August 7, 2007

I Lost Something

Somewhere in the last few years of being a wife and mom and homemaker I seem to have lost something. It wasn't until after I had my second child that I realized I was lacking in these areas and began to study what my roles really are. While the truth was illuminating for me, it seems that somehow I have become so focused on works, and not heart.

I find myself wondering what my purpose was for having children. I knew I always wanted them- to have babies of my own to care for, play with and teach. I knew I wanted to get married and always have someone that loved me and someone to love. I knew I want a little place of my own that I could be 'queen' in. But it seems that as I have grown in my understanding in the knowledge of my place and role in life, the more I am trying to measure up by someone else's standards. I feel like if I don't do this or that, then I won't be loved or have approval.

I have always been the kind that wanted to please others and cared about what other people thought of me. And while living out the path that God has given to me, Satan has taken this knowledge and twisted around against me. Here are some of the things I am currently dealing with:

Health and Nutrition

I feel guilty when I feed my family not so healthy meals. I have researched health for so long, that I really know too much. I am like an encyclopedia when it comes to nutrition and health, and the enemy uses it against me. Our budget does not allow organic products (except things like grains/flour/sugar) or grass-fed beef/free range chicken. I don't really have a lot of time to make all our bread and snacks etc. from scratch, and lately we have been eating a fair amount of junk just because of family coming over and going out etc.

Dressing Modestly

This was a huge eye-opener for me. I had no idea how important it was to be modest. However, I am at a difficult size to buy and sew for right now, and don't have a lot of dresses/skirts still. I have quite a few, but some are for just at home. My girls wear dresses and shorts/pants, so do I. I feel guilty at times for us not all wearing matching handmade dresses. Silly I know, but for some reason I get to thinking like that.

My Home

Awhile back, I was ferociously attacked on the state of my home by someone close to me, and it just ruined me. I constantly feel guilty if my house is a little messy. Prior to this I was pretty relaxed about cleaning, probably too relaxed. It just wasn't a priority and I didn't see it as something noble to do in my profession. Now I'm a neat freak that gets upset with my children for making messes with toys in their room and whatnot. I have to step back and think, ok my kids are 1,3 and 4, they have no real concept of the importance of neatness yet. I have been working diligently to teach them to clean up after themselves, and they are doing good. Still, are my standards too high? Probably a little.

My Husband

Sometimes I get to a place where I feel like my husband won't love me as much or want me anymore if I slack in these areas. Forget the fact that I am a person created in the image of God and am valuable and loved by Him- I start thinking my husband will be unhappy if the bed is unmade. We've talked these things over and we both have a much clearer understanding of what the other expects and what we're supposed to be doing as husband and wife. He assures me it's fine for me to ask for help- that it won't kill him if he does the dishes once in awhile, or bathes the kids one night.

My Body

Now, this has always been a sensitive issue with me. I have always compared my body size to others, soooooo longing to be thin. And I am so not. Never have been. I've been a lot thinner than I am now, but I was still plus sized. I don't think I'm completely a cow or anything, but I feel inadequate just the same. I lost much weight before our first child came along, and have never been able to get back to that. My way of eating is just too hard to do with a growing family of little people on a budget.
I begin to think people look down on me, or that my husband is unhappy about it, or that my kids will notice and not like it etc. I feel like I always have to make an excuse, I've been pregnant 4 times in 4 years!

Being a Good mother

This is what I'm currently battling with right now. The last few weeks I've been short tempered and impatient and not very loving. I don't really know why. But I know I don't like it at all, and am ashamed to admit that I have not been exhibiting the love of Jesus to my children much.

Are we stressed? Yeah, but we always are, nothing abnormal. I always feel like I have so much to do and can never do it because the munchkins get in the way. But what is my purpose for doing all the stuff? Who am I trying to impress? Why do I feel I need approval? What happened to investing into an eternal soul than dusting the shelves? I just don't know. What happened to my dreams of playing with my kids and teaching them fun things and reading to them? I can't remember the last time I read a book to my kids!!! ME! Who used to LOVE to read! I don't even read anymore, at least not for fun. What happened to Jessica?

I've become so 'adult' that I can't remember how to play. I am so sad to write this. This isn't at all what I had envisioned. Why have I let these things bring me into such bondage? Why have I allowed myself to live a life of works and doing enough to measure up? Measure up to what? I will never measure up to Jesus in my flesh. I need grace. Lots of grace. I so want to show love and gentleness and patience to my girls. I want them to learn love and giving from me. I want to teach them the joy of using their imaginations when reading books or 'pretending'. I want them to learn all the homemaking skills I have had to learn while doing it. I want to teach them piano and guitar and singing and crafts and all the things I used to do. I don't want to be too busy for them.

Somewhere along the way, I lost the right heart attitude. I became focused on details and not the big picture. I feel overwhelmed- here's a list of reasons why.

