It’s been the kind of week where the furnace, clothes dryer and SUV all need fixing. It’s also been the kind of week where I’m struggling to see if I am epically failing or barely keeping my head above water in the mama/wife/employee trifecta. Somewhere in between the daily grind, the drive home, the filling of sippy cups, the writing of grocery lists and chipping away at the mountain of laundry, the doubts creep in.

The worries keep me up at night and the guilt is suffocating. I worry I’m not up to snuff as a wife as lately I’m just too tired to make dinner or pack lunches or stay up an extra hour until he comes home. Does he know I am trying my very hardest? Does he internally groan when it is frozen pizza for dinner again and the dishes are still piled in the sink? I worry, “Does my daughter know I love her?” Does she know that leaving her (even in the loving, capable hands that watch her) sometimes feels like a punch to the gut? Does she know that working lets me provide for all the “extras” and the time I spend working makes me a better mom? And then, am I a good employee? Do my coworkers feel like I’m pulling my weight? Do my clients feel I’m effective even though I feel distracted? And don’t get me started on the text from a friend trying to make plans that I should have returned a week ago. I feel like I’m constantly justifying and juggling and struggling. Get up. Get dressed. Get bags packed, load the car and try to look like I have my life together. Swallow the guilt and keep plugging away.

I’m still learning to choose joy in the face of anxieties. My daughter deserves a mother who is full of joy as raising her is my greatest privilege. My husband deserves a wife who enjoys the life that he built with her. My friends deserve my undivided attention (and prompt replies to texts) and my clients deserve the very best services I can provide. These people I love so dearly deserve the very best of me. However, the only one who can give my daughter a cheerful mother and my husband a happy wife is me. Only I can provide that. A concept that overwhelms and humbles me still.

Even though the demands are loud and the days are short, mamas, we must choose joy. We must choose to sing on the morning commute and extend ourselves a little extra grace when we need it. We must choose to make the balancing act joyful. Even when the stress and storm clouds roll in, we need to remain faithful. We must not let the anxieties in life steal our joy. We are dedicated, and courageous and our children need to see us love big, work hard and set an example by following our dreams. We were created for this. And mama, in case you need to hear it, you are doing a dang good job. 

Erin Lawson

Erin lives and loves in Western PA where she is wife to a bearded wood-worker, mama bear to her sweet girl and child welfare social worker. Erin is passionate about families, making meaningful connections and trying to leave the world a little nicer than she found it. She can usually be found with a baby on her hip, coffee in her hand and at least a few half completed Pinterest projects at any given time.