot? Yay! But, ugh. Due to coronavirus, summer body 2020 is postponed until 2021. Just FYI.)


This might be a great time for self-discovery.


What is it that you are really missing most during this time?


What are you happy to have shed?


What is this telling you?


Do you need to make some changes to your life for the AFTER-confinement?


This time is a gift to us. It may not feel like that in this moment, but one day we will look back at this period in our lives and remember the hard parts, but also the really awesome parts. The kids will remember being out of school and talking about running out of toilet paper and bare shelves at the stores, and hopefully they will remember extra hugs and bedtime stories and blanket forts and time with parents who used to be SO BUSY.


We are social animals. We have a chance to be a blessing right in our own neighborhood. Remember all of the Think Globally, Act Locally we grew up with? Now is our chance to do this right in our own spheres.


We have an opportunity to be a blessing where we are able. Usually we don't have to look further than out own household. But you should reach out to your circle to see what a friend needs right now. Or an elderly neighbor.


Spend some time thinking during this open space. Because the time WILL pass. And life will return to a regular pace. And then what will be true of us? The choice is ours.


If you are able, use these weeks as bonus time you didn't know you would have.

And let's keep praying for one another because online school officially starts for us on Thursday. Oh dear....send help....


If things are breaking down at your house, you can always do what I am doing and hide in the bathroom with a book. It's been working for me. Just a thought....


What has been working for you? I would love to hear your tips!


xo, Ann Marie

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