Friday, May 31, 2013

Where I am Right Now

This post has been sitting as a draft for a bit now.  I've been holding back, and waiting to post because I'm so unsure about it.  I don't want it to come across as ungrateful or complaining.  That's not what this is about.  This is about being real with myself.  With you.

I'm in a different place than I used to be, and its hard.

I've been a full time employee sans children.

I've been a full time work outside the home employee + mom.

I've been a part-time work outside the home employee + mom.

And now I'm a work my butt off staying home with the kids 24 hours a day mom.

All of them are hard.  None of them are easy.  But I have to be brutally honest.  Nothing has made me feel like more of a failure than what I am doing right now.  No one can make you feel as inadequate as a 2 year old that can't yet articulate what she wants, but won't settle for anything less than she is asking for.  Nothing can push my buttons, and have me seething as quickly as a four year old that doesn't ever do what he is asked to the first time he's asked.  Nothing makes you feel as low as your children telling you to go away, they don't want you or you're so mean to me all the time.  Nothing makes you as guilty as the look on your 6 year old's face when you get frustrated with them because they are chasing their siblings around screaming and laughing and having fun.  The times when my children melt down are always in public. The hard work, the discipline, the constantly feeling like you are not enough for your kids is draining.  I am more tired than I was working 12 hour days and spending 2 hours a day with my kid. For me, that life was SO MUCH EASIER in so many ways.  But it was never easy to kiss that sweet little face goodbye in the morning, or goodnight at bedtime.   I'm more insecure than I was juggling my part time job and my three children.  I feel like this is all I do, and none of it is ever good enough.  I love them, but sometimes I yell.  I make stuff home made from scratch and they want chicken nuggets from a certain arched-nemesis.  I plan out fun games and crafts for them to do, but when they fail, I turn on the television in defeat.  I sometimes eat cereal for dinner at 9:30pm when my husband is out of town, because its the first chance I've had to sit because no one wanted a nap.  This is my life now, and I always feel less than enough. When I was working I felt guilty for not being at home.  Now that I'm home I feel guilty for not working, and guiltier for missing working.

Thank God for grace.  His grace, because I sure don't give myself enough of it.  I don't give my kids enough of it.  I'm sure that other people feel the same way.  So we sure need a lot of His grace, and we are so thankful for it.  Despite sick kids, today was a good day.  You get those here and there, and they make the hard days more bearable. But I don't know when I'll stop guessing myself.  I feel like I'm daily adding to that which my children will be discussing with their future therapists.  I feel like I have friends out there that want kids but can't have them, and they would be doing things so much better than me.  I look at all the pictures online and read all the articles about attachment parenting (which I'm not sure I totally agree with), and wonder if I'll ever get things right.  Here's to finding out in 20+ years.  In the meantime, I'll have a drink after I put the kids down to bed tonight and try and give myself a break. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Finding a memory at the resale shop

My mother was an antique dealer.  She dealt in wares from another time and place.  1st editions with yellowed pages and a faint musty smell.  Dolls with cracked paint on their rosey cheeks and eyes that still opened and closed if she was packed away properly.  Worn, golden wedding rings that had long since said goodbye to their wearer.  Postcards with a picture of an old family store and ancient scribble across the back.  She gave history new life with each sale.  Each carbon copy receipt carefully filled out to designate the dealer, amount paid, and item description. Our house sat stacked with boxes of antiques filling the basement, and really wherever there was room. A jukebox sat in the front foyer, and African masks hung on the living room wall next to a collection of Native American arrow heads. The dust bothered by asthma, but my fascination with the old stuff never faded.  I still love the smell as I walk into an antique store.  The slight mustiness, the history of someone else's furniture.  Or maybe its their memories, lingering over their discarded possessions. 

I shopped at the Salvation Army yesterday.  Every once in a while you will find something there that doesn't belong with the rick rack and stretched out sweaters.  An ancient Christmas ornament tucked away with chintzy wall art or old chipped dishes. A milk glass candy dish carelessly stacked with cheap flower vases. I was there to find inexpensive frames to spray paint teal, and I did, but with it I found a memory.  As I scraped the sticker gently off the glass of the frame, I was suddenly transported to one of the many moments I helped my mom prepare her goods for sale.  A quick spray of the Pledge on the sticker.  The oils loosening the stickiness of the price tag.  Softly scraping the sticker away, and cleaning the glass to a perfect shine.  The smell of lemon pledge is like time machine.  The memory warmed my heart and a wave of homesickness and grief washed over me, unanticipated and brief.  In a flash it was gone.  So many times that's how it is these days.  As her laugh has faded to a distant echo.  Her voice lingers in my mind, but I wonder if its the right one.  If it sounds like she did, or only as I remember her.  I suppose it will always this way.  Moments will forever sneak up on me, reminding me of the magnitude of my loss.  But at least now they are brief glimpses of the past instead of days of lingering upset.  It still feels like a punch in the stomach when it happens though, the wind knocked out of me, and I always struggle to catch my breath again, but once I do its like it never happened. 

When I think of everything that's made today I'm saddened by the fact that nothing lasts as long as those old wooden rocking chairs or musty trunks with heavy brass locks.  I'll always cherish the memories of sitting in the back room of an old building eating a plain Hershey bar and wondering at the antiquity of all that surrounded me. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's Mother's Day Got to Do with It?

Mother's day.  It is what it is right friends?  I just have to take a moment to acknowledge something about mother's day that people often forget.  For so many of us it is a day of grieving and loss.  It may be that someone is trying desperately to become a mother, and thus far, are grieving the loss of motherhood in general.  There are some teen mom's grieving the choices they made that got them to the point of single motherhood, thankful for their baby, but wishing they'd waited. There are some of us aching with the loss of our own mother's.  It may be that someone that a miscarriage has left someone broken at the idea of what could have been.  There are women who gave up their babies for adoption, knowing it was the right choice for them, but heartbroken at the idea of their child calling someone else mom.  There are women that didn't go through with pregnancy, regretting that they made that choice.

It is great to celebrate motherhood and mothers in general, but please friends, be delicate.  Don't complain about your Mother's Day gift or all the ways you wished it had been different.  There maybe be people that would give up a 100 Mother's Days to be where you are, or 100 more to have their mother back.  I'm so thankful for my beautiful family, my wonderful husband and three kids, but every year, no matter how many pass, Mother's Day is hard for me.  Don't forget the broken hearted around you on this special occasion.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Who do you know that may be struggling with Mother's Day?  How can you comfort them?

For all my friends that are grieving or seeking comfort in loss, I'm thinking of you and praying for you as Mother's Day approaches.