Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deliberate Motherhood

It's cold out there today!

Hi friends!

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about Mothering. I capitalize it because it's more than just an occupation or career. It's a way of life and a sacred calling for serving God.
I'll be honest, it doesn't always feel sacred or special. It's muddy work. It's sloppy work. Most of the time, I feel frustrated (how many freakin' spills can I CLEAN in one mealtime??), angry (shut the hell up and go to sleep Noah!!!!), tired (7 wake-ups in the night for the binky or the bottle or for who-knows-what), and spent (give-give-give-give-giiiiiiive). Don't even talk to me about all the guilt. (yes, I yelled "shut the hell up!" to my 10 month old when he wouldn't stop fussing constantly during the night.)

About a month ago, I became tired of feeling, well…tired. I was sad that I wasn't feeling a sense of fulfillment and purpose I'd always imagined I'd feel once I'd become a mother. I was sad I was feeling frustrated and yelling most of the time. I was sad I wasn't finding the joy as much as I'd wanted. I fretted that time was passing me by; these little moments with my babies was going to pass too quickly and I worried I'd miss out on the chance to truly soak up every second with my precious ones.
Do you ever feel like this? Like you need the answer for HOW to be quiet, enjoy Motherhood, savor every messy moment, and thrive in all? It's so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of the everyday…wake up (before you want to), go about your same routine (whatever that looks like for you), battle the same battles, cleaning, preparing, laundering, and so forth just to hit the bed to prepare for it all again the next day. In all of this busyness and SAMENESS, it's so easy to forget to look around and notice the little things that make each day a wonderful part of the journey of Motherhood. We race, we scurry, we plot and plan for the next events all to get through the day, longing for a moment of peace and relaxation ALONE. I don't want to wake up one day (with my surly teenage kids who want nothing to do with me) and wish I'd paid more attention to the little things and focused less on my frustration and challenges back when they were little and wanted to be near me.
Spiritual Sidenote: I'm currently working through these issues with a good friend of mine who is now a pastor in Montreal. He is helping me to realize there is support from a higher place and that my purpose is a great one. I'm working to find my identity through Jesus and discovering my faith in a new way…that everything I do (yes, even scrubbing the dishes) is a way to show love and serve God because I love Him and am grateful for all He did for me. What once seemed like drudgery is simply another way I can show my love to my family. Being a Mother is easy; doing all the WORK a stay-at-home mom entails can be laborious--physically, and emotionally demanding. I can find some peace knowing that everything I do can be done with a smile because it means something special.

That being said, I also needed some inspiration and advice from other mothers. How do the other women do it? The ones who have a bunch of kids, volunteer, work, AND find time for friends, creative pursuits, etc.? I found my answers in the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of  Peace, Purpose, Order, and Joy." It is filled with essays from seasoned Mothers who have been there. Essays I feel like I could have written! There are suggestions on how to deal with different struggles (hooray!). I read the book in 2 days and filled the margins with notes. I can't recommend this book enough if you are struggling with the daily challenges from behind the scenes or want a realistic view of what Motherhood looks like. I can say strongly that it has changed the way I view my role as a Mother and the way I handle each day. I've been feeling so much more calm, purposeful, and joyous.

The book is set up in chapters that correspond with each month of the year. January focuses on the power of Acceptance. I've decided to follow along with the book and ponder each topic through this next year. (I've already read the whole book, but I want to explore each topic in detail) I'll write about that topic throughout the month and think about how it can apply in my own life. Do you want to join me? You can grab the book and play along on your own blog, or leave your thoughts in my comments. I think it's a great chance for us all to help each other gain strength and wisdom to better ourselves and refresh our views in our roles as Mothers (or Mothers to be).

Please don't misunderstand; I LOVE my kids. I love being a Mom. I'm honored to be a Mom.  I signed up for this, didn't I? I don't want to just go through the motions. I want to be GREAT for my kids. I want to FEEL GREAT for my kids. I want to look back and know I enjoyed as much as I possibly could…even the diaper changes and endless sink of dishes! (How grateful I am to have dishes from those I love to wash and diapers to change!) Once upon a time, my identity was found in my ambitions outside of the home. Now that I am home with my kids all day I need to find and gain satisfaction in a new way. It's been a bumpy road so far! So, I hope you'll follow along starting in January as I explore the topic of "Acceptance" throughout the month. Accepting that Motherhood is tough and isn't going to get any easier is the first step. I can accept the bitter stuff and embrace the awesome stuff. If you decide to read the book, let me know what you think of it!
And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog!

5 comments :

Julia said...

I plan to check-out this book...thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I definitely don't find motherhood all-fulfilling, and I'm fine with that. That's a lot of pressure to put on yourself, especially for a job with so much drudgery. The point of having a baby, especially in that first year, is just to get through it. It all gets better after that, which you know by know. I didn't "savour every moment" because so many of them were terrible. There are better moments to come. These days are so temporary. If you have the money for childcare a few hours a week so you can partake in creative pursuits, why not do it? Making yourself happy is really important, and not the same thing as trying to convince yourself that you're happy with something that's driving you crazy. I don't see what's wrong with needing more than being a mother. You have to serve yourself too.

alicia said...

love this post! love it

going to check that book out :)

Lor said...

Interesting post. I often feel the same. I get angry and frustrated and think I yell too much.
I also feel a great deal of guilt when I have not enough time for my eldest daughter (who keeps wanting me to play with her and I feel like I say no all the time, because I don't have time because of her little sister or other urgent daily chores).
But I also try very hard, just like you say, to remember that one day they won't want to do anything with me!!
It's hard, isn't it??

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have twin 14 month old boys and I'm feeling very tired, lonely, bored...I swear I could have written this post. You hit on just about all of it.
I too miss being "in the moment". I grab it and then the whining begins. One will start and want to be picked up, then the other one hears the whining and starts to whine demanding to also be picked up. All this whining makes the dog whine. And I have said only a couple of times (Everybody Shut the F*** UP!) yeah...not proud.
Yeaaah...I need help with this too. I'd love to join you in the readings.

I do think a major theme here for me is the pressure I put on myself to be a "GREAT" mom. There is a psychological theory that suggests functional adults come from households with "good-enough parenting". You only have to be good 70% of the time.
That leaves 30% for "Shut the F*** UP" moments.
But unfortunately I seem to put about 100% of the pressure on myself to, not be perfect, but just be a mother thats generous, caring, loving, intelligent, classy, flexable, beautiful,firm,fair,thin,modest,friendly,creative,spiritual,fun,funny,special, magical, (ad nauseam)...every minute, every day. But not perfect.(HA!right)

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