Friday, October 17, 2008

My Jesus Help This Mom post

So this Mom not only Rocks, she also falls flat on her face and begs for mercy.  

This is my Help Me Jesus post.

My almost-three year old has been as sweet and easy as pie for the past six months until yesterday when she suddenly went hysterical on me for no apparent reason, and could NOT calm down for at least an hour.  I started with jokes, then tried hugs, at one point stripped her and put her in the tub, and ended up stepping over her still freaking out sopping wet little body and praying the neighbors weren't calling the police.  I still have no idea what triggered this breakdown, but it left me exhausted, humiliated (the neighbors right outside our open windows), and feeling like a worthless mother who cannot read her child.  A failed day.

Being a stay at home mom is hard.  There are days like the one I described, that explode like a cheap diaper all over you.  And there are a lot of days spent just trying to make it till bedtime.  I never know if I'm doing it right.  I second-guess myself ALL the time.  I'm always wondering what it is my children will need to tell their therapist about me when they are older, and I'm still waiting for my daughter to look at me and say, "Thank-you Mommy, I am sure that I will grow to become an emotionally healthy, well-adjusted, generous adult because of the way you just handled that."  There are no guarantees.  No six-month evaluations followed by a raise.  Not even any way to know if you're doing it right.  I struggle every day with the loss of identity that comes with being a stay at home mom.

And it's lonely here in Cheerio-land.  Playdates and Storytime are great, but they are spent chasing runaway toddlers, interspersed with two-word conversations with other mothers. 

Wal-Mart is hell.  

Even on my most ambitious days, when I wake-up with the greatest intentions of being fully-present, with the perfect plan for a wonderfully creative, high-sensory, educational and full-o-fun kind of day . . . it doesn't always work out that way.  And I still end the day feeling like I'm not giving enough to either child.  Or what if I'm giving too much?  This is my world.

No, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I'm just saying to those who think that being a stay at home mom is a luxury, that yes it is, but it's also hard, and maybe I shouldn't be writing this at 12:30 a.m. when all I can do is whine.

I totally identified with this:
Being a full-time parent has more to do with sacrifice than luck  

And choosing to stay at home to raise your kids is not a choice that everyone can or wants to make.  That is okay.  As hard as it is being at home, I can't imagine how hard it must be leaving them every day either.  This seems like such a brilliant solution.  

This is another related article that examines some of the studies on our culture's isolation and it's relationship to our health.

4 comments:

charrette said...

Oh, I needed this!

My favorite sentence? Wal-mart is hell. I love that you just said that!

I actually tried Babies in the Workplace when I was a Work-at-Home Mom (I guess I still mostly am!) and it works GREAT...until they're mobile.

My daughter napped every day from 1 to 4, and I got a lot done during that delicious-for-both-of-us nap ritual, but the boys rarely napped, and I ended up finding alternate venues for both.

I do think sense of community is very important (one of the many things I get from church) and I agree that being a full-time parent is an enormous sacrifice.

Parenting is the hardest thing I do. And it can be the most rewarding. But the paychecks are few and far between.

Nothing besides parenting has made me so aware of my own flaws and so grateful for grace. When I realize He can fill in the gap between my weaknesses and the ideals, can make possible the impossibility of it all, and forgive the failings...I am beyond grateful. I am in awe.

Heather of the EO said...

Oh how I hear you, lady!

I have more bad days then good days actually. That can be so depressing. I love the last paragraph of Charrette's comment.

I'm holding on to grace.

Becoming Me said...

I love, love, love your honesty in this post and have so been where you have been and probably will be there again soon...my 4 yr old daughter use to have TERRIBLE fits like the one you described....very very hard "phase that lasted nearly 3 years. And I still have many days I feel like a failure...and many more when I just cry out for strength.

Betty said...

Oh Jess, When I have these days I think the same thing. I like to blame my parents for all my character flaws and always worry my kids will do the same. I try diligently to "live on purpose" and make all of these rough times learning experiences....but then real life happens. Now that my boys are a little older and I've been through it 3 times I realize that there are just some "stages" every kid has to go through. I wish someone would have told me that when I was in the trenches..even if you are doing everything right, there will still be tears and irrational fits.
Loss of idenity? I am so there. It has been 9 years since my first born arrived and I have reached that point of despair(a long time ago) and now have this tremendous hunger to find or even reinvent myself. And yes Wal-Mart is the closest thing to a black hole there is. It is like those doors slide open and kids lose all their senses and so do we.
I wish I would have taken more time to refresh when my kids were at the ages of yours. It is a very lonely, stressful time and filled with guilt. It is such a privilege and I love being home but your feelings are valid and shared.
Now that my boys are school age, I am really starting to see the fruit of those years at home in their character. You will too. I thought I would never make it through the preschool years, but I did and I actually miss those days.