Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life isn't always good in the mother hood

So today is a good day to be a mommy and I am thankful that there are no messes to clean up, boo boos to mend, or tantrums to tune out, and as I relish this moment, I am thinking about my dear friend who rarely has days such as this. My “I love being a mommy” days are pretty few and far between and I am so not afraid to admit it. And so I sit here wondering, “Why do we feel like we’re bad mommies when we so much as hint that we are not enjoying every moment?” Let me lay some groundwork. I am not one of those women whose sole purpose in life is to be a mommy. I wish I could say that I want nothing more and nothing less, but I’m no liar. The truth is that I wanted a family and would never in a million years change my life as it is today or regret my decision to have children in any way, but I have other dreams and aspirations waiting on the horizon for me to wave the burp cloth of surrender and pursue them. I simply do not want to be a mom who has no life outside of her children. Yes, my children are a giant part of my life now, but there are other facets to that life as well, other talents, other gifts, and other desires I’d love to explore someday.

They tell you being a mother is hard. They tell you you’ll spend countless nights without a minute of rest. They tell you you’ll be an emotional wreck from time to time. What they don’t tell you is that you’ll likely feel ashamed if you don’t enjoy every minute of it. Maybe I’m the only one, but as much as I love my babies, I think motherhood is a fairly thankless job, at least in the early years. You exist to meet the needs of another human being and get very little in return. You are stretched to your limits, pushed to your breaking point, and then asked to give just a little more. Yes, it’s difficult, but in ways I never imagined. And I guess I’m just tired of feeling “less than” for not being afraid to admit that.

I watched that movie, Marley and Me a few days ago and in one scene, Jennifer Aniston tearfully relates that she has given up every part of herself that made her who she is for the sake of being a mother. I swear I’ve had that conversation verbatim with my husband. So many of the things he fell in love with disappeared when I became a mommy. They should warn men of that; perhaps the divorce rate would be much lower. Hey guys, your wife will change drastically when she has children. She must be all things to all people and that means, many of the things you adore about her will fall to the wayside for a while. But I have to believe they return as our children grow up. I have to hold out hope that I will one day be that carefree, risk-taking, free-spirited, independent woman I once was.

And in the meantime, I think our society needs to be a bit more forgiving of the moms who don’t constantly boast of the rewards of being a mother. Sometimes those rewards don’t surface until much later. I think we need to temper our stories of success and our moments of joy with the moments that we’d care to forget. Chances are, when you are on your 375th cry of, “I swear, you’re going to be the death of me,” there’s a very good chance thousands of other mothers are mumbling the very same thing at that very same moment. What every mommy needs is a little encouragement, a little understanding, and a whole lot of, “Oh yeah, me too” words of comfort. It’s okay to be less than perfect. It’s ok to have 67 frustrating days for every 3 joyful days. It’s ok to wish you could just sleep when you want to sleep, take a sick day every week, and eat a meal while it’s still hot. What we do is no small feat. Let’s face it; sometimes it’s trying, at best.


Hang in there mommies, you’ll survive the early years. Soak up every fleeting moment of contentment, share the little things that make you smile and the huge things that make you wish there was a vineyard in your back yard. And if you intend to give yourself any chance at all, ask God to be your guide, because Lord knows none of us can do it without Him. And when you feel like the worst mommy ever, give yourself the grace He gives you and know that you are not alone. And with that, this morning I sat down to read my Bible for the first time in like, a hundred years and my darling PJ came running out of the room yelling, “Mama, what doing, mama?” He then proceeded to sit beside me, hold my hand, kiss me and say, “I wuv you Mama.” And that ladies, is why we do it.

4 comments:

kellytatman said...

Thanks Julie for the blog. The part of asking for God's grace when you feel like you are a bad mommy really hit home. Thanks for sharing.

Drew and Kim Cox said...

