Lately, it’s been extremely difficult to explain how I’m feeling because I feel guilty even saying it out loud. So let me start by saying, I totally get that people would kill to do what I’m doing. Some women would drop their jobs in a heartbeat if it meant they could stay at home with the little kids that make their hearts explode with love and adoration and frustration and exhaustion. I am in the beginning months of staying at home with my two little ones, and I would not trade this time for anything. My husband and I are sacrificing quite a bit of our lifestyle and financial stability to make investing my days into our kids and our family a possibility. I feel deeply grateful and underserving of this gift of time.
Quick translation: heart = overflowing with thankfulness. Truly.
However (I hate that there’s a however), recently I have been feeling disappointment, resentment and discontentedness more and before feeling joy, thankfulness and excitement. The hard part is that I’m not entirely sure why. I feel easily hurt, easily left out, and easily taken for granted. I think it may have something to do with continuing to find myself running down so many seemingly “good” rabbit holes. Things like: parenting, cooking, being a good wife, trying to make new friends, redecorating, blogging, etc. but I have been missing clinging onto anything that sustains me rather than me doing all of the sustaining (i.e. working hard all the time on all of my life duties and whims).
At the end of most days I feel pretty lonely, pretty run ragged, and pretty desperate for time to myself. I usually feel like I need a shower, like I need to do laundry and like I need to eat the extra fudgy parts out of the carton of Moose Tracks ice cream. These feelings—all of them—have left me swimming in a sea of guilt for not being more grateful for the blessings in my life. But if I’m one of those people that says, “I got spit up on six times today, changed two pairs of shorts and underwear after my son peed his pants, I killed a fleet of ants marching into and out of my garbage can, I was up four times in the night, I don’t know the last time I showered, and my husband and I are struggling to remain on the same page buuuuuuuuuut, I have so much to be grateful for, so you know. I’m doing great!” [inset cheesy smile here]. I would be pretending, and that doesn’t help me throw-down on these negative feelings, and it doesn’t allow for authentic connection either.
The reality is, I know I’m not alone. I know that other women are feeling what I’m feeling, and I know that so many of my friends swallow these feelings for the exact same reason I had to start this entry with a disclosure: guilt.
I think a lot of what I’m feeling is coming from the huge transition it is to go from teaching full time and needing to be visibly productive every minute of every day, to being a full time stay-at-home-mom of two kids of the ages two-and-a-half and five months where productivity looks like wiping butts and maybe, maybe getting the dishes into the dishwasher. I think a lot of what I’m feeling comes from actually being lonely during the day and feeling lost in a field of wipes, blocks, and laundry. I think a lot of what I’m feeling comes from not having the time or capacity to take care of my body—to exercise and feel good about my post-baby self. I think a lot of what I’m feeling comes from being homebound for naps and bedtimes.
These are all very real struggles that I’m having, and they’re things I am feeling desperate to figure out, so-to-speak. But, I think most of what I’m feeling comes from a deep, deep root of pride—this side of myself that tells me, “just stay up a little later and you will be able to get it all done” or “you don’t need to keep calling the same moms everyday—figure it out for yourself today” or “if you stay home during the day, the expectation is that you have dinner on the table for the family, laundry done and put away, and the house cleaned every night for a fresh morning start.” Like I said before—I sustain all of what we need for life to function well.
I think in typing this out, I figured out “why” I’ve been feeling overwhelmingly disappointed, resentful and discontent.
I truly believe that I can and should be doing it “all,” and when I don’t or can’t I feel ashamed. I am not getting filled up where I’m promised new life. I am not ever refueling my empty tank, so I’m caught in this place of running on fumes, sensitive and looking for help. I need to remember my place before the cross—sufficient, forgiven, and secure. In order to extend myself grace and accept imperfection, I do not need to do it all, I need to always run to Jesus for my identity.
So hear me, whether you’re a parent or not, life is not easy. In our society we’re piled high with expectations of us that are unrealistic, yet we feel as though we don’t have a choice but to measure up. We neglect our physical, emotional and social needs to “get it done,” or else we feel the dreaded enemy of guilt climb out of hiding and take center stage. I feel like I keep learning over and over again that boundaries and margin in life are healthy and necessary. Join me as I breathe, drink some coffee, enjoy a donut with my kids, and instead of hustling, run to Jesus, the One who says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He will give us rest for our weary souls (and slay the shame while He’s at it.)