I ugly cried in the shower today. Not a few tears or tears streaming down my cheeks. Ugly, sobbing, couldn’t catch my breath crying. The kind of crying you do when you simply can’t think of anything else to do. When things seem so far out of your control, you feel like your only recourse is to cry. I’m a fairly emotional person and find I need to ugly cry every few months or so. The ugly cry comes when I’ve been doing my best to keep it all together, stressed beyond words with multiple things expected of me. The ugly cry makes my eyes and my head hurt, and while I feel so much better afterwards, today I thought to myself while I know women just need to cry sometimes (I totally get that), why does it take getting to this point for it to happen?
Sometimes the Ugly Cry has good reason. The last time it happened was when we lost our Baby Girl. We found out her heart was no longer beating on a Monday evening. To be honest, I had little emotion. I had had this weird gut feeling for the last few days that something was wrong, but was trying to write it off as being paranoid from previous miscarriages. All I could think of was what was next. Tell family and friends. Check. Call the doctor Tuesday morning. Check. Ultrasound and doctor appointment. Check. Discuss options and schedule surgery. Check. It wasn’t until Tuesday evening when I was in the shower (that’s where I prefer to do my ugly crying), that I completely lost it. This was a justified Ugly Cry. Heartbreak deserves ugly crying.
But what about other times? How do I let myself get to this point? Since losing Clara, I’ve been making it a point to spend my time on things that matter to me, not others. I make time to do the things that bring joy to my soul. I literally schedule time to bake, go to the gym and make sure my kids are getting plenty of mommy-time. But this last week? I’ve felt pressure from all directions that took some of that time away from me. The stress of finances while we wait to see if workforce insurance is going to cover my husband’s back injury has me moving savings around to cover his six days of missed work and overtime. The stress of needing to make my work quotas to ensure I get my monthly bonus. This last weekend, I had a lot of places I was supposed to be, but I also had cranky kids, have been battling an ongoing stress headache (remember I said this last week has been tough) and it was Father’s Day weekend. I finally realized I had to choose, and I couldn’t do it all. I prayed for grace for the things I decided to opt out of. My hubby lovingly let me go the gym after a busy morning of serving my amazing customers on Saturday, knowing that working out is a huge stress reliever for me. Sunday, we spent some amazing family time together and did yard work but still didn’t get it all done.
This morning, as I looked at my to do list, realizing how far behind I was, it all culminated into the Ugly Cry. I’ve been working really hard on being ok with it when the vacuuming doesn’t get done the day I planned to do it. I’ve been learning to be ok with it when I don’t check off everything on my to-do list for the day because I chose to go to the zoo with my kids instead. But as I write this and stare at my sink full of dirty dishes (and cupboardless kitchen cabinets because life has kept us from completing the project by the time we wanted to), I can’t help but think of all the women just like me. The women who strive to do it all and chide themselves when they don’t get it all done. The women who work hard to please others and feel guilty when they fail or don’t do what others think they should do. The women who try as they might to keep their stress levels down find themselves ugly crying in the shower because her checkbook makes her nauseous right now and she’s cut everything from her budget that month that she possibly can and she has to pay for her dog to get fixed tomorrow because he’s started marking everything in the house.
To my fellow Ugly-Criers, you are Daughters of the King. You are loved and your value and worth is not derived from how much of your to-do list you get done or how many people you please on this Earth. Take a deep breath, and take a good look at that to-do list. Will the world end if the laundry doesn’t get folded today? Will things fall apart if you take an extra day to get those bathrooms cleaned? Will your Friends disown you if you decide to go MIA from Pinterest night? Don’t ever, for one second, feel guilty about taking the time to do the things that make your soul happy. Don’t ever, for one second, feel bad about choosing family time over other’s expectations of you.
When we found out Wyatt had Sensory Processing Disorder, we had to be stricter in some areas and experiment with different therapies until we found what worked for him. I know we were judged harshly by some for some of those decisions, but my child’s well-being was far more important than what somebody thought of my parenting. My Friends, your well-being is no different. Say “no” to the things you don’t need to do, even if you disappoint others. Heck, say “no” to the things you don’t want to do! When you look back on the years, you will never once regret saying no to something so that you could do something that made your soul sing or your children smile from ear-to-ear. Schedule that time at the gym. Schedule time to read on the deck with a glass of wine. Skip the yard work for a day and go to the zoo. To be clear- I’m not saying abandon all responsibilities. I’m one of those people who get super stressed out by a disorganized home so keeping it orderly is a priority for me. What I am saying is don’t get so focused on the to-do lists and expected activities that you miss out on the things that make you happy. Choose joy, even if it means you take your kid out of one of their five activities so you can enjoy more time as a family. Give yourself grace to to do those things.
And sometimes, you just need to ugly cry. Sometimes, you need to scream and let all those emotions out. Then you get to look at the world through those tears and realize you are right where you’re meant to be. You have so much to be grateful for. You have no need to worry because Jesus holds the world in His hands, and Sisters, He has your back.