Broken Toes, Stress Fractures, and Learning to Make the Most of My Day

The Toe Breaker and Sweet Ransom
The Toe Breaker and Sweet Ransom

Okay, listen to this…

In May I broke my right pinky toe. I was in a big hurry to get some cleaning done before my brand new baby (darling Ransom, born March 4th) needed me again. I strode purposefully through my room, into my closet, and just clipped that toe on the wall on the way in. I heard it break, which, honestly, may have been the worst part.

Broken pinky toes are NO fun. They constantly remind you that you are considerably more delicate than you think. Also, three year olds do not understand, or care, maybe, what “Mommy has a broken toe” means. They think maybe it means step on it to see if Mommy screams. Or poke it 500 times while repeating, “Does this hurt?”

But, it’s not that big of a deal. They don’t require much care and they heal pretty quickly. Before I knew it, a week had gone by and I was feeling pretty normal again. I just took extra care when putting on my shoe, or walking around that darling aforementioned three-year-old (my sweet Eva).

No big deal.

Until I got a stress fracture in the middle of the same foot. How frustrating! Before the broken toe, I was trying to get into shape, and was ever so diligently working out to a Jillian Michaels video. So, as soon as I felt my toe had healed enough, I got right back on that horse. You know, two-and-a-half months after I had my (fifth!) baby. At 35 years old. While still carrying the majority of my baby weight. Right after I had broken a toe. Suddenly this is not sounding like as good an idea as it did after I got on the scale and prompted that frenzy of baby-weight-ditching exercise.

So I took a few more weeks to rest that poor abused foot. It’s okay, I figured, I needed some more time to heal from having that baby anyway.

The week I decided to start working out again, guess what happened. Go on, guess.

I broke my other pinky toe.

The Unfortunate Broken Toe
The Unfortunate Broken Toe

I am not kidding. You cannot (or should not) make this stuff up.

I *may* have been having a temper tantrum. I *may* have been storming out of the room in an attempt to let my kids know that “Mommy has had ENOUGH.” And I slammed that bad boy on the baby’s bouncy seat. We have since dubbed that charming mix of unyielding metal and rubber, “The Toe Breaker”.

Maybe the first time I broke my pinky toe it wasn’t too big a deal. This time was a BIG DEAL. Can you imagine that moment? Fuming with righteous Mommy indignation, carrying that darling baby on my hip (obstructing my view of The Toe Breaker), I stride purposefully out of the room and SLAM my poor little toe right where the metal stand curves in a “v” on the base. Oh. My. GOSH.

I don’t think I said anything too terrible, but I sure wouldn’t swear that in a court of law. And I am SUPER glad that the whole thing isn’t recorded, because it DEFINITELY wasn’t my proudest moment. I did immediately go to my room to nurse my wound (and my baby…because nurslings don’t wait for broken toes).

Blessedly, even severely broken toes go numb pretty quickly. It hurt, I hated it, and I SURELY learned to respect The Toe Breaker. But, after the initial 30 minutes of blinding pain, it really didn’t bother me. I couldn’t put any weight on it (Do you realize how often you use your pinky toes to balance?), couldn’t wear shoes, couldn’t walk fast, and kept it wrapped at all times, (Mainly to protect it from my darling children.) but I was overwhelmingly thankful at how little it hurt.

Wow, I thought, that is a lot of crippling injuries to experience in a short period of time. I’m sure glad that’s over!

Oh man. Wait for it…

A week and a half later, I was feeling pretty good about that toe. I had even stopped wrapping it because it was doing so well. Do I even need to tell you that this was an exceedingly bad idea? Probably not.

It was a perfect storm. That charming three-year-old decided she wanted a tea party RIGHT. NOW. She announced her demand, while pulling the tiny porcelain saucers off of the drain tray, an action which was certain to cause a cascade of dishes to rain down on her head.

My Deceptively Charming and Adorable Eva
My Deceptively Charming and Adorable Eva

At the exact same moment, the baby, happily playing on the floor moments ago, decided that he wanted to eat RIGHT. NOW.

Super Mom that I am, I strode purposefully toward a bedroom to put away the armload of items I had just collected, as I went, I turned to the baby to offer a few comforting words, turned toward Eva with a firm, “No, wait for Mommy,” and turned (too late!) in the direction I was walking. My blond tornado, seven-year-old Abrahm was in my path, and by some horrible quirk of fate, he put his heel right in the path of my abused pinky toe (the one most recently broken), right as I took a step. I both saw and heard that sucker break again. Gag.

