Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is this me?

It's very early in the morning, and I'm finding it difficult to unglue my eyes. Little children are already whining, clamoring for breakfast and squabbling over toys. A bunch of chickens and a dog are waiting for their morning meal as well. Husband's lunch has to be packed and sandwiches made for him to take along before he hurries off.

I feel a stab of annoyance rising within me. Can't they all just leave me alone for a couple of minutes, so I can have a cup of coffee in peace before diving head-first into the busyness of the morning? I move along moodily, irritably, doing what has to be done and speaking in short grunts.

It's midday, and I really need to do a couple of things on the computer. There are emails to be answered, my husband asked me to research a certain topic for him on the internet, not to mention the laundry must be folded and brought in before it starts raining. Yet my older daughter refuses point-blank to take a nap, and the baby wakes up after 30 minutes, fussy and unrested but with no intention of settling down again. I shut down the computer and take my little ones outside, where they "help" fold the laundry by clinging to my legs.

I'm so frustrated I could rip my hair off. When am I going to do all the stuff I must do? Why can't "they" (husband, children, whoever claims some of my time) understand how much I already have on my plate, and let me carry on with it? Why can they never wait? Why do I always have to be so frazzled?

It's evening, and I'm stifling a yawn while the girls are playing in the bathtub. I thought I would catch up on ironing once they are in bed, but now I realize I'm not really up to it. I'm lucky if I can summon enough energy to do the dishes before turning in. I waste no time in attempting to get my toddler into the fresh clean clothes I laid out for her earlier, but she takes it all as a fun game and prances along from one edge of the bed to the other, giggling loudly. 

Why can't they understand how tired I am? Why won't they go to bed quickly for a change? Why does my husband have to choose this precise moment to tell me he is arriving soon with a month's worth of groceries, and that I must somehow find extra space in the already overstuffed freezer by rearranging it?

The part of my mind that has not yet gone off-balance knows I'm being unreasonable. My children are as good as can be, it's just that they are children, and so will play, bounce, squabble and demand attention from the moment they rise till it's time to go to bed, and beyond. And you won't find many husbands who completely and totally take charge over all the grocery shopping. Yet I feel an irresistible urge to snap, bite someone's head off, stomp my feet, raise my voice - several times a day. I don't want to be reasonable anymore. I want to have things the way I want, and I want to stop whatever is getting in the way. 

As I sense this sweeping over me like a tide, threatening to swallow me, it's like watching a car crash in slow motion without being able to do anything about it. I'm just helplessly, desperately asking myself - who is this insufferable, unloving person speaking out of my mouth? Can it really be me? And if it is, how can I live with it? 

What keeps me going is the knowledge that it is not me. Or at least, that it isn't the deepest, truest part of my essence as a person. Fighting what bursts out of me when things don't go as planned is like fighting a many-headed dragon, yet I don't give up. I start every day afresh, and rejoice over tiny achievments such as keeping myself within the limits of my patience as I explain for the tenth time in an hour that we do not play with the contents of the bathroom cabinet.

I am humbled. I'm walking in small steps; I'm not trying to be a perfect mother, or even a better-than-most mother. For me, it is immense pride and joy just to be good enough.

23 comments:

La Carter said...

I have to say, this post caught me completely by suprise. This can't possibly be you! And if it is really you today, then thank goodness because all of a sudden I can see that these struggles affect even the women I thought it couldn't possibly and I am grateful.

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Thank you for your honesty. Too often we act as though by being honest it somehow makes us less than perfect! EVERYONE is human and has these moments! These moments will probably come more often than not for awhile; I liken it to the grinding off the burrs of our own little shortcomings. But then there will come a time when you will be gracious and tired at the same time; gracious and not fed up even though the same things are still going on; gracious with yourself that you are not perfect! Many-a-mother has lifted her hands to the ceiling with crying babies at her feet and screams, "Is this all there is!?" Praise God, who is so patient with us, and answers, "Yes, and it is good!"

My two children are now 10 and 13 and I am thankful for being able to sleep all night, etc., but oddly enough I have been trained not to need as much sleep now! You are going to make it! It is o.k. to cry and express your resentments (to God - I would respectfully suggest you don't express those things too much to your loved ones!) - get all the frustrations out, then get back on the horse that threw you and ride again. Repeat the above directions 20 times per day (or more depending upon the day!) and make it through one day at a time until one day you will look back and be content that your life has been spent to the glory of God. Already, if you will listen closely, you will hear God telling you, "Well done, good and faithful servant." You have already made many excellent choices to serve your family. God is already proud and pleased with you and He calls you his beloved!

Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

How well I remember those days. Once, when my third child was about three years old, I told her in great frustration, "R., you are going to make me climb the walls!!" I still can picture it: She paused, with a strange expression on her face, and replied, "That would be funny."
Don't worry, every day gets easier and they do learn eventually to "take 'no' for an answer" as I used to teach mine. (Of course, they must be taught that.)
And by the way, I can just picture the little one giggling and running from one side of the bed to the other as tired Mama wants to capture and dress her. :-)
Blessings on you and yours.
Mrs. L.

Lady Anne said...

Oh! I remember those days all too well. Who was it said that when a child is between 2 and 12 a parent can age 30 years? I had a 4 year, old, a second little girl, and SEVEN months later, a third daughter!