My oldest is a special needs child, that I have just learned. She hasn't much speech yet and isn't potty trained yet but it's really a miracle she's alive. She requires more one and one and I haven't been giving it to her much. She goes to speech therapy twice a week and then will return to school in August.

My middle child is strong willed and spirited and very smart. She picks up on everything and loves to test and push my buttons. I need help with learning to redirect her energies/will and discipline in general. She needs way more attention (positive) and affection than I am giving her.

My youngest is a sweetie, but is getting very meddlesome and wanders off- again, training issues. And, sadly, I haven't really read her any books at all in her little life. She needs mama time too.

My husband has been dealing with constant dizziness and panic attacks for 9 months and we have done everything medically and naturally possibly to figure it out. Still have no idea what it is. We are believing for his healing, but sometimes things don't happen right away.

My own health is getting better, but hasn't been the best the last few years. My dryer is broken and it's been raining so much I can't hardly get our clothes dry.

We are facing a hard decision about future children. Since my oldest has a genetic disorder and I did have a late miscarriage with my third pregnancy, we must seriously consider if having more children would be wise. I also have c-sections, my blood type is O negative so I have to get shots, and it costs way too much money for an OB. I would have to undergo serious genetic testing including amniocentesis. I don't want that. I wanted a large family- I still want more babies someday, but I don't want to go through all of that. I don't want morning sickness and sciatic nerve pain and surgery recovery again. I don't want another high risk pregnancy- not with what is currently on my plate.

We have debt. A lot. Enough said.

My husband's job has gotten increasingly stressful and he often gets home late and works in the middle of the night too.

Wow, I have to take a deep breath now.

I am praying that God will show me what to do here. I need to know what things to focus on, and what aren't important. Is it more important that I have spotless floors or read the book with Alexa? Is it more important to have a perfectly healthy meal or save money? Is it better to put our children to bed early and be with my husband alone, or let them stay up and play as a family? So many variables. I need lots of time to think and pray about this.


Thirdtimemomma said...

Aw.. Mama.. e-mail me. Really. I have so been in your shoes, or at least near enough to them to understand. My biggest message to women is to be free to be real. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, remember that. :) Im gonna scrounge around my yahoo for your address and write you more. If you dont hear from me, drop me a line. :)

Valerie said...

Wow. First of all, I admire you for so open and honest. Secondly, I feel for you because I (and a lot of mom's I'm sure) have dealt with many of the same things. I don't have any sage advice or wisdom really. The only thing I want to say to you is be patient. I sometimes get caught up in trying to schedule my whole life (we'll be out of debt by this date, I'll be pregnant again this time, I'll lose 20 lbs...blahblahblah). Seriously though day by day is the only way. Concentrate on the things you can for sure do right now, like reading stories to your kiddos, and let the other stuff simmer.
And as far as measuring up to other's standards-pfffft! That will overwhelm you quicker than anything. I'm the first to admit my house is not always spotless, and yep, I even feed my kids *gasp* hot dogs on occasion. Life happens!
I'm sorry this is the world's longest comment, but my heart just breaks for you, and I really want you to know that things can, and WILL, by the grace of God, get better. Please know I'm praying for you and your family, and I hope you feel better soon!

Anneatheart said...

Thanks ladies. I feel better about the situation, but still confused as to how all these things happened- gradually like anything else I suppose.

I did make a 'tent' for the girls, so my fun streak is re-surfacing. We let the older ones stay up and watch Dad play video games and read books. They went to bed much happier and loved little girls.

Yes, day by day is the way to think of it. Thanks for reminding me :)

Anonymous said...

I think you've got a classic case of fatigue and burnout! So...let all these feelings wash over you and try to do your best to get some more rest over the next few days if you can. Sometimes during our child's naptimes I'll set the kitchen timer for 15-30 minutes and lay down. When the timer goes off I get up and get going. This works! If you can get your daughters to nap at the same time try this.

Other than that...I think you're doing great on all!

manda said...

Hey Jess. I just read this entry, and what I have to say is pretty simple. I love you. You are the one person in my life who has stood by me no matter what adverse wind blew my way (or that i created). To me you are a best friend, a sister, a soulmate. I love you. Not your house or dresses or nutrition... none of that matters. YOU matter. I LOVE YOU!!!

Mrs. Byers said...

Hey, I just found your blog at the Sparrow's Nest and popped over for your femenine dress section. I really liked it, and found this post as I was browsing around. I know it may be knowledge you already have, but as for your husband's panic attacks, the most common triggers are sleep deprivation and stress. It sounds like he is still encoutering this with his work situation. If this is info you already had...just chuck it :0) If not, it may be helpful to look into some relaxation techniques that can be used throughout the day as well as how he get the rest his body needs.

Meredith said...

You hang in there! We all have these periods of doubt and stress.

I put my kids to bed early and enjoy the time with my husband alone. You both need it.