I am going to apologize ahead of time for the downtrodden and longish nature of this post. If you are looking for a spiritual pick me up or a really good laugh, maybe stop reading....like now. I do not have this for you. But on the off chance that somebody reading this might enjoy a little commiseration or someone else to say, "yeah I'm not ok today....but I think it's ok," I'm gonna go ahead and post my bad attitude all over the interwebs. Totally for your benefit. God help us, and you're welcome. :)
I realized today, again, that I have no idea what I'm doing. Or how to do it. I have these three amazingly crazy little people running around my house, almost literally non-stop, and more often than not all I can think about is how I should be doing this differently. Like, I should be doing more of this. Or at least less of that. I'm so scared that 20 years from now I'm going to wake up with all of these thoughts and ideas about how I could have been such a better mom. But then it will be too late.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think we're doing any kind of irreparable damage to the tiny ones in our hands (please God don't let me be doing any irreparable damage to the tiny ones in my hands). But are we being the best parents we can be? Am I being the best mom I can be?
What's scary is I think I am.....and in no way, shape, or form does it feel like enough.
I should spend more time with Jesus. My house should be cleaner. Our kids should watch less tv. I should yell less. We should discipline more effectively. Maybe we're spanking too much.....or not enough. I should be more hands on. I should let them learn how to entertain themselves more. I should be more diligent and structured and intentional about my time with them. I should let them have more free time and self-guided play.
This feels like a life full of paradoxes. How do all of these things happen at once? How do we know what's worthwhile and what's not? We've never done this before. And those who have done it before will swear by 500 different "right" ways to do it. Blah, it makes my head hurt.
Shameful confession: Thinking about all of this makes me want to curl up into a ball under the covers and sleep until winter is over. Or at least until someone can give me all the answers. Also, this might be because I just want to sleep, in general. I think I have about two years to catch up on. But that is neither here nor there.
The point is, it's getting hard.
I didn't always feel like this, you know. We've had our ups and downs figuring out how to be parents, but overall I'd say we've had a pretty optimistic approach to the whole thing. I've been nervous about the unknown here and there, but we've always figured it out and moved on to the next thing.
Like when Rowan came home from the hospital wanting to nurse for an hour and a half about every 20 minutes. Did we know that was strange? No, he was the first baby and what the heck did I know about nursing? But a week later it was under control. We discovered that pacifiers are a gift from God and babies sometimes need to wait for their dinner. Cool. Bring on the next challenge.
Or how about the time when we couldn't figure out why he wasn't sleeping through the night anymore. Every night for weeks we would wake up and rock him for what seemed like hours thinking THE WHOLE TIME, "I thought we were done doing this, why won't you just sleep? I'm not gonna be able to do this when baby #2 gets here!" And then his teeth came in and he started sleeping better and we looked back and realized we should have just been patient. Boom, challenge over. Give me something else!
But two more babies in two years later, I feel like I'm running out of steam. My body is tired, my brain is tired, and my spirit is tired. Oh, and did I mention my house is a disaster? Challenges seem more...well, challenging.
I know that what we are doing is worthwhile. I know that our children are a blessing. I know this so much that we will be ECSTATIC if and when we find out that baby #4 is on the way (I said IF and WHEN mom, calm down).
But this doesn't change the fact that it is still hard. I am still struggling on a daily basis. Struggling with my attitude, struggling to find grace - for others and myself - and struggling to be ok with struggling. So much is at stake - I don't want to screw it up!
I have no answers. So aside from 100% using this post to vent my concerns and frustrations so I can move on with my day on a more pleasant note, I just want to tell somebody, it's ok if you're not ok. It's ok that you don't have it figured out. It's ok that you are making mistakes and sometimes don't apologize for them or even tell anyone. It's ok because life is more than today.
I know that I am being made new every day. I know that God is faithful. I know that He is in control and all things work together for good for those who love Him. I know that this world is temporary and what matters most is the eternal. I know that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I know that as I fallibly and inconsistently follow Him, my heart's desire is for Him. And I know that He is creating me to be exactly who He designed me to be, and EXACTLY the kind of mom that He wanted my children to have.
So I will continue to ask Him for help, to ask for forgiveness, and to ask for the discernment to KNOW when I need to ask for forgiveness. But mostly I will continue to trust that the person He is creating in me is so much better than the person who I actually am. Thank God.....literally.
If you made it this far, maybe you can relate. But mostly, thanks for letting me get that out. I really needed to hear it. :)