Surely the stars are sketching a plan

I caught myself in a moment last night.

I failed.

I failed today, and I failed yesterday, and I will undoubtedly fail tomorrow.

I could write a list of all the ways in which I failed myself and those who depend on me to make this phone call…pay this bill…Watch me, Mommy! Are you watching?…this cheese, not that cheese…one likes oranges, the other strawberries, or is it blueberries?…One more book?…meet this real deadline and this arbitrary deadline…spend time with meplay with mewatch a movie with mehold melay with merub my backfollow me around so I know where you are in case I need you.

I fail on a regular basis, and on a regular basis I focus on all the ways in which I failed instead of celebrating little successes.

Last week was a week full of failures, full of power struggles and battles of wills and mighty tantrums of three year olds, and kids who push boundaries, which is what they’re SUPPOSED to do….And I was going to segue here into some of those beautiful moments of motherhood and womanhood and life splintered among the gritty/mundane/tireless everyday, but the truth is I’m struggling to see those moments lately. No, that isn’t right. I’m struggling to feel them.

Here’s the truth. “Because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth.” And at Christmas this truth is more garish and gloating, it seems, than at any other time of year.

I’m stuck. We’re stuck. We’re failing, and our failing is breaking me. Because as much as we work it’s still not enough. And it sucks. Wholly, firmly, unbelievably sucks. I try to tell myself that it’s only money and it’s only a phase and surely the stars are sketching a plan, but we’re expending all our energy, all our everything just to stay afloat, and it’s all stifling and suffocating and sometimes I snap because they’re fighting and I just need them to stop. Just stop. Stohhhhhp!

Today I am tapped out. I surrender. But I can’t surrender because I have three little people who need me and even with their whining and asking and pulling and crying and taking and arguing, they’re my world. They’re the shoreline to which I’m tethered, the driftwood that keeps me above surface. And today I need to work because I have a deadline to meet. I have to meet the deadline because we need the money. The money is already gone. Why do I not see this on blogs? On Instagram? On Facebook? Why is this subject so fucking taboo? Is anyone else drowning out there? Hello?

Yesterday I wrapped presents that I bought for a family who has less than we do. I gave up my time–the only time I had to work–to do this because I’m realigning my perspective to one of giving in the midst of needing. Because I have this theory that by giving of ourselves we can find peace amongst worry. Because when we give, we open ourselves up, and when we open ourselves up we can sit more peacefully among the questions and the vast grey space.

So I failed, and I will fail again. I’m failing as I type this. Always failing. But here’s my little success: I’m here. And I’m working my ass off and I’m opening myself up and I’m not going anywhere.

Today I will shove my worn-thin heart back into the drawer and I will rally because there are these three people who know nothing of worry and mess and mending pieces and carrying on, not now anyway. Someday, yes, but not today. Today the world is magic — tinsel strung on trees and paint splattered across paper and marshmallows in hot chocolate kind of magic. And so it will be for me if I will it so.

Here’s another little success: I won’t delete this post. I know I will want to, but I won’t because maybe someone needs to read it as much as I needed to write it.

So at the risk of feeling exposed and deleting this entire blog and disappearing from the WWW forever and ever, I’m hitting publish. The only thing I ask is that if it helped you in any way, whether minute or grand, please let me know. Please let me hear you.


29 thoughts on “Surely the stars are sketching a plan

  1. lemead says:

    your honesty is powerful, Lara. The truth is I feel that lots of peopleDON’T tell the truth at Christmas and your willingness to do so is refreshing and comforting. It hasn’t been an easy few months over here either and I am grateful to know people like you whose words are not only beautiful but also make me feel less alone. I hope that things ease for your family soon.

    • Lara says:

      Lindsey, your comment came through minutes after I published this yesterday, as I was standing in my kitchen cringing and shaky and second guessing myself. It doesn’t feel like enough, but THANK YOU. Here’s to hoping that 2015 will be softer on us both. xoxo

  2. Amanda Magee (@AmandaMagee) says:

    Oh, money. Money and time, there is never enough of or we have to use one or the other for something that we feel deep resentment for—or at least that is true for me.

