Monday, November 17, 2014

Parenting: Embrace the Suck!

Now before you judge the title.....hear me out and hopefully be encouraged in the process......

Every afternoon my intentions start out well.  "Let's clean up your toys, because daddy will be home soon."  It's my way of respecting home as a sacred space.  I want our home to be inviting to Dave, because he works hard.  In all honesty his commute sucks.  There isn't a sugar coated way to say it.  We chose to live here because we can live a much more frugal lifestyle if we live further away from his job. He did that so we could sacrifice me to be home more right now.  Yes, I still work from home now, but it is in a much smaller capacity than I was doing before we moved to the suburbs.  So I want to honor that.  He works long days and drives long hours.  I want the man to be able to come home to some peace and calm away from chaos.

Nevertheless,  my intentions are good, and Abbie is getting pretty good at listening when it is time to pick up toys, but Alex.....not so much.  I can't blame him.  He is after all a baby, but boy can that kid scream.  Supper is his finest hour.  At that point of the day he is flat out done and often times our supper is spent void of words and surrounded by echoing walls of Alex's pterodactyl cry.  It's awesome.  Like so awesome I wanna never forget this awesome....NOT!

Dave and I have both felt since almost the day we found out we were expecting Alex, that God has been stretching our faith in learning to be joyful and content no matter what.  It's a good lesson, but wow it's a hard one.  We've been learning to let go more, laugh more, and live more.

Last week, Dave arrived home from work to the typical pterodactyl screams.  I tried to muster up a smile, which I know matter how hard I try, it's fake.  I glanced up at him in the doorway and probably yelled "Hi!  How was your day?" (insert fake smile here).  He sat down to dinner with us and somewhere between squawking, squeaking Alex, and probably some spilled milk, we both ended up laughing.  Laughter caused by Dave looking up at me and saying/yelling in between screams, something about parenting and how you just have to "Embrace the Suck!"

Forgive me if I offend anyone here, I am not trying to do so, but I could not have said it better myself!

Somewhere in between rose colored glasses and overly cynical is reality.  Why don't we talk about our real?  Do I desire to be pessimistic?  No.  Should I be?  No.  God's word tells us to be content in ALL things so no matter how hard things are....I still have to find a way to "embrace the suck."

I struggle a lot with how much to share of my real.  Will it help someone if I share it?  Is it just me complaining?  Is it me being honest?  I don't want to hide it, but I don't want to be too pessimistic either.  I also know that hiding and pretending never brings growth.  Hiding always makes me feel alone.  Every time I share "real" I hear echos of "me too."  And in those echos of "me too's" comes unity.  Comes growth.  Comes spurring on.  Comes a whole bunch of mamas hearts who are tired and empty and just need strength to get through this day and then more strength to get through tomorrow.

Before I became a mom I had prepared myself for no sleep, and crying.  I was very unprepared for the amount of selflessness that this career path would require.

In fact I think the only things I ever actually heard from people were:  "breastfeeding is so natural!" (not even in the least for me for child #1), and "being a mom is the most amazing job in the world!" (translation to the non-mom yet-  We will get to play pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo and we will snuggle for hours and read stories and bake cookies together! (Does anyone else read that in a Buddy the Elf voice :)....

Reality check-  No one ever told me I would have to wipe one child's butt while breastfeeding the other, clean up vomit covered sheets multiple times at 3AM, stay up all night worry about a baby with a fever that is really high and won't go down, get a million clogged milk ducts from breastfeeding, get mastitis, have a baby who cries for no reason after all obvious needs have been met, lay my baby down in his bed crying because I have reached my limit and need to walk away before I make irrational choices, clean up splatters of God only knows what off of my kitchen floor, never have a free moment to myself anymore, never take a shower without someone interrupting me anymore, hide a secret stash of chocolate, or clean caked out peas out of a babies hair.....and the list goes on...and on....

Why don't we talk about real?  I don't want to scare future moms, but I don't want them to have too high of expectations like me.  I want the moms in the trenches now to know they aren't alone, and I don't want to be alone .....either.

Motherhood can be so lonely sometimes.  Staring at the same walls all day.  No other adults in your home to talk to.  Clean up mess after mess.  Some days hitting the repeat button on timeouts....All.  Day.  Long.   It's exhausting.  It's mind numbing.  It's sacrifice.  Again and again and again.  There is no doubt about it.  When I spend all day doing all the things I would rather not be doing, it is only when I lift my eyes up, that I remember what a small sacrifice this actually is.  My Heavenly Father loved me so much that He died for me.....Died!!  And here I am complaining about spit up covered clothes, diaper blow outs, and mastitis.  His sacrifice makes mine pale in comparison, and so, I press on.  His sacrifice reminds me everyday that what I do really and truly is a real life example to my family of what He chose to do for me on that cross.

A book I have been reading called Sacred Marriage, dares to ask the question "What if the purpose of marriage is to make us more holy than happy?"  I truly believe that is the purpose of all of this.....God's intent in my life is not to make me's to change my heart to look more like His.  I am not a wife to be "happy," or in a (fill in the blank)________________career to be "happy."  I am not a mom to be "happy"....No.  He is using each and every part of my life to refine me daily to become more every pea crusted hair by pea crusted hair that I clean, and blowout diaper change I make.....He's refining me.  Peeling back layer after layer and allowing me to become more Holy in the sacrifices He has asked of me.

I challenge you to be real with others.  Don't paint a photo-shopped picture of yourself for others to's just a mask.  There is a real person behind that mask who needs to know she is not alone in this crazy mom life.  Let God refine you through that life, and "embrace the suck" of the beauty that is being a  mom!

My current real:
Nap time is over and I am bribing the little one with crackers and the older one with cartoons trying to finish writing this.

Real mom life :)

Better run.  It's 4:30PM and the pterodactyl cries.....