Love it - And as you get back into the work force and start to do those things that make you, well you again - you realize that it's just another direction to be pulled and your boss just becomes one more person that expects the world of you. Then you go home and are tired and want one moment to yourself and you realize that there are two kids and a husband that want and need your attention. That dinner needs to be made, laundry still needs to be done - you look around and realize that the thin layer of dust that you noticed a couple of days is now quite thick and taking on a life of it's own. Then there is the vacuuming and the dishes are creating a lovely little architectural structure that people win awards for. So, you turn to the fridge to get a well needed glass of wine only to realize that you forgot to go grocery shopping. You scrounge up something for dinner, bath the kids and finally rock that last one to sleep and with the last bit of energy you have you ask yourself to pick between cleaning the house or shopping for food to feed your family. With that well needed glass of wine still lingering in your mind, you change into sweats that you swear you can dress up with the right purse and head out to the garage to get in the car to go to the store. You turn the key and are greeted with the little yellow gas light that slaps you upside the head with its little "I told you that you should have stopped on the way home" attitude and you sit in your car for a minute in total silence and think for that one minute that the silence is the best part of your day.
In other words - It never ends for us my friend. Unless you win the lottery big enough to be able to retire your mom too because quite frankly the idea of a nanny raising your kids makes you a little sick to your stomach; then are able to hire someone to clean the house and take care of the laundry and cook for the family (which you would not in the least feel guilty about) Our reality is - this is life and it's what we chose. So, now it's up to us to ask God to help us recognize those fleeting glimmers of hope that we are a vague resemblance of what we once were and are able to have wonderful friendships that build us up and laugh at the memories and cry through the stresses and heartache with us. Then one day when our kids are a little less dependent on us and our husbands have found hobbies we realize that our priorities have completely changed anyway. At that moment we realize that we long for the days of our kids needing us and around and round we go. It's a viscous cycle. BUT we have heaven to look forward to right? :)

Can we write our book already!?!?! :)

Drew and Kim Cox said...

Love it - And as you get back into the work force and start to do those things that make you, well you again - you realize that it's just another direction to be pulled and your boss just becomes one more person that expects the world of you. Then you go home and are tired and want one moment to yourself and you realize that there are two kids and a husband that want and need your attention. That dinner needs to be made, laundry still needs to be done - you look around and realize that the thin layer of dust that you noticed a couple of days is now quite thick and taking on a life of it's own. Then there is the vacuuming and the dishes are creating a lovely little architectural structure that people win awards for. So, you turn to the fridge to get a well needed glass of wine only to realize that you forgot to go grocery shopping. You scrounge up something for dinner, bath the kids and finally rock that last one to sleep and with the last bit of energy you have you ask yourself to pick between cleaning the house or shopping for food to feed your family. With that well needed glass of wine still lingering in your mind, you change into sweats that you swear you can dress up with the right purse and head out to the garage to get in the car to go to the store. You turn the key and are greeted with the little yellow gas light that slaps you upside the head with its little "I told you that you should have stopped on the way home" attitude and you sit in your car for a minute in total silence and think for that one minute that the silence is the best part of your day.
In other words - It never ends for us my friend. Unless you win the lottery big enough to be able to retire your mom too because quite frankly the idea of a nanny raising your kids makes you a little sick to your stomach; then are able to hire someone to clean the house and take care of the laundry and cook for the family (which you would not in the least feel guilty about) Our reality is - this is life and it's what we chose. So, now it's up to us to ask God to help us recognize those fleeting glimmers of hope that we are a vague resemblance of what we once were and are able to have wonderful friendships that build us up and laugh at the memories and cry through the stresses and heartache with us. Then one day when our kids are a little less dependent on us and our husbands have found hobbies we realize that our priorities have completely changed anyway. At that moment we realize that we long for the days of our kids needing us and around and round we go. It's a viscous cycle. BUT we have heaven to look forward to :)

Can we write our book already?!?!?! :)

MadKanga said...

I stumbled across your blog through another blog and found this message, and it was great. I think we all feel that way sometimes...and I ask God if He was joking when he made me a mommy. But, at night, when I tuck them into bed and we say our prayers, I realize this is part of a journey. But, even more important is acknowledging that the journey isn't all fun, all ups, all good times...and that's okay, too. As moms, we need to support each other, and laugh at ourselves more- not sit in judgment. Thank you for your post!