    Don’t feel exposed, feel powerful. I think giving voice to these sorts of emotions sets your free of them. I hope the day reveals itself with you feeling less encumbered. Sending tender thoughts your way.

    Not failing, trying. xo

    • Lara says:

      You know something? You were so right. I felt foolish and mightily exposed at first, but as the day went on I began to feel lighter and breathe deeper. “…we have to use one or the other for something that we feel deep resentment for…” Yes, exactly. You get it, but then again of course you do. 🙂

  3. Dina L. Relles says:

    “They’re the shoreline to which I’m tethered, the driftwood that keeps me above surface.” “Because when we give, we open ourselves up, and when we open ourselves up we can sit more peacefully among the questions and the vast grey space.” Oh Lara, this morning, your words moved me even more than they usually do, which is to say I’ve traveled clear across the universe by now. We are all failing in some painful, shameful way, and your beautiful vulnerability here gives me a soft strength to carry on. It reminds me of what I so firmly believe to be true–that by being open and giving of ourselves, we get each other through this life. Your being here? It is enough, it has to be. It is everything. Sending you love, light, and deepest thanks for letting us in.

    • Lara says:

      Dina, I’m so sorry that it’s taken me so long to respond, but you must know how much your words mean to me. I’m still feeling exposed but to know that I’m walking “beside” you on this journey of writing while mothering, of seeking commonality and voices that echo our own, makes even the darkest days a little brighter.

  4. Kristen says:

    Good. I’m glad you didn’t delete it. I think about this a lot–why so many of us (and really, it is ALL of us) do not air our “failings”, whether it be financial troubles, marriage problems, really bitter or broken relationships with people who share our DNA, feelings of loneliness, or ourselves acting in ways that we’d never let others see. I think it’s a complex answer with many moving parts. Protecting the privacy of our families, using social media as an escape to paint a rosier picture than what might be, denial that any of it is even happening…fear of not knowing how or whether it can ever be fixed. I’m not sure how to change that without first having a societal shift of re-prioritizing what’s important in life and a larger dose of empathy all around, but I can tell you this: when people like you (and the others who will read or comment on your words) keep holding up the white flag long enough so that we can have honest discussions and support each other, it will become less taboo. That’s my hope at least. Thank you for this post. It will stay with me for a while.

    • Lara says:

      Yours was one of the first voices to come through on social media after I hit publish, and my thoughts went from “What did I just do?” to “Maybe it will be okay”, so thank you, thank you. You are right that it’s a complex answer with many different and fragmented pieces to the puzzle. My whole thought was that I can’t be the only one. If there’s even one person out there who needs to read these words then my post won’t be in vain. Hopefully it’s one little “take that” to the idea that we should at least appear to have it all under control. Because sometimes we just don’t.

  5. crnnoel says:

    You are not alone…. We are right there with you. I think there’s so much shame surrounding money, our very worth gets wrongly tied into the subject. We’re struggling too, going to go into crunch mode as we have a move on the horizon that I’m trying not to panic over…… I’m here any time you want to talk, Lara! I’ll email you my # in a bit. xoxo

  6. rudrip says:


    Why are we reluctant to say what is true? Today I am grateful that you possessed the courage to confess your vulnerabilities. The world certainly could use more of that. Your words reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Leonard Cohen: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Wishing you light and love. xoxo

    • Lara says:

      That’s one of my favorite quotes too. If my words have provided even a glimmer of light for someone then I’m happy I’ve let my vulnerability show. Light and love you too.

  7. Carli McKinney says:

    Kids are relentless. But so is life. I too know that feeling of failing. Of not getting the laundry done, of not paying those bills or of never spending enough time with or attention to my children. The pace never slows down either. I recently thought about having to go back to work (in any capacity) and it scared the crap out of me because I’m already running from one thing to the next, to the next, to the next and my kids still only get glimpses of me. But I’m almost always here. I’m almost always with them. I agree — it’s so hard to be present these days. Even when we are spending that dedicated time with our kids, our spouse, or fur babies, our loved ones, giving them the patience and attention they need, we are always almost somewhere else. Thinking about the next chore, the next deadline or tomorrow. Thank you for your honesty, Lara. You are not alone.

