I’ve been in kind of a funk lately. I think if I had to put a name to it I would have to call it dissatisfaction. I’ve been doing a lot of feeling sorry for myself lately.
I am enjoying all my hobbies immensely. John says I should be careful how much time I spend on them because I will get burned out. I thought of that last night as I was thinking how very little time lately I have been able to carve out of my day to devote to “me” stuff. I don’t think I have to worry about getting burned out on hobby time at this rate. But why is it that no one cautions us about motherhood in the same way. “Be careful how much time you spend taking care of those kids. You’re liable to get burned out. Then you won’t be good for anything.” Hmm, you think?
I know that what I am feeling is not all right, that there are many wonderful blessings to being a stay at home mom, so let me add a disclaimer now. This post might not be the most positive one I write, but I feel like I need to share just a bit of what this looks like for me lately. And hopefully I’ll be able to end with something a bit more uplifting. We’ll see if I get that far. I’m working on it. 🙂
I know that something is not quite right in my mothering world right now. Because lately, most of what I see is the negative. I hate that 10 minutes (sometimes less) after I clean up the living room it is littered with kids’ coats, shoes, socks and toys. I dislike the fact that pretty much every time I am able to spend some time doing something productive, either work, creative hobby, or housework, it turns out that one or both of the boys has taken advantage of my distraction to go and destroy something. I don’t like that I don’t always enjoy sitting at the table eating with my family because I either have to get up several times to get things the kids want, or listen to their sibling squabbles over who touched who. I’m tired of the fact that pretty much the only time I can work un-distracted is when the kids are sleeping, and surprise surprise, I feel like I should be sleeping too.
Then on top of all of that, when I am feeling this way, I realize that I am not doing that great of a job. Perhaps I am doing too much, not paying enough attention, not committed enough to housework. I start to feel frustrated and it comes out in the way I deal with my kids. Then, as you all know I’m sure, things go from bad to worse. I know I need breaks. And I get plenty of them. But you know something is missing when 2 hours after you’ve had a nice evening or morning away from kids you start wishing you could have another one.
And so, I am reaching the point now, where I am dissatisfied with my dissatisfaction. I want more. I want to enjoy my kids, enjoy my days, enjoy my work, and enjoy my hobbies. Joy, that is what I want, and patience, grace, wisdom, energy . . . But I think if I had to just pick one, joy would be the one. Joy is pretty important to me, as most of those who know me would probably attest to. That’s why I named my blog: “And Then There Was Joy.” I was thinking more big picture when I wrote that, how no matter what grief we have walked through, we can still experience joy. But I am realizing that still applies to my every day life. It is there for the taking, I’m just not taking it.
I know that being a mother is a hard job and will always be a hard job. It’s not going to get any easier, and there will always be something that is hard for me to handle in this job. There will always be distractions, my kids will need lots of discipline for many more years, there will be noise, there will be mess, and there will be frustration. To be honest, I now realize that I cannot do it. I do not have the energy, the willpower, or even the passion to do this job. But I know who does. I have heard God calling to me the last few days. His little nudges reminding me that if I want to get through my day with joy, I need to start it by looking for the real source of that joy. His voice telling me that if I want to have the energy to get through a whole day with all that it requires of me, that I need to sit down in the middle of it and have a timeout listening to Him. And his encouragement that if I want to see how much I have accomplished in my day so that I can feel true satisfaction, I need to end that day with time for reflection on the things that really matter.
So now I know what I need to do. All that is left is to do it.