Friday, February 7, 2014

I'm Not Enough

My middle child woke me up this morning at 6:45 with an incessant chant of, "Mom... Mom... Mom..."  (You get the idea).
The problem?
Once I roused myself and stumbled to their room, I asked him what he needed.
"Mom, sissy told me to 'shhhh'."
"Yes, she should have. You woke up the whole house."  By that point he had woken up the whole house, as the baby of the family was then crying as well.

Me?  I wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep the rest of the day away, hoping for the best. Of course I didn't.  I made breakfast for three people incapable to getting their own food, changed diapers, wiped mouths and hands, and set up a Praise Baby dvd before I could manage to empty my own bladder.

I'm in the fatiguing years right now.
I put in 13-hour days, but I'm still on call through the night.
I play counselor, teacher, referee, nurse, cook, launder, maid, and I work from home (which basically means I work part-time without having childcare to help me).
Days pass when I've heard "Mom?" one too many times, when the "why's" far outweigh the "thank-you's," and when the needs overwhelm the sufficiency of my heart.

If this post is starting to sound like a pity-party, I apologize.  The truth is, I do often feel sorry for myself. I analyze my situation and ask myself, "What about me? What about my dreams and goals? Is this really what I wanted my life to look like?"

Well, at least she has time to write.  True.  I make time for it because my sanity seems to dictate I do so.  But in the course of this blog thus far I've had to get up to break up a fight, discipline a child, change a poopy diapers, save my one-year-old from falling off a picnic table, and now he is climbing over my desk as I try to type.

And despite it all, I feel completely incompetent.  I try to be consistent, but doing so would require me to do nothing but put out fires all day and address attitudes and discipline behavior.  My kids rarely go on autopilot.

So, at the end of the day, I am left feeling unappreciated, squeezed dry, and guilty that I just didn't have what it took.  I have been teaching the same lessons for 5 years now, and I'm wondering if any of it is sticking... if any of it makes a difference.  For that's what I crave... to make a mark, a mark that will last.  And right now I'm caught in this repetitive cycle of doing and saying the same thing being met with blank stares or outward defiance.  After the kids are tucked in, prayers said, songs sung, my mind projects the question, "Was it enough?"  because it never seems enough.

Resentment starts to creep in, as I feel like I'm wasting my time. And inefficiency is high on my list of irritants. This isn't a task I can accomplish.  This is a long-term goal with no guarantees.

Obviously, I'm not the first person to write about motherhood burnout.  In fact, I'd dare say hundreds of thousands of blogs have addressed this issue.  My words aren't going to be particularly new or insightful.  But as I contemplate my situation and the struggle of raising kids, I wonder if God experiences some of the same frustrations.

Without a doubt, he doesn't need us for appreciation, love, or fulfillment.  He knows our hearts and the outcome of our choices and although our disobedience saddens him, it neither surprises him or drains his energies.  He's used to hearing us chant, "Why?" "...but why?"  "Why?"  He's accustomed to doing for us what we'll never thank or even acknowledge.  How often have I helped a child paint a picture or build a tower to later hear the child exclaim to my husband, "Daddy, look what I did?"  Do we not do the same?

Every gift, every job, every ability, every breath, every muscle, every brain synapse is a gift from Him.  But somehow we've masked the true Creator and boasted, "Look at me!"

This whole vent is a little like a Psalm to me, starting off with a whine and complaint and ending with a little perspective.  I know most of my thoughts revolve around me, myself, and I.  I often feel weary as a parent; perhaps He does too (just not in the same human co-dependent way we do).  Whatever I endure as a parent, He endures more.

I was reading Psalm 106 last night and I was struck again by God's unfailing love and over-extending mercy. It's remarkable! Despite all the times I just don't get it, won't listen, keep asking why, and outright defy Him, He longs to show me mercy.  He longs to draw me close in love.

Many times he delivered them,
    but they were bent on rebellion
    and they wasted away in their sin.
44 Yet he took note of their distress
    when he heard their cry;
45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
    and out of his great love he relented.
46 He caused all who held them captive
    to show them mercy.
47 Save us, Lord our God,
    and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.
48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
Let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 106)

So when I feel exasperated by a child's flippant "sorry" and wonder will they ever care? I can come back to my heart and marvel at His forgiveness and love that goes on and on... without fatigue. And as my children look to me for their needs, so do I need to look to Him for all strength, wisdom and courage.  I can't do it on my own, nor does He expect me too.  And as I really ingrain that truth in my attitude, I hope to impart it to my kids.  "See, Mommy needs Jesus too.  I can't be good without Him."  Without Him, I'm not enough.

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