I’m Giving Up the Normal Life

Jennifer Garner is my new hero. On the Ellen show, she faced rumors concerning her “baby bump” with confidence, poise, and style. Smiling triumphantly, she said,

I do [have a bump]… I am not pregnant. I have had three kids and there is a bump. From now on ladies I will have a bump. And it will be my baby bump. And let’s all just settle in and get used to it. It’s not going anywhere.  I have a bump; it’s name is Violet, Sam, Sera…

(you’ve gotta watch it)  

As I considered the whole New Year’s Resolution thing over the past couple of weeks, I realized a couple of things. Not only did I realize why I would not follow through with my resolution to keep the house clean, but I realized that with many of my ideas I was seeking to become something I’m not: childless.

Topping my list were:

  • Keep a clean house
  • Get rid of baby bump
  • Be more structured and productive with my time
  • Get more sleep

… basically, have the things I had before children. Rewind the clock and become the person I was 7 years ago before my skin stretched, my eyes sagged, and my mind got fuzzy.

But in a moment of peace – while stroking my son’s boyish hair and touching his delicate fingers, after one of his all out blood-curling, screaming, horrendous tantrums – I started wondering, do I really want to take back the last 7 years?

Am I so interested in erasing evidence of my pregnancy, my child rearing, my family that I would dedicate a year to those things?

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Is what I really need to return to a “normal” life (because that’s how I often think of life pre-children, normal)?

Or can I settle into the life that is? Accepting that I cannot function at the same energy levels I had pre-pregnancy. That now my time and brain are roughly divided between my two littles, my husband, and my pursuits. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for extra things such as working out or cleaning more hours of the week.

Can I finally settle into the reality that I am a mommy? That I am a mommy blogger. That that I cannot expect to have hours of uninterrupted time to myself. That  I will not be a marathon runner, a master crafter, or a foodie-chef. I will not always have the house as clean as I did before Jack was born, and that’s ok. No. That’s fantastic.

Mommy

I will drop everything when my kids bonk their heads playing power rangers.

I will kiss the invisible boo boo on the middle finger that is extended towards my face and giggle incessantly inside.

I will wake up for sickness, bad dreams, nighttime snuggles, and everything in between.

I will tend to my needs within the needs of everyone else. I will take the time I need, but I won’t expect more than I can have.

I will accept these limitations.

I will be content.

After all, I have a baby bump. And its name is Jack and Ben. It’s not going anywhere. So, let’s all settle in and get used to it.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. 

-Psalm 127:3

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Receiving from God when I’m so so tired

Day 5 of 31 Days of Connecting

You ever have those weeks when your kids don’t let you to sleep? Yeah, that’s been my week. I’ve been woken up because of bad dreams, sickness, and the big ol’ “Hi Mommy!”

Hi? It’s dark outside. Go back to bed.

As my two year old says, “I so so tired.”

I feel like I’m always tired, but this weekend I am exceptionally so.

Last night I got ready to bed a couple of hours earlier than usual, but was kept up late because of a fever (poor kid), woken up at 3 am, and again at the usual 7am wake up time.

I felt a little panicked today that I wasn’t going to be able to write about what I planned to write about. Church. Worship. Connecting with the Lord over His Supper. But I didn’t do that today. Exhausted, I spent the morning on the couch with my sick kid watching the “best of” Bob the Builder (we were all waiting for that countdown, right?). And as Bob built a new community and saved a scarecrow from a high tree branch, I felt the fatigue settle into my bones.

What do I do with that exhaustion? Believe that God is expecting more from me? Or lean into Him to give me strength?

I have that choice every day. So often I feel helpless in my weariness. Out of control and slightly horrified as the day goes on and more and more seems to fall to pieces.

OR, I can stop trying to do it all on my own and turn to Him. When I turn to Him, I not only feel comforted and strengthened, but I have better perspective. I can see that not everything NEEDS to be done right now, but I am able discern what is most important, because He helps me.

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Today, my strength is renewed not necessarily physically (I need sleep for that), but emotionally as I regain my hope and confidence in the midst of yet another challenging day as a tired mama.

My favorite line right now in those verses is this one: His understanding no one can fathom.

He understands it’s exhausting. So, He helps us.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Mama Needs a Sticker Chart, Too

I can’t believe the last post on this blog was Ben eating peanut butter. That was ages ago! And yet, I can believe it.

God’s taking me on a journey. And, honestly, I don’t like it. It’s been painful. It’s been lonely. It’s been scary. And really tough.

I have been stretched and stressed as I question so much of what I’ve known and been doing for over 3 years now, but I believe God’s hand is in it, so I keep going.

Isaiah 42:16
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.

All of this spiritual, scary, unfamiliar walking has not made me a better person. Not yet, anyway (Oh Lord, please!). I am tired. And tired of being tired. And this fatigue is creating a strain on us here at home.

Throw in the 8th round of potty training and you find me flipping out because I had to change someone’s pants twice before school on Tuesday morning. Twice! Before 8:30am!

Aaahhhhh!

I showed up at his school in a tizzy. “I don’t know what’s going on. He’s wet everyday. He’s been soaked when I’ve picked him up from school 3 times in the past two weeks. What do I do?! I don’t know what to do. I’m at my wit’s end!!!”

And I left his shocked teacher to deal with him for the day.

After talking to my dad about this (who effectively de-escalated me and my fears about any physical or mental problem with my son), I resolved to work on positive reinforcement with a sticker chart.

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Within a day I realized I needed one, too.

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It took Jack saying to me, “Don’t yell, Mommy,” to even realize that I was yelling. And that I needed help to stop.

So, every time I have to remind and prod this little man I love who exasperates me to no end to go potty and I don’t yell, I get a sticker. At the end of the week we’re going to Dollar Tree to get a prize.

I don’t know who’s more excited.