I high-five husband in our driveway and leave the day in the rearview, shouting words I hope my children don’t know yet into the highway wind, racing sunset to swim in the ocean.

It had been A Day and I needed out. You know the ones. Everything extra effort. Lots of sideways spinning. Lost focus, lost wallet, lost patience, gas gauge a reminder both car and driver are running on nothing but fumes and a Hail Mary.

The words vary, but the sentiment is always the same; you chose this life so stop complaining.

Don’t we hear that accusation often? If not from others, from the very harshest critic of all – ourselves.

When mommyhood feels claustrophobic and the shame tape loops repetitive, I have a choice to let it bully me or to face it.

This is the life I wanted, so stop complaining.

Good Wives/Good Moms/Good Christians aren’t ungrateful like this.

When I feel myself going under, I talk back to the negative self-talk. I text my best friend knowing my feelings have a place to land. Then, I seek spaciousness.

Spaciousness offers grounding.

Spaciousness offers air to fill our lungs and beauty to fill our souls.

Spaciousness offers perspective to step out of our spinning and focus on truths.

The waves come and I dive into the calm space beneath the crest instead of letting them break hard across my back. I allow the ministry of salt water and sky to renew my body, mind, and spirit.

Yes, we chose to live on one salary in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.

Yes, we chose to have this many kids; three bios and two adopted.

Yes, we chose many of the aspects that make our life inconvenient and, simply put, more difficult.

But when did the richness of life come from the easy choices?

And when did we eat the lie that calling a bad day a bad day somehow negates our full-hearted gratitude for this life?

There is space for all our feelings to belong. We can be grateful for dreams come true in our family life. We are also allowed to call out what is difficult, what is crashing over us and share that with trusted others. There is a difference between a grumbling mindset and honestly naming the hard parts of our day.

I’m going to keep taking in the good moments and naming the hard ones.

I’m not going to let the shame tapes have the last word.

I’m going to dive head first into the oncoming waves of life and even seek out some real ones if necessary when the day becomes too much.

I hope you will too.

I hope you know you aren’t what the bully-reel of your mind calls you.

I hope you have a best friend you text.

I hope you seek spaciousness, even if it’s just driving with the windows down scream-streaming words behind you.

This is the life you chose. It is not easy, but it is good. 

Jenny Leboffe

Jenny lives in San Diego with her husband and five kids. She writes about everyday family life, foster care, adoption, and the spiritual expansion of motherhood at jennyleboffe.com. Join her story on Facebook or Instagram