    • Lara says:

      “My kids only get glimpses of me…But I’m almost always here. I’m almost always with them.” Yes. Exactly. Pulled a thousand ways, always somewhere else. Depending on what happens in the next couple of months, I might be staring down the “back to work” barrel myself, and it scares me. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    i sat down to write something oh so similar last night, but I was not brave with my words as you were here. Thank you for pushing this truth out into the world for all of us struggling to say it.

    • Lara says:

      Sarah, I don’t know if I was brave or just ranting, but I’m glad my words reached you when you needed to hear them. If you ever do post something similar, I’ll be here to listen and I’m sure I’ll be nodding my head along to the words.

  9. Sarah Brentyn says:

    We all fail, every day. Sometimes it’s the little things and other times it’s the big ones. We want to give up and yet, as you said, we can’t. Because we have people who depend on us. I’m so glad you didn’t delete this post and that you shared it. As you can see, you are not alone. I wonder sometimes if I ever learned to swim with how often I feel like I’m drowning. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Lara says:

      “I wonder sometimes if I ever learned to swim with how often I feel like I’m drowning.” Oh, yes. You get it. I wish you didn’t have to get it but you do and for that I am grateful. So happy that our paths have recently crossed. xo

  10. Maurice A. Barry says:

    Hey there, from Canada. Yup–your posts are enjoyed–by me–from my little corner of the world.
    And on a more serious note I found that life was a lot more enjoyable once I became comfortable with my own failures, weaknesses and transgressions. Step 1 is to admit we’re not perfect and it sort of starts to align from there.
    Best wishes.

  11. Michelle says:

    I was just telling myself this morning how much I suck. So many chores not done on the “To Do” list. Fun ideas I had about doing things with the kids that were never followed through on. Failing. Then I read this and I immediately want to tell you, “No! No, you’re not failing at all! Look at you trying, and doing wonderful things.” And I see I need to say the same thing to myself. We all do.

    Thank you for that.

    • Lara says:

      So great to see you (hear you? read you?) on here. Thanks so much for your kind words. No, you are not failing. Nor am I. We must stop tricking ourselves into believing otherwise.

  12. scribblesinpeacock says:

    In the midst of it all, THIS is proof from the stars, and TOO from the Heavens, that your journey SHALL be woven of words among the wise and the wondrous, through the dark and the dreary, as you PASS magically right out of each storm and into the light. You; writer, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, will find your way because you are looking for it, and that is all we can do. More proof you are deep, deep, chill to the bone deep a writer — of the most amazing kind. What you have in life is worth more than pirate loot and fist of coin. But you know that. And still, it doesn’t make it easy. Nothing ever is. My beautiful girl.

  13. Nina Badzin says:

    I think it does help all of us to know we are not alone. I have so many days like that. I hear myself say aloud, too often, “I’ve had it.” And I get angrier than I should over little things, etc. You are NOT alone. And you are probably doing so much better than you think. We are all too hard on ourselves and the expectations are too high.

  14. jsolot says:

    I constantly feel as if I am “failing” too. Like you, I use the word “FAIL”. As I read this, it seems funny that we all see ourselves in such extremes, we are either failing or winning. Isn’t it okay to be passing, a C+ or B grade, just getting by, some days above average and some days below average? I need to work on seeing the middle ground. 🙂

    I’m happy to find your blog via the writing questions.

  15. kayfroebel says:

    I would have been very sad if this blog had been deleted. I often find your sentiments to mirror my own in so many ways. I know this post was done in the past, and it is likely that you have since picked yourself up and overcome whatever hurdles brought you down, but I still wish for you to know that should you give up, you would be missed dearly. Know that your words hold weight to many who follow your blog, and will continue to touch people as more and more come here.

    Best regards,

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