A while back, I said to myself, that I would use this space to be real and honest about our lives, and especially about my aspect of it. I know a lot of you commented, emailed, and talked to me about how much you liked the idea, and how you too wish you either felt comfortable enough or were bold enough to do the same.
Today, is one of those real posts. It will not include any cute pictures, it will not include funny stories, and it will be raw and full of my emotions and thoughts and some of the things I’ve been struggling with.
Yesterday at MOPS our speaker challenged me, and many others, about setting aside our “perfectionism” and pride to ask for help when we need it. Many of the words she spoke, spoke directly to my sprit. However, it was in her closing thoughts that she really cracked right into me. She was pointing out that while she has been blessed with five children, and the many struggles that come with it, her brother and his wife, who’ve been married for 12 years, have been unable to have children. She said that sometimes she would call and talk to him, and vent her frustrations with her kids and he’d simply listen, then tell her to give the kids a squeeze for him. It was a way to reminder her, ever so gently, to be grateful for what she’s been given, even in the bad times. I cried. I struggle with Inara, and I get frustrated, and I get angry, and sometimes even resentful or bitter. I lose sight of the amazing blessing that she is and always has been. I lose sight of what Chris and I have gone through, of the battles we have fought in order to have our beautiful healthy little girl, and to have another on the way as well. I never forget about my babies in Heaven, about the weight of Toby in my arms and the heaviness of my heart knowing he would never leave the hospital with us. I don’t lose sight of the little one we never had the chance to even see before he left us this spring. But sometimes I do neglect those memories and the focus is more on the little girl coloring with sharpie on the walls, pulling the cushions off all the couches, sitting on the cats, and disobeying me at what seems to be every possibility.
I know that I am a more patient and loving mother when I keep the eternal perspective. I see my daughter for the amazing child of God that she is, and the true blessings she brings to our lives. But I lose that in the day to day business, especially when the “burden” of parenting falls almost souly on me as of late with Chris working many many hours to help build this new business with Josh.
I know that I compare myself in unfavorable ways to my friends and their seemingly perfect mothering styles. The ones that seem to find it so easy and natural to spend all day playing with their kids, doing crafts, and developing their imaginations. I was never a good baby sitter, I really hate the feeling of having to entertain children and being completely responsible for how they spend their time and enriching their lives. Baby sitting seems to me what mothering is – only mothering is for 24 hours not 4, and is completely unpaid.
I’ve spent more than one counseling session on that very topic. I know that part of healthy parenting is also encouraging your children to be independent, and allowing them room to grow and develop on their own. However I still feel like a should (one of my biggest issues) be more involved, that I need to continually encourage (hands on and actively) play and provide a structure during the day that is continual and ongoing. Just typing that makes me feel bedraggled. I’m not one that is good with structure and daily schedules, never have been. I also know that I really do function better when I have something in place – even if it’s lose time frames – to guide me.
I feel tired inside and out right now, and it’s not just physical tiredness from growing our next kiddlet. It’s a true exhaustion that I don’t know how to overcome. I’ve asked for help, and even accepted it when it was offered in ways I would never have asked for. Our amazing friends blessed me deeply a few weeks ago by coming to our home and spending all day cleaning. I was both mortified (prideful) to have them here and digging through the disgusting mess I’d allowed our home to become over the previous two moths of constant exhaustion and queasiness and at the same time almost giddy (thankful) to have clean surfaces in my home and sparkling dishes in my cupboard. I’ve talked to Chris about the balance in our home and daily responsibilities, and he has helped more, especially in getting Inara to help clean up – something she seems more ready to do when it’s Daddy giving the instructions than she is when it’s mommy. I still feel overwhelmed and disappointed in myself and lack of ability to maintain our home.
I feel like I need a vacation, away from my family, a weekend away to do girly things, not clean, and eat yummy food. I even talked to Chris about flying my mom down for a spa weekend or something, but I also know that this isn’t feasible, nor would it really address the issue.
I’m just at a loss right now, a loss of how to rekindle my energy, find a desire to be the mom I want to be, and most important to be the person God has both created me to be, and is shaping me to become.
I’m not sure how to end, not sure what to say, other than to say I am trying. It’s a long road, one that I may never walk all of this side of heaven. I know that God is growing me, shaping me, and that’s a hard and painful process. I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, I just wish it got bigger and stayed that way instead of growing and shrinking and growing again and then getting smaller – my hope light is set to strobe and I’m not sure how to make it steady.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.