I know I said a few ugly things that time. Mostly under my breath. But good grief, can you blame me?

This time, I had to really think about what was happening. I mean someone must be trying to tell me something. Right?

Well. I am happy to report to you guys that it ONLY took four breaks to get my attention. I am almost three weeks out and still break free. So far. I can tell you that I am hyper aware of my feet at this point.

And, I have learned some things. As a homeschooling mom of five, I don’t spend much time sitting, that much is obvious. Oddly enough, I learned I also don’t spend much time really thinking either. Mostly I’m like that poem, If You Give a Mom a Muffin…bouncing around like lunatic, trying to put out all of the “fires” and get as many things done in what I consider too little time.

When I was sitting, waiting for all of those tiny bones to hurry up and HEAL already, I noticed a whole bunch of things. Here they are in no particular order:

  • I really need to pray more often. And read my Bible. And treat my relationship with the Most High as more than an afterthought.
  • I do too much picking up after my children.
  • My children need more chores.
  • The things I do with my time need to matter. They need to be the BEST use of that time.
  • I need to stop wasting time. I spend waaaayyy too much time standing and staring blankly while trying to decide what is the best thing, or doing things that are stupid and clearly unnecessary (Like picking up my three-year-old’s room while she’s awake. Can I get an Amen?).
  • I need to plan and stick to a schedule as much as possible to keep from wasting that time.
  • I need to dial it waaayyy back on the multitasking. Some multitasking as a stay-at-home mom is inevitable. But I don’t need to do it every waking moment.
  • Holding my children and talking is the most important thing I do. (And the happiest.)
  • I need to STOP the negative, self-deprecating thoughts that like to swirl through my head when they think I’m too busy to notice. I am not my weight, or what I’ve had to eat that day, or my mistakes, or the times I have failed. Intentional thinking is SO IMPORTANT. Busyness seems to be the natural enemy of intentional thinking, at least for me.
  • I do not want to miss my children’s childhood by doing the wrong things.
  • I don’t need to have temper tantrums. I can’t seriously expect to teach my children patience and self-control if I’m storming around like a lunatic.
  • I need to just sit sometimes. Just sit and think and pray and meditate. Without needing broken bones to force me to do so.

I’m sure there are more things, and if I think of them I will share them with you guys.

And now, as comic as it sounds, I am super thankful for my broken bones. I am grateful for the “Foot Calamity of 2016”, as it shall be referred to henceforth, because it forced me to slow down. It forced me to get it together and stop living my life as if I could create more time just by being busy. I can’t! I’ve got the time I’ve got and God’s not going to give me more just because I ran around wasting what He gave me!

Ephesians 5:15-16 makes this perfectly clear: “Therefore be careful how you walk, *(protecting your toes at all times), not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days (and bouncy seats) are evil.”

So, friend, tell me, how will you make the most of your time today?


*Parenthetical statements not entirely Biblical.


5 thoughts on “Broken Toes, Stress Fractures, and Learning to Make the Most of My Day”

  1. Just struck me that we met when I was just a little older than you are now, I think. 🙂. Was Beth born yet? If so, I had just had my sixth. Aren’t you glad we met after I had been driven to my knees about a thousand times by children and husband! I loved reading this — fun and wisdom are a winsome pair. Good stuff. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. How will I make the most of my time today? I have no idea. I feel like a slug trying to clean up after itself. Loop after loop leaving a slug trail behind me that I keep chasing after. It’s easy to loose sight of what is truly important and we miss out for it. We end up trapped in a circle of salt trying to break free but no matter how hard we try to push through, it starts to hurt and dissolves a little part of us each time. Sometimes it’s best to just sit and wait for the rain to come. We need time to sit, reflect on our days, pray, focus, enjoy the silence even. I need time to clear my thoughts or I become batty. Sometimes we just need to push through the salt though and know that part of us is going to dissolve….but that’s not always a bad thing and we will be freer ( is that a word? I can make up words too)for doing so. We should always make the time to sit, pray, think, and listen. So today….that’s what I will be doing.

    1. I love that word picture and I so identify with it! I tend to chase my tail doing things that don’t matter more often than not. This has definitely been my year of figuring out what I really should be doing. And you are correct, it both hurts and is healthy! Love you friend!

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