I am allowed to say my life is hard….and so are you.

Teaching is hard. I know it isn’t the hardest thing that anyone has ever done ever. But it is hard, especially if you are doing it right. There is never enough time, or resources or emotional energy to do this job as well as you thought you were going to do it while you were in college and had all the answers about how you were going to change the world one fifteen year old at a time.

Being a working mom is hard. I am constantly juggling everything and I drop balls sometimes and this society is built in such a way that if you are a working mom you feel like you aren’t doing enough for both your work and your family. It is a lose lose up in here more days than I am willing to count. There are too many things and not enough hours and I am always feeling like I am beholden to someone while I am disappointing someone else. The margin in my life is so small that the Atlanta traffic regularly makes my plans go awry and I don’t how to fix that.

Chasing my dreams is hard. It is hard to have a manuscript completed for two years as you send it out into the abyss of agents who don’t respond because they simply do not have the time. It is hard to be told, this is good, but not for me over and over again. It is hard to feel jealous of people you love, and harder to decide to choose yourself over and over again even when you feel like no one else is (even when that isn’t really true but it feels true.)

These things are just really hard. 

And I am allowed to say that they are hard. I am allowed to feel like they are hard. A post of mine started circulating again. With or without my promotion, this has happened every year. Being a teacher in September is getting harder every year. And every year I get comments about how if I really want to know what is hard I should go do the commenter’s job.

Huh? 

I don’t write about other people’s experiences because I don’t know about them. I am not saying that nursing isn’t hard. It sounds really hard, and I am very concerned that nurses are over worked in this country while they literally save lives one twelve hour shift at a time. I am very grateful for soldiers who protect my freedom and I cannot imagine how hard living away from your home for months at a time, let alone being shot at is. I can’t imagine how hard that is.

I know I don’t even have the hardest teaching job there is. As far as school placement goes, I pretty much won the lottery. The kids more or less do what I ask, the parents are supportive, my principal regularly sends emails out that say Thank you for the work you do. And my job is still hard. It is just really really hard.

I don’t write about being a working mom very often. But I want to write about it at least weekly. I don’t write about being a working mom and my constant need to lean into the grace of enough more often than I need to breathe, because I don’t want to negate the experience of the people I love who are stay-at-home moms. (Even the language is tricky I KNOW y’all wish you simply stayed at home, but I don’t want to say full-time because even when I am at work, I am still a mom, all the time. You see what I am saying?)

But me saying that being a working mom is really stinking hard, in NO way negates the experiences of my stay-at-home people. They are both really hard. 

I know that I could quit chasing my dreams. That while I feel called, I choose this for myself. I choose to show up at this blog. I chose to write a manuscript and I choose to keep trying to get it published. I am choosing this thing. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Even if I am choosing it, rejection sucks and is always hard. Even if I have gotten really lucky, gotten to yesses sometimes and I am grateful. I am.

But I am also allowed to say that 30 rejections in 2 years stings. It is hard to keep trying.

I am allowed to say that teaching is hard, even at a solid school in a solid suburb. Even when I genuinely like my job. It is still hard. And I am allowed to say that being a working mom is hard. Because it is. It is a different kind of hard than being a stay at home mom, but it is still hard. And me saying that my reality is hard, does not take away from anyone else’s. But the only experience I really know about is mine.

And you are allowed to say that your life is hard too. 

I know lots of people who are doing things that are hard every day. If you are doing life right, it isn’t easy. It is just really hard. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. But you know what would make this life infinitely easier? If we stopped competing with one another over things that are not actually competitive (and this from a girl who got her varsity letter in public speaking, I know how to do competition) and started saying, Yeah. Me too. Your thing sounds hard, and my thing is also hard. Let’s take a deep breath. We got this.

Me saying my life is hard in NO WAY means yours isn’t too. There are a million ways to do life authentically, and all of them are a challenge. But not being allowed to admit that this thing we are doing is HARD makes it even less bearable. We can do hard things, but really only together.

In the comments tell me what is hard today, and I will cheer you on!

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16 thoughts on “I am allowed to say my life is hard….and so are you.

  1. YES. I also find that life is hard. I am more than blessed in my life and appreciate that fact every moment of every TIRED TIRED FRENETIC day. Work, kids, husband, dogs, volunteer work, yard work, house work, birthday parties, Homecoming Week, piano, clarinet, homework, sports, cooking, cleaning,… I am so lucky and also barely keep my nose above water. Someone is always disappointed in me for not being enough. Often that person is me.

  2. I love this! I can smile at this now, but when we were newly bereaved, I mentioned that it was hard – grief is hard. Someone was quick to remind me that at least I had a surviving son. Well, yes – and he is the song in our hearts – but grief is still hard. I learned to validate everyone’s experience through the experience of people telling me that it wasn’t really that hard. We need to have the space and freedom to acknowledge that life is hard, and then have a cup a tea surrounded by the mess. I love your insights Abby and I love your holy boldness.

  3. Working with college students is hard. No – amendment. Trying to work with college students when their parents are trying to do it for them (which we can’t do…because privacy laws) is hard.

  4. I don’t comment much on blogs, but THIS is what I was just telling someone. I think if we all just recognized everybody has their “hard” it would be a better place. For example, I feel like doors have been closed left and right over the past few months. Sure, the spot I’m in isn’t bad in comparison, but it’s hard to me.

  5. Adjusting my teaching to fit each of 25 little individuals, coaxing, cajoling, encouraging, cheering on, knowing when to push, when to sweet talk, when it’s time to take a break…is hard and exhausting. Not always successful. Sometimes very wonderful.

  6. Life IS hard. That doesn’t mean it isn’t rewarding. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how wonderful God’s grace is. But it’s still hard. I love that you’re saying it out loud and inviting the rest of us to join in. Right now for me it’s hard living with a spouse in constant, debilitating pain with no answers and no end in sight.

  7. Yes! I’m writing a book about transition, and one of my chapters is called, “Calling It Hard.” We have to give ourselves permission to say it’s hard when it is because it opens us up to letting God meet us in the hard. Thanks for affirming this! 🙂

  8. Sometimes I think it’s hard for Christians to admit that life is hard. We put on that smile every Sunday and appear to have it all together. Would that more of us could let ourselves be as honest as you’ve been. Life is hard because Satan is alive and well and enjoys attacking us at every turn. Having God in our lives doesn’t take away the challenges. But I pray that you will rest in His ability to be your strength as you juggle all those balls. And remember, we’ve all dropped a few of our own.

  9. Pingback: Lorilyn Hurley – welcome, october {the love list}

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