I think I'm finally emerging. Finally, crawling out from under the weight of my own expectations, my own notions of motherhood and how it all fits into full life. But, as does most emerging, it started with a crack, a breaking of that heavy outer layer that has long since weighed the being inside down. That crack came in the form of a screaming baby and ten minutes of uncontrollable sobbing. The former was courtesy of Ava, the latter...yours truly.
I haven't blogged much in the last month mostly because I didn't have much to say that didn't qualify as whining or complaining. I was frustrated and disappointed with the way life was going and then, as if that isn't enough...meet my good friend, Guilt. It would swoop in quickly anytime I was overwhelmed with the demands of every day life and effectively kill my chances of taking a breather or a nap or anything else that would keep me sane. I mean, what did I really have to complain about anyway? My three beautiful children? An adoring husband? Sweet friends? A new house? (ahhh yes...this is an exciting post for a later date...see I couldn't even tell you my great news because I was too stuck). And I would think, "Am I really sitting here, sad?" But, I was. I just was. I felt like I was losing myself amidst all of the other things that compete for my attention and I was mad about that, and subsequently feeling selfish. And trying to nurture the people in your life out of that place does not usually go well.
So, as I cried and as I talked to a good friend who thankfully let me sob on the phone and was still able to make out what I was saying, I realized that sometimes the demands of life...even for a stay at home mom (maybe especially for them, actually) really ARE just too much. And, that I can not do it all. I just can't. (If you'll allow me a slight bunny trail here...I have to tell you that in the midst of this I discovered that when my cute new cell phone has a missed call and a voice mail, the icon that appears is an envelope with a frowny face on it. A frowny face!!!...because someone wasn't able to reach me at the exact moment that they wanted to. This frowny face is often how I imagine other people viewing me when I don't meet their expectations. So, needless to say, I DO NOT need my electronics giving me attitude, people! Geesh!)
It's hard because if you are doing what you love, the expectation is that you will love every minute of it. And that means that the minutes you don't love start to make you think that maybe you've been wrong about all of it. How can you feel like you're a good mom if there are days when you want to lock the kids in their rooms and feed them by shoving food underneath the door? Does having the occasional cry in the shower after a long day mean that I am not equipped to handle having children?
Today, in a better frame of mind, I think it just means that I'm normal...maybe even better than normal, actually, because I distinctly feel the disconnect between all I want to offer my family, and how short I fall. That's painful. But, it's the good kind of painful that makes you seek the heart of God and ask him to sift away all that isn't from him. And then...he takes the guilt, he takes the unrealistic expectations, and he might even take your semi-part-time job that you find yourself trying to hold out to people who think that your full time job as a wife and mom are not enough. Yep...he'll probably take that too. But, what he gives you in return is sweet freedom. Freedom to enjoy the joy and chaos of being at home. Freedom to enjoy the slower moments, too. And, freedom to have a cry in the shower at the end of a long day when it's all just too much.