It’s been YEARS since I have written. Literally. Years. Yeah, sorry about that. Not that I have some sort of following, but it would have been useful to document the good, bad, and ugly of the past three years. I pray that between the written journal entries I have managed to scribble and the mercy of God in heaven, that I will be able to somehow remedy that and have a perfect memory to take with me when I die. At least a perfect memory of all the good, cute things and lessons learned.
I see that my most recent post is the birth story of my first daughter Eleanor. Fast forward 3 years and I am nursing my 3rd daughter who is six weeks old. Here we all are. Oh how I love them!
Apparently I don’t care about my second daughter (poor middle child), since I have written nothing about her (her name is Wendy, by the way and she is hilarious), but I like to give myself a break and think that it’s because I care that I have not given the time nor the energy to write, at least in a blogging platform, about her? I mean, we’re barely living day to day, let alone writing about it. But it felt right to put some words on the screen – a sort of therapy if you will – so here I am.
So what even is this title all about? A “self-conscious stay-at-home mom?” We’ve all read the Facebook articles that circulate about how hard life is for all moms. And I agree that it is. We hear the working mom’s plea. We hear the SAHM’s woes (that’s the correct acronym, right? Took me forever to figure out what all those comment boards were talking about). I don’t pretend that my concerns are unique. I don’t think they’re controversial either. They’re just REAL and I wanted to write them down since I have a second to sit down and breathe. So here are my reasons, in no particular order, for why I feel like I am often (not always) a “self-conscious stay-at-home mom.”:
1.) Day to day, I don’t always love being a mother. I love the idea of it. I love the principles behind it. I believe in it. I truly think that being a mother is, for me, the most important thing that I could be doing, but I can’t tell you how many times I have heard myself sigh and say “I hate this” (“this” being breaking up another fight/tantrum, changing another nasty diaper, waking all night, folding mountains of laundry, disciplining, pressure to teach, getting them dressed, grocery shopping (!) – normal stuff). I’m a perfectionist, a “checklist” lover, which means that I think I chose a job that is a checklist lover’s nightmare. At least in my experience with motherhood, everything is cyclical and never really “checked off my list.” I should be loving this though, right? I can’t tell you the tears I have shed over children that have been abused or lost, amazing couples that struggle with fertility, friends that long for marriage and family but it hasn’t worked out – and here I am over here dreading the majority of the tasks that I do all day long in the job that many people would kill for. And I even get to be dedicated to this whole thing full time without having to support my family financially. On top of all of it, I live in a wealthy country in a little family that is making it by just great, who has all the modern conveniences imaginable (I had to hand wash all my clothes as a missionary in South America and I now bow down to those Paraguayan women and mothers!). So yes, even though these feelings are true, they happen, and I am self-conscious about that.
2.) I have FOMO. I get FOMO (fear of missing out) all. the. time. Not necessarily in the “I wish I could be in Thailand right now too” FOMO, though man, I wouldn’t mind. I think a time will come for more trips like that. It’s the kind of FOMO (which may or may not be the right term for this) that happens when I see a need that I want to fill and literally cannot help because my arms are full of my children. Children that I LOVE and know are my first priority. But oftentimes I feel worthless when I can’t help others. I sometimes question why God gave me desires to help, interests, and talents if I am not able to do anything about it. Helping makes me feel good. It just does. And I think it’s important. I really do. So situations like “Let me help you set up for the wedding” or “I’ll come pick up your kids so you can rest” or “I’ll work extra hours” or “Let me run to the store for you” or “I would love to teach that class” or “Let me clean up the huge mess we just made in your house” or “I can help you with moving this weekend” really get to me when I can’t fulfill a need the way that I want to. A lot of times, it’s just impossible. Times and seasons, of course. And when I really do want to help, I can, I just have to pay a babysitter $8-$10/hour or beg a family member. But even though this may seem ridiculous, I can’t help but feeling self-conscious about that.
3.) The neighbors sometimes hear me yell. I’m sure of it. Even though they are gracious enough never to admit it. “Sorry our screaming baby probably kept you awake all night!” “Two year olds, ya know?” “It feels like we are moving in slow motion!” They respond, “Oh I’ve never heard a thing from your house!” Bless them all. Really, I feel self-conscious because my actions speak louder than words and no one wants to feel fake. With all my heart, I believe in patience, kindness, and long-suffering, but my temper, sleep deprivation, or just a lack of self-control often gets the better of me. And I feel self-conscious about that.
4.) I don’t contribute directly to our family’s “bottom line.” Any remnant of paychecks ended last Friday when my boss at my work-from-home part time job asked how many hours/week I could dedicate this coming spring (our busy season). I told her 5-10 (though 10 felt like a stretch…) and she very kindly and with a great deal of understanding told me to let them know when I could dedicate more time since they were going to need more help than that (obviously). So that’s where the paychecks stop. And since I am a control freak who also manages the day-to-day purchases of our family, I now feel like a mooch who is draining the bank – more like a parasite than a contributor. These are all self-imposed feelings of course. Aaron has never once made me feel like I need to work to earn money. In fact, he has been doing both of our jobs lately since the new baby (she’s beautiful and her name is Ida) came. But “I am woman, hear me roar” right? I can do it all, right? No, I can’t. At least not me, not right now. And though I don’t think my hands could possibly be more full, I still feel self-conscious about that.
I gotta wrap this up because there is a mutiny upstairs where nap time has just ended, but writing this today has been good for me. I can already feel my tone, my tune, changing. Because deep down I know that my day-to-day is right for me. Boy does it need improvement! But we have our moments and we’re doing okay. And the last quality I want to teach my daughters is to doubt themselves or live feeling self-conscious about their lives (unless they make stupid decisions or something…then I hope they at least think twice), so I’d better knock it off.
Everyone has a different reality and I believe that God loves us and knows what he is doing which will not change whether I feel guilty about it or not. I can only help those in my sphere of influence, a sphere which right now is very full of an amazing husband and three beautiful daughters. I am grateful, but I am most self-conscious that I am not be grateful enough. Here’s to working towards replacing insecurity with gratitude!