I wouldn’t call myself a religious person, but I would say I’m spiritual. I believe things happen for a reason. I question if I’m on the right path in life. I listen to the whispering of my heart when I don’t know what to do. I seek purpose in my life. I believe in callings and direction in life.
I attended Ash Wednesday church with my family and I found myself feeling inspired by the message. Pastor Frank talked about being in the “Wilderness” (or a time of trial). I thought about my Wilderness … adjusting to being a stay at home mom. Many of you might be thinking “how is that a hard time? It sounds great not having to work.” I don’t want to sound ungrateful but let me tell you … it’s been an adjustment.
All of a sudden my day’s work goes almost un-noticed. I say that lightly knowing how important those diaper changes are! But when Doug comes home at night and the kitchen is cluttered, the living room is full of dirty burp rags and me sitting there he thinks “what the heck did you do all day? The house is a wreck!” And when he makes a comment I can’t help be think “while you sat at your office desk, drinking your free soda, typing on your computer and having adult conversations I was here getting spit up on, pooped on and trying to keep a four-year-old occupied.” I feel like I am constantly having to prove myself. Trying to be good enough in his eyes. I want to hear compliments and that I am a good mom, doing a great job and that my kids are lucky to have me. I want to feel like I am treasured for doing “woman’s work.”
Sure I could clean more during the day, spend less time on facebook, make more baby faces at the triplets – but I’m trying.
When Pastor Frank asked the congregation “who do you turn to for your self-worth?” it struck a chord with me. I have been measuring myself on Doug’s feedback. When you follow the equation: your performance + opinion of others = self-worth you will never measure up. I’ll never have the approval of everyone, even those who are supposed to love me most. Rather, we should follow: God’s grace + your faithful service = a worthy life. In other words, stop caring so much about what others think of you – just focus on doing God’s work. Focus on living a worthy life rather than one that is appreciated.
Who cares if I get a thank you for ironing shirts. Who cares if he doesn’t understand how stressful my day really was. Who cares if I end up feeding all three kids by myself while rubbing Jaden’s feet to the sound of Doug’s snores. I’m serving my life’s treasures. I’m caring for my kids and my life has purpose. If I listen closely to that whisper I can hear my calling. I am a mom.
I think I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to be a mom. The first time, with Jaden, I only had myself to count on. My family was there, but I knew in my heart that feeding and caring for him was my sole responsibility. When these triplets were coming, I was thinking that I’d have someone to share the work with. I’d have someone else who is as equally as invested as I am.
Let me interject with the fact that Doug is a great dad. He loves the boys and he wants only the best for them. But what I’ve learned is that a mother’s love is different. I thought I’d have two people who loved my kids like I do. He does things differently, has different priorities. It broke my heart to feel alone in this. Broke my heart when he didn’t want to help me more. When I heard more critiques than offerings to help.
I needed to refocus. What did I want to use my energy on, the kids or getting Doug to notice that I was doing a good job? There wasn’t time to do both. I chose the boys. I chose to hold my head high and do what I thought was best. If I am looking for help and don’t get it, I don’t get mad. I say “well looks like I’m going to be on my own … so let’s get on with my bad self!”
My calling. My dream. His dream for me. Just as I have hopes and dreams for my boys, someone has hopes and dreams for me. Who can deny that having spontaneous triplets is a knock on my door? He believes in me so why don’t I believe in myself?
When I’m changing diapers while someone (who shall remain nameless) sleeps on the couch – I repeat “I”m doing God’s work.” When the babies cry at 4am and I only went to bed an hour ago after feeding all three kids and comforting an itchy Jaden, I get up and repeat “I’m doing God’s work.”
That sounds a heck of a lot better than “why is my husband sleeping?” “Gee I really wish I had some help!” or “I was counting on you and you let me down!” It echoes purpose and value. God’s work.
My life is hard but I refuse to complain. It has purpose. My life has meaning and for that I’m thankful.
Mel, you’re amazing and your perspective is enlightening! Don’t feel that you have to always judge yourself through someone else’s eyes – you are more special and important than you know, and your wonderful family is so lucky to have you!
Here’s a quote that always makes me think of you (I saw it in one of my Mom’s Chicken Soup books): “Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.”
This is such a beautiful post. I wrote about this topic a few weeks ago (Feb. 28) and it’s so nice to hear this side of the story shed in such a positive light!
I love this post. You’re inspired me to have a new attitude towards my husband’s ‘laziness’ although we just have one baby, it’s a tiring job…and it’s really difficult to see my husband taking a nap when I know I so deserve one. I am turning over a new leaf and picking up your attitude that being a mom and working woman is my calling from God, so I best do it to the best of my ability. Thanks for this post!