I feel like over many of the 31 years of my life I have built up a protective shell around myself. I am a people pleaser, and I like to try and control the way people perceive me.

Maybe you know this too, but that’s exhausting.

I’m not talking about better than reality Instagram or Facebook posts, although for many people that’s an issue, too. But I’m talking about the daily grind. How we go about our lives. How we talk to those around us, even those closest to us. Our family, friends, co-workers. Even strangers out in public.

Over the years I’ve built up a thick shell around myself. I’d like to think it’s just because I am a tender person and I needed to do this for my own health and safety. But I think that was just an excuse.

Recently my five year old and my almost four year old have been on a destructive rampage. I can’t leave them alone for the time it takes to go to the bathroom without them making a mess in the kitchen or finding something to destroy.

Here’s a list of things they’ve recently done:

  1. Dumped out an entire of black beans all over the kitchen
  2. Sneaked into the kitchen to eat a couple doughnuts.
  3. Got scissors from a drawer and found my lap desk and cut it open to spread the styrofoam all over the house.
  4. Dumped out a bag of pistachios all over my bed.
  5. Opened eight bottles of honey and spread it all over their bedroom and the living room carpet.
  6. Sneaked out into the kitchen in the early morning to take nearly everything out of the cupboards and scattering it all over the kitchen floor. This included two large boxes of biquick, chicken broth, powdered sugar, sugar, all sorts of pasta, etc.

That’s just a sample. And that’s all been within the last two or three weeks.

Each time the kids do something like that, I feel like my shell cracks a bit and I have have a humbling experience. It’s a weird sensation. But after this weekend’s kitchen adventure that took literally hours and hours to clean, it felt in some ways like I had hit emotional rock bottom. I felt broken. I felt helpless.

The 31 year-old shell that had encrusted itself around me had been completely worn away. I was a ball of nerves.

Since then I have made some life changes. One of which is getting up with my kids in the morning and taking some intentional time to write.

And here I am.



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