I love my life.

My husband and children are the most important people in the world to me.

But this week I’ve turned into a grump. A yelling, somewhat irrational, exhausted for no apparent reason, self-centered, impatient person…at home, with the people who matter most.

It’s vacation week. And it started off as a really great time. Walks outside, later bedtime, breakfast for dinner, no morning schedule, staying in pajamas for hours, and a lot of good, clean fun. Enjoying each other. Daniel and I were grooving, too, getting in some couple time and yin/yang parenting. All was well.

But my bubble burst. Big time. At nearly a week into school vacation, I’m seriously looking forward to Monday. Individually, the kids are wonderful. Funny, helpful (most of the time), kind. But the incessant sibling rivalry, the arguments, the I-didn’t-make-that-mess, she/he-did-it, and “But, whys?” made me want to move into my car today. Just for a little while.

I get this look a lot.
(Source: xfinity.comcast.com)

Some days, I’m just not good at mothering. Or wife-ing. Or anything. And I feel like I’m letting everyone down, failing. Daniel tells me that he’s reminded of me when we watch Modern Familyβ€”Julia Bowen’s character. And he’s not talking about her looks.

But a voice inside says: Buck up, little camper. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. Time to go to the mat, figuratively. Enough with the pithy sayings.

I recall the reading on breathing I shared during one of my yoga classes, from Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn:

To use your breathing to nurture mindfulness, just tune in to the feeling of it…the feeling of the breath coming into your body and the feeling of the breath leaving your body. That’s all. Just feeling the breath. Breathing and knowing that you’re breathing. This doesn’t mean deep breathing or forcing your breathing, or trying to feel something special, or wondering whether you’re doing it right. It doesn’t mean thinking about your breathing, either. It’s just a bare bones awareness of the breath moving in and the breath moving out.

TRY: Staying with one full in breath as it comes in, one full out breath as it goes out, keeping your mind open and free for just this moment, just this breath. Abandon all ideas of getting somewhere or having anything happen. Just keep returning to the breath when the mind wanders, stringing moments of mindfulness together, breath by breath.

I already feel better. Things aren’t perfect. But I’m alive and healthy and married to the only person for me: my dear, crazy smart, hilarious, sweet, strong, and marvelous Daniel. Together we are raising six uniquely wonderful children who make us so proud, not so much because of their high marks in school, athleticism, or musical talents, but because they are kind, hard-working, and have really good hearts.

Gratitude. Breathing. So simple, but somehow elusive.

Now, I relax the shoulders that crept up all day. Soften the brow, the muscles around my eyes, jaw, neck, and shoulders.


Ready to give all my little friends and my main squeeze a big hug. And breathe again.

Breathe Again by Sara Bareilles

Breathe Me by Sia