Talk To Me Tomorrow

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tomorrow

Today I didn’t mom so well.

I felt guilty about half a million things left undone and agonized over the things I didn’t do for my kids.

My daughter’s extracurricular activities have ramped up lately. I’ve had to be the pilot getting her to every activity on time, dressed up, and prepped to go somewhere between four different states. But that means my boys have been left with dad and their electronics, which sometimes means long hours of uninterrupted gaming and video watching. Basic guy time, but I feel terrible about the things I haven’t done for them, the conversations I should have had, and the goals I meant to help them tend to, which got put on the back-burner yet again.

I spend my waking hours away from them feeling awful about not being with them and guilting myself about my daughter’s overextended days. Really, I’m not present with any of them to the extent that I should be.

When I finally do get them back together again for the remainder of a Sunday or some such fragment, instead of the picture-perfect weekend dinners spent talking about our respective adventures, I’m yelling at them to clean their rooms and prep for Monday while getting a rather unbalanced dinner on the table, LATE.

This was not the way it was supposed to be, and certainly not the realization of the silent promises I made to myself while away from them to do better once we were all together again.

What happened to the dreams of enthusiastic bonding, the hope of unending laughter, the irreplaceable moments? Where was my GRATITUDE for my precious family, darn it?

The sleep of shame then follows this bizarre ritual, the sense that I wasted the day, and an opportunity to bring my family together through lessons learned and love shared. I call myself a few names and fall into exhausted oblivion, the house a mess and already behind before the start of the next day.

Unfortunately, I have a lot of these moments. It’s a wonder I’m surviving. It’s a wonder that my kids are surviving too, and yet there they are, the resilient little buggers.

Sometimes, the best you can do is what’s been done already: survive the day.

Survive the bosses, survive the children, survive going it alone, survive the bills, the stresses, the mean people, the chaos. It’s not going to look pretty, and the bar might be set pretty low, as in, “let’s just get through the day and not think a whole lot about anything at all.”

Every day is not going to be filled with gratitude and joy. The reality is that tempers are lost, and stress intrudes. Cars break down, projects don’t get done, and people argue. That is real life.

Sometimes, there isn’t a grand lesson. There is just getting through. And tomorrow is a fresh start. There is always that. Just survive the day.

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May Hwa-Jones was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens. She interned at Rolling Stone Magazine and Elle Magazine in college, and was a freelance editorial assistant at Family Life Magazine. With a Bachelor’s Degree from NYU and a Master’s Degree from Stanford University in Literature, May explored editorial life in NYC, but moved towards a teaching career instead, which led to a teaching certification in secondary education and the eventual achievement of a second Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. As a licensed clinical social worker, May has practiced psychotherapy for nearly seventeen years in multiple settings, from substance abuse clinics in hospitals to community mental health centers, finally finding her passion working with families in a school for severely emotionally disabled children in Westchester County. She is married to a self-proclaimed red neck from Colorado and has three children, who are the beloved centers of chaos in her life. Formerly a ballet dancer and musician for over 20 years, she now does Zumba to keep her joints from locking up and is an avid cheer-soccer-tae kwon do-music-art-dance mom. Her husband regularly begs her to stop volunteering to run more activities, but she never listens to red necks.