A friend just told me that she reminds herself often about 'that look' on the faces of women in older generations. East Coast or West Coast, the grandmas at the grocery store are the same: they look fondly at me with my brood, and I can almost see the memories of dirty faces, mounds of laundry, screaming siblings, broken furniture, and sleepless nights flooding into their aging minds. They remember 'the little years' affectionately?
I'll be honest though, as I just put two tired, wailing children down for the horrible, dreaded punishment - a nap, I don't think I'll remember these years fondly. I don't see how feeling like I'm running after a train I have no hope of catching is something I'll remember with any joy. I do, however, revel in the idea that they will all be well-adjusted, contributing members of society who vote for conservative political candidates and make a positive difference in the world.
Then deep inside, I ache because I know. I know that my children feel my annoyance. They sense my regular unhappiness. They know that they play second fiddle to my priorities for the day, my desire for quiet, my ideas of order, my love of hot coffee, my abhorrence of vomit...
I ache because it hurts their tender little hearts when I don't love them the way my Loving Heavenly Father patiently loves me. I don't delight in them the way He delights in me. I don't long for their company the way He longs for mine.
I know people sometimes don't have children because their own childhood experiences were too hurtful and the thought of repeating it is too weighty. Sometimes they volunteer: I'm too selfish.
Aren't. We. All.
I know that I won't say in my old age, "I wish I had a cleaner house." It's true that I'll say, "I wish I had spent more time with my children."
I won't say, "I wish I had berated them more." I'll say, "I hope they know how much I love them."
God help me, though, I have days when I cannot get it together: my nerves are frayed, I can't find a clean surface anywhere, and the idea of starting homeschool in 11 days makes me break out in hives. It all seems so insurmountable, so I just get out my pity party hat and sit in the corner and cry.
How I wish someone knew exactly when my party is starting so they could stop by, slap me across the face, and say: SNAP OUT OF IT!
Unfortunately, we live in a world with privacy fences and fake smiles. And I'm usually the one delivering the slapping to myself.
Here's a few other things I'm doing these days...
Get help. I just ordered a book called Rebuild from Depression because I suspect after 5 pregnancies in 6 years that I'm a little deficient in a lot of things. I have also been scouring the author's blog because I can't wait the 5-8 days it takes to ship it to do what I can now to make myself feel better.
Exercise. Exercise makes me feel better. And as goofy as I look stepping up and down on the Wii balance board, as annoyed as I am that my children won't let me exercise without a cheering squad, as much as I'd rather have a conversation with my husband, I absolutely have to make 20 to 30 minutes of exercise 2 or 3 times a week a priority.
Positive surroundings. When I'm down, it's easier to get down-er. If I'm around critical, negative people, I feel sapped. Because I have 5 little sap suckers, I have had to back away from some of those less-than-stellar relationships. I need all of my physical-emotional-spiritual "sap" for my children - my family is a higher priority than anyone in my life even if it means I cannot be a good friend to someone who needs it. I know a good counselor... I'll refer them.
Time out. It is okay for me to re-discover myself by having a quiet bath after everyone is in bed (milk and honey is where it's at), a date with a good book at a nearby coffee establishment, a window shopping expedition at the mall, or a walk around the block (not a jump-in-the-car-and-speed-away-because-I've-had-it drive to the nearest bar). And it's okay to spend some money on date night with my husband.
Fill up. I have a favorite coupon blogger, and I have a favorite mommy blogger. She has one post that God uses to speak to me every time I read it. She also contributes regularly at this blog. I also try to read daily devotions put out by Proverbs 31, and I listen to faith-filled music (I have 6 or 8 Pandora stations I love). When I am full, I can pour out. When I am empty, not so much.
fond [fond] Show IPA
|Part of Speech:||adjective|
|Definition:||have a liking or taste for|
|Synonyms:||addicted, adoring, affectionate, amorous, attached, caring, devoted, doting, enamored, indulgent, keen on, lovesome, lovey-dovey, loving, mushy, partial, predisposed, responsive, romantic, sentimental, silly over, sympathetic, tender, warm|
dearly [deer] Show IPA
|Part of Speech:||adverb|
|Synonyms:||affectionately, devotedly, fondly , tenderly, yearningly|