|My glamorous life: laundry and a couple of kids|
Monday, July 15, 2013
It ain't easy
Christopher has been doing really, really well during his first few weeks home. He is happy, getting used to his siblings and his new home, and exploring everything. He is trying new foods, sleeping a bit better, and is getting ready to take his first steps.
I, on the other hand, am having a hard time.
No one said having 5 kids would be easy, and it sure isn't.
I had forgotten how having a baby slows everything down. I feel weighed down by exhaustion from not sleeping at night, and very literally by the almost 20 pound boy I carry around with me. It is hard to get much done in the house or with homeschooling because Christopher needs a lot of attention, and this leads me to frustration.
I am never good with transitions. The beginnings of new phases of my life -- new jobs, new schools, new relationships -- are always hard for me. It takes time for me to get my bearings and for me to figure out how to do my best in any given situation while also taking care of my own needs. Right now, I am worn out - I've been trying to do it all and have been neglecting myself. I am a little sick and a little weary.
I write this not to complain, but to keep it real. I often hear from kind people that I am amazing and patient and a good mom, but I am no supermom. Strangers, especially, seem to say this when they see me at the grocery store or at Target with 4 or 5 kids. But I am no different from my friends with 1, 2 or 3 kids. I get tired and frustrated and I long for just an hour of peace. I want to sleep late, drink my coffee in silence, and just have things be easy. Right now just walking across the room is hard, with Christopher clinging to my feet and crying, my toddler vying for attention, and the other kids requesting things left and right.
But, I also know that easy is not what I want for my life. There is something more that we are all made for. Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying myself and getting a little pampering now and then. Believe me, I am not some type-A, workaholic, running around following a schedule or a to-do list.
But, I think we are all given passions or "callings" -- something we are meant to do while we are here on earth -- and those plans are seldom easy. They are meant to push us, to cause us to grow, and often that isn't comfortable.
For years, I yearned and prayed to know my life's purpose. In college, it seemed that most of my friends knew what they wanted to do with their lives. I had no idea. I tried to act passionately about medicine (yes, I was pre-med! how funny to think about that now!) or about television production (equally funny), or later about academics and teaching. But, it always felt phony and I often ran out of drive and determination to follow through on these career paths. I think this was because my passion was not genuine, but I was doing what I thought was most impressive or would make me the happiest. And it never worked.
When I least expected it, I found my passion in mothering. While this is not a 'career' as such, it is my life's work. I know this in my core, in a way I had hoped to find years before. And, just like many of the career paths I sought, this path is not easy. In fact, nothing rewarding ever is.
I know this is my purpose, at least my purpose for this time of my life, because even when things get tough, I still want to do it.
Even in the trenches, I still believe that what I am doing is valuable and that there is no one who can do it -- i.e. mother my kids -- like me.
Even when I am feeling very sorry for myself as I wade through piles of laundry, endless dishes, and get yet another meal prepared, I can somehow hold on to the bigger vision.
And, although I am grumpy and overwhelmed right now, I am still utterly grateful.