Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mom of the Year

mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom and there is a kink in my neck that won't go away.

I've felt it, I know it's there, but I keep telling myself I'm doing a pretty good job at hiding it, didn't realize that I am wearing it all over me . . . until yesterday . . .

Sam was snapping pictures and in the afternoon between feeding the baby, putting Annie back down for her nap, sending Sami to her room, again, . . . and then repeating the process about fifty times . . . I downloaded the pictures and was horrified to see the one she took of me . . . I've considered posting it, but I'm not sure I'm that brave . . .

I am finding it very necessary to catch my breath these days.  Because when I don't, this is what happens: (okay, here it is) . . .


Really?  Is this REALLY how my kids see me every day?!  A perpetually irritated expression?!   This is the It's Summer I Want Everything mom?  The "embrace life, laugh-out-loud" mom?   Wouldn't every child like to see this face all day?  And what husband wouldn't want to come home to THIS! (actually by six o'clock the face is even better!)

I know what I was thinking . .  . Can't you go two seconds without needing me?  Or, if you spill one more thing I am going to lose my mind!  Or, Why are you naked again?  Or . . .

And the thing is, it's not how I feel, not deep down . . .  my frustration and irritation ride on the surface, and it slips and sloshes but underneath it all there's this joy, this gratitude and wonder at the gift of raising children . . . I wish my kids were seeing more of the deeper me and less of the worn-out me on top.

After our third baby my doctor wrote me a prescription for three hours of alone time per week, non-negotiable.  She made me promise her I'd take it, every week, for the next twenty-five years she said.

When I think back I can see times when what I needed more than anything was to step away from the crowd and get alone, to think and pray, but I avoided solitude, refused to find it, and the results weren't good. And now in this season, I feel the call to get alone but once again it is so hard to set things down and walk away.

This morning I fed the baby and walked out the door, alone.  I spent 3.50 on a cup of tea (thinking I could have bought a whole box for that . . . and with a coupon . . . and if I went here . . . )   I have a to-do list beside me and there are a thousand ways that I could be spending this time but I am choosing rest, and solitude, and unhurried reading and a little writing because that is what I love . . . and I am hoping that when I return home the other me will have returned, too.

"Silent solitude makes true speech possible and personal. If I am not in touch with my own belovedness, then I cannot touch the sacredness of others. If I am estranged from myself, I am likewise a stranger to others."   — Brennan Manning (Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging)

5 comments:

Young Mom said...

So glad you are choosing to care for yourself. It is so hard to force yourself to do it when you have so many other people that need you. Don't listen to the lies that "if you were Godly enough" you wouldn't need to spend any time on yourself. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is essential.

Becca said...

Hmmm...I think we could make arrangements pretty easy to come over and kick you out for three hours or you could drop the girls off here. I'm free Tuesday morning, lemme know.

Jessica said...

Thanks Becca! I got my three and it was fantastic :)

Becky said...

good for you, jess! but i still think you are amazingly beautiful in that pic! :) seriously, i console myself with the thought that one day my girls will understand because they may very well be in my shoes in one way or another. i know that i look back to specific instances of my mom being frustrated and it is all so clear to me now and i hold nothing against her at all! because i am "there" and i completely understand. :) love you.

charrette said...

That picture is seriously not as bad as you think it is. You're lovely, even without the smile.

And I LOVE your last quote! That is so very true for me.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post on that "taking care of yourself first" idea, called "Think Yellow Oxygen Mask." It's here, if you're interested: http://divergentpathways.blogspot.com/2008/05/think-yellow-oxygen-mask.html