I baked a lot of bread. Bang, thump, boom, smack! You could usually tell exactly how frustrated I was by how much fresh bread there was in the house!

And, to top it off, my late husband was neither use nor ornament, and couldn't understand why the place wasn't spotless all the time.

Laree said...

This is so exactly a mirror of my week. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. Now back to trying to explain to the 2yr old why he should rest quietly while his little brother is sleeping.

Rose said...

It happens to all of us and the best we can do is recognise the frustration and try to do a little better. Exactly as you are Anna dear.

Regina said...

I am not a mother, but I completely relate to thus in other areas of my life. Thank you for posting it!

Anonymous said...

La Carter said exactly what I was going to say. Oddly enough, this is such an encouragement to me, to know that you struggle with the same things I do. Thanks for writing this. Gracie

Emily G. said...

Wow, not a post I expected from you. I'm in total sympathy. I am RIGHT where you are. A million times a day, I ask myself that. "Is this really who I am right now?" When my kids are running around naked, refusing to get dressed after baths, following me into the basement when I go down to switch the laundry and jumping in the puddle of water that leaked in during this week's big rain...and I just want to say "Enough! I get 1 hour for me!" I want to wrap up in a blanket and lay on the couch for one hour, undisturbed. It never happens.

Like you, I'm just trying to do the best I can. I think this part is hard, where you and I are now. We just have to pray for the strength to smile.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post because it made me feel less alone! Thank you!!

Analytical Adam said...

Sorry to hear that. I do again though wish that you would share more about your husband and his struggles which he should want to share with you and what he actually does for a living. Obviously, we don't have to give out specific names but just what he does.

For you to be his helpmate he should open up to you about his own struggles. If he isn't I can understand some frustration you have because he is not letting you fulfill your God given role and you can't play the role of sharing with us about your husband and how his role as a man trying to support his family effects his view of God and other people.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Adam, you got me confused. I just want to make it absolutely clear that what I share about my husband is what HE is prepared to be shared about him here on the blog, and no more.

Rachael said...

Thank you for your company on this journey. I have been losing the battle here this week and reading of your struggle and resolve has helped me to get up and keep going as I feel that we can go along together where we might give up alone. You are doing so well. Don't lose heart. God bless.

theisraeladventure said...

I HEAR YOU! BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! Luckily not every day is like that. On days like this, I know I need to lower my expectations, SLOW DOWN, let go of what I can let go of and nurture myself because of course no one else is going to do that. I am the only one who knows what I need.

Thia said...

Most definitely my life too right now. I'm going to make one suggestion. Your husband's lunch? Do what you can the night before while you prepare dinner. My husband's job takes him out of the house for 12 hours or more most days, so the night before, while I make dinner (or sometimes I do this first), I make him a breakfast to reheat, fill his water bottles, and pack him a lunch. He gets up at 5 in the morning and I'm still in bed! I've been up with babies through the night, so I get a bit more shut eye.
Hugs!

Lady Anne said...

Adam, Anna already said her husband does all the grocery shopping, and that alone is a blessing beyond measure. I'm sure he also does other things to lend a hand that she doesn't feel she needs to tell us.

Leah Brand-Burks said...

So refreshing, Anna! Good to know I'm not alone in my occasional (or not-so-occasional) struggle to keep it all together! Thank God for His grace. Sufficient for each day, I find. ;-)

Linda said...

Anna- it's fatigue, fatigue and frustration and continual noise. It's the same routine used to break people in interrogation. That you haven't started screaming and throwing crockery is a testament to your good temperament and faith. Even five minutes, I know,one minute, let alone five would a miracle, okay two minutes sit down with your feet up, a cold wash cloth on the back of your neck and a cool glass of chamomile tea or cucumber water will give you a physical and psychological lift. Please promise to make two to five minutes for yourself each day when you see the tidal wave coming. Think of it as tiny Sabbath. Pack the lunch the night before. Thinking of you and praying for you.

Katy M. said...

Adam, Anna is indeed fulfilling her God-given role...by protecting her husband's business from prying ears and eyes. Why would she need to share his business with us? That being said, it would be nice for him to perhaps give her a heads up about bringing a month's worth of groceries home, and to maybe make his own sandwich every once in awhile. :)

Mrs. Anna T said...

Just to say, I do normally pack my husband's lunch the night before. However, there are those days when (for some reason) I haven't done it, and naturally, it adds to the morning's stress levels.

Mrs David W said...

Anna,
Thank you, thank you for sharing this. I appreciate your raw honesty about this day.
I have felt like this too.... the prancing on the bed, the not napping, the husband coming home with groceries etc.
Like you said though, in the essence of your being you love your kids and appreciate your husband.
We are human, and admitting it is ok. Thank you again for sharing. I am sure there are so many of out there who have all shared this experience.

LouLou said...

This post encourages me. Thank you for your honesty and refreshing attitude that exclaims "I cannot do it all, every day". I am in the process of finals week (I graduate on the 17th!), with a sick baby, and my husband is also working and finishing his classes for the semester. I think I'm losing my hair at this point. ;) My saying is that I must do my best, every day. However, that level of "perfection" (or whatever you call it, my brain is fried) changes from day to day. Thank you for reminding me that others struggle with the season in their lives as well. Thank you!

Meagan said...

Been there.... Done that.... had that week too... bought the t-shirt.

It is when it became every day and every week that something had to change.