That’s about the summation of my thoughts when I walked into my house today after a breakfast date with my husband, courtesy of a family from church.
Apparently the breakfast date was part of a plan to bless me by cleaning my entire house as a surprise.
How do you feel about your house? Do you hold secret shame about your pack-rat tendencies, handed down for 3 generations? Do you always hear yourself saying, “If I could just declutter, this place wouldn’t be such a wreck”? Do you feel overwhelmed by the state of your house as you just try to survive daily life? Do you say, “If I could just stop hanging onto the past, I could get rid of all these things”? Do you remember the panic in your house growing up, rushing around trying to make a place look presentable, whenever someone was going to come over, which as almost never, because letting anyone come over was too guilt-inducing?
Imagine you are all of those things, you are a young adult woman trying very hard to break the hold of All That Stuff, you are starting to get on top of it, and then you are slammed with postpartum anxiety and depression and a baby who doesn’t sleep well. You’re just barely scraping by, but every day you look at the growing chaos in your home and face your actual inability to do anything about it. Then imagine a group of people, out of the sheer spirit of Christ-given generosity within them, and completely unbeknownst to you, comes and cleans your house while you’re out on a date. And you come home to that.
I was so shocked that I just walked around my house speechless for a good 10 minutes, and then I just sat in the rocking chair in my baby’s freshly picked-up room and took it all in. There just aren’t words to describe. I’m going to be processing this deep, deep down for a long time. I’ll get back to you in a year about it…
Why did you decide to become a stay-at-home mom?
Sometimes that question comes at just the right moment. A gal asked this on a moms chat group I’m part of on Facebook. I’ve never been able to answer it before, but this time the answer came right to me as I typed. I’m so glad I finally have this in writing now. It’s what I have been trying to straighten out for 2 years.
Lots and lots of reasons… The first one that comes to mind is: it’s hard for me personally to handle two demanding jobs at one time. I suspected this would be the case when I got pregnant, although I wasn’t sure, because who knows exactly what motherhood is really going to demand of you right out of the gates??? Besides that, the small business I was working for didn’t have a paid maternity leave option. So when I had my son, I went ahead and quit my job, knowing if I wanted to go back they would rehire me in a heartbeat. But–here come my reasons: 1) in those first few months with my son, it became very obvious to me that I would not cope well with working and trying to be a good mommy at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to give 100% at both jobs and so I would always feel like a failure at both. That wasn’t okay with me. 2) As I was realizing this, I was also realizing that it was much, much more important to me for my children to have one of their parents at home, being a parent 24/7, than for me to bring home a sliver of a paycheck that would basically just cover childcare anyway (and that’s a maybe! childcare is ridiculously expensive).
Those were the big reasons that clinched it for me. In addition to those: 3) My husband’s salary was enough to let me stay home. 4) That’s what he had hoped for anyway. And finally– 5) eventually I figured out that I way preferred being a mom to working out in the world anyway. I’m just better suited to it somehow. I didn’t know that before I became one, though.
I’m very careful about anything I let influence me.
This is an interesting insight into myself that I haven’t really thought about before. I mean, I always knew I was picky about food and that I don’t take risks in the online world.
But I’m also very choosy about my real friends, too. And very choosy about who I add on Facebook.
I don’t think of myself as snobby so much as…careful. Very, very careful. I guess I’ve had my heart beat up too many times?
Huh. This is just very interesting. Yet another thing to unpack tonight.
Another friend aching for children, motherhood, being a wife.
Whenever I read about a friend of mine aching with desire to be a wife, to be a mom, it throws my heart into such conflict. On the one hand, I care very much about my friends and I am sad when they are sad, and I want to help them feel better by saying something encouraging. But on the other hand, I have ZERO ground for relating to the desire to be a wife, a homemaker. I have no idea what to say.
And inside, there’s a deeper ache of my own.
What would it have been like to grow up in a home where motherhood and homemaking were valued so highly? What would it be like to grow up with someone who didn’t approach life as if it were all a fight? What would it be like to grow up with someone who saw her children as blessings instead of accidents, deviations from her life’s plan? What would it be like to grow up with someone who rested in any and all of God’s blessings, and trusted in His sovereignty, no matter what the circumstances? What would it be like to grow up where home was a place of peace, and not a place of strife and striving?
We all have our own aches.
Sometimes your son smacks his head on a kitchen drawer and it’s your fault and you’ve had such a hard couple of days that when he cries all you can do is sob with him.
Sometimes you’re astonished and thankful to remember a pitcher of cucumber-infused water sitting in the fridge this week, because that’s just what you need to control the swelling bump.
Sometimes you hold a washcloth to his head, still sobbing while he sobs.
Sometimes you realize you have to pull yourself together because your crying is making him panic, and you know from experience that crying hard creates heat, which makes you feel worse when you’re hurt.
Sometimes all you can think of is that you were watching a Daniel Tiger episode on asking for help when you’re frustrated, and it burns because that is supposed to apply to grown-ups, too.
Sometimes you let him have a binky when it’s not night-night time.
Sometimes you breathe, “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.” to calm both of you down.
Sometime you sit with a tear-streaked face, rocking your son gently, thanking God that your son isn’t panicking anymore and that you’re holding much steadier than you should be able to.
Sometimes you marvel that your son wants to be in your arms even though your impatience is what got him hurt.
Sometimes you remember why you’ll never ever give up on God, even in the middle of a dark week, because you feel Him there in the worst of it.
Marriage is not about “Is this going to work?”; it’s about “We are going to make this work, come hell or high water, because we love each other and we belong together.”
Marriage is about knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are fallen and so are they. The secret to a marriage that lasts is each of you working to become more Christlike, both separately and together.
Aiming for “good enough” is not enough. Your “good enough” and their “good enough” might not be the same thing. You must have a common definition of “good enough” to aim for. And Christ was the embodiment of goodness and perfection.
Dear Girl I Wish I Was,
Here’s the deal.
When I first met you, I found myself feeling sooooooo un-perfect next to you. And then judging you because I thought you were too caught up in your appearance, because you wear a lot of makeup and cute clothing. And you do and make all kinds of cute, fashionable things for your daughter and for your home and for other people. So, really, essentially, you’re the epitome of the person I was talking about today.
But I wanted to tell you I don’t feel that way as much now.
And that’s the hard part. I don’t feel that way AS MUCH. But in total honesty, sometimes I DO still feel that way about you.
And I lied to you by telling you you’re not that person. And I felt like it was so obvious that I was, in fact, talking about you, because I brought you in and it wasn’t what I meant and now you must be sitting at home feeling like dirt because your friend just admitted she’s judgmental toward you and then lied about it. In front of everybody.
I’d leave me, too.
The worst part is I was actually starting to get to know you past the cute clothes and eyeliner. You were starting to look less perfect to me and more real (and I mean that in the BEST way!). That’s probably why I even felt comfortable enough to share what I said. Now I feel like I totally screwed that up today and things are never going to be okay again and it’s all my fault. And you don’t even know yet that I suck at apologizing. (I mean I REALLY suck at it.) But you’re about to find out, unless I decide otherwise.
So I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m going to talk to my husband about it today and see what he says. I know I’m probably making a mountain out of a molehill to some extent. At least, I hope for all the world that I am. I hope you’re not that hurt or angry and this isn’t as exploded out as I’m making it. I really would like to keep getting to know you better. Even if we’re never the Best Of Friends, to have someone like you in my life that I have thought of as perfect but know of as real would be good for me.
So I’m just going to hope that God somehow infuses this situation with grace and works it out, whether by changing me or giving me grace to let go or I don’t know what. Whatever it takes.
That Girl That Said That Thing Today