I have had an amazing year. One for the record books. We moved into our new studio, got the logo copyrighted, finally got adequate insurance, Amy and I tackled workflow/packaging/marketing, we added Kacy to the team and we were so excited to catch up with old clients and were equally excited to meet new ones. Some of the things weren’t super excitng (insurance! ugh!) but others were (Kacy! Studio!). It was a busy summer full of travel sessions (SO exciting) that led into a crazy fall. It was one of the busiest falls I’ve had, Chris started coaching at a different school which added a whole new element to our schedule and the kids were on 4 soccer teams (we have 3 kids), one Daisy troop and they all sing in the church choir. It was busy. But I managed. And did it with a smile because ultimately I feel really and truly blessed.

Until Monday.

I made it through crazy October and hectic November when suddenly December 9th came and I hit some kind of invisible wall that is big and wide and really hard. I ran smack dab into it around 7am.

I was short with the kids getting them out the door. I screwed up a few orders which means spending money to replace them. I stayed in jammies all day, finally showered after lunch and put new jammies right back on. I decided I had to get out of my funk for the kids once they got home from school so I made a good snack for them but literally the second everyone came in the door I was irritated. There were snow puddles and salt trails and shoes/coats/backpacks left everywhere. I was frustrated by everything anyone did and let them know it. I managed to pull myself semi-together to greet two clients at my house but fell apart again quickly. We ordered pizza because I was trying to work through the chaos and didn’t want to stop to cook. When Chris left for soccer it got way worse. Parker needed help on her homework and I literally yelled, “YOU LEARNED SHAPES WHEN YOU WERE THREE HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT A RECTANGLE IS????” in her face and made her cry. Bailey was upset by some drama at school and I was a horrible listener. I tried to redeem myself by reading from our Bible to keep up with our Advent calendar (we’re reading one story a day leading up to the birth of Jesus) but reading the Bible, even a Children’s Bible, with a mean spirit and hard heart is pretty much worthless if you ask me. I got them all in bed and locked myself at my desk until 12:30am when I finally crawled into bed.

At 1am I was laying there crying. Every mean thing I had said or done to my kids that day was running through my head like a really bad after school special. I prayed that God would erase the day from their memories. I prayed that my heart would soften and thanked Him for giving me another day to start again. Then I went upstairs and climbed into bed with each of my kids. I hugged them and kissed them, apologized and asked for forgiveness. I cried. And prayed.

My job as their mom is really pretty easy. We have generally good kids. They do what they’re asked, they don’t argue with us or each other much, they do their homework, they clean their rooms and they love God. I am not saying we aren’t without issues or problems but overall they’re pretty darn easy. And they certainly don’t deserve the mom I was to them on Monday. At all. No kid does. Anyone that knows me would have been shocked to hear how mean I was to them. It was bad you guys.

I try really hard to hold it all together. To do our finances, run a business, be a full-time mom and generally run our household. Monday I totally and completely failed at everything.

But, a mere two days later, it has taught me so much.

With Christmas just two weeks away, the last crunch of busy season upon me with clients who want to get their orders in time for Christmas, school parties to help plan, gifts to wrap, gifts to MAKE, gifts to still buy, social events to schedule, bills to pay, cards to address, decorations to get up, etc. it’s no wonder I lost it. I woke up yesterday feeling so much calmer and realized that I have to give myself grace. To own the fact that I can’t do it all and that no one expects me to. The kids and I read the story of the tower of Babel tonight and I realized that I was trying to build my own tower to get to heaven and had stopped relying on Christ. My focus has been so worldly lately that no wonder my attitude shifted too.

I have so many sneak peeks to get up on this blog and well, my to do list is staggering, but I bet yours is too. The reason I decided to not post a sneak peek tonight and to instead just write this is because I feel like so many of us need to be reminded to give ourselves grace. To give ourselves a break. To stop stressing and just buy a gift card every once in a while. To stop looking at Pinterest. To stop comparing our crazy lives to the perfect ones (seemingly) we see on blogs we love. To admit we need help, or just a nap, and slow down. To let our kids wear dirty jeans to school if we didn’t get the laundry done. To tell them there was a snow storm last night at the North Pole and that’s why the elf didn’t move. Ugh. We need to give ourselves a break! Because ultimately, our kids would much prefer a calm and happy Mommy over a perfectly wrapped gift. They’d rather have us at their school parties excited to be there with them than resentful about how long the perfect craft took us to put together. They’d rather have US than any of the other crap we fill our to do lists with.

I am officially taking OFF work from December 21-January 6th to be with my family. I need it. They need it. We are doing acts of kindness, hanging out with friends and family, going caroling, baking cookies and then ending the year with the Allen family on a Disney cruise gifted to us from C’s Grandpa. Those two weeks are going to be full of so much goodness I just can’t wait! If you see me before then and notice the bags under my eyes, the lack of make-up or the clothes that look slept in just know I’m working hard to get to the good. And knowing how busy the next week will be I am also working hard to give myself grace. Forgiving myself and just loving on my kids as much as possible. I haven’t closed Fresh Art like this ever before,I don’t think, but it’s time. Climbing down off my own Tower of Babel will be helped by some slower time to refocus my energy and attention.

I pray that you guys all get a good long break this Christmas too!