This 'mama-gig' ain't for sissies is it?
Some days I feel like I'm in the right rhythm.. and we're all dancing in sunbeams and laughter.
Some days it feels like I've fallen right off the track and been run over by a hoard of zombies.
But you know, after almost four years of being a mama so far... I'm starting to discover what my biggest struggle is.
Not the pregnancy-go-pukey rides.
Not the breastfeeding-why-is-baby-screaming nights.
Not the sleepless stupor I still seem to exist in.
Not the potty-training-guantlet.
Not the tantrum-testing-throw downs to deal with.
Confession: my biggest struggle in parenting is me.
More specifically it's called the self-pity vortex.
Self-pity is a merciless beast.
A selfish, self-centered, Eeyore party for one.. and the cake is made of poop.
I've seen it raise it's ugly head throughout my life, sure... since I'm human and all.
But I've never experienced it's full choke hold so powerfully as when I'm mothering.
Because mothering in so many ways - is all about 'losing yourself'. Your wants, your needs, your desires take the back-burner to the wants/needs/desires of these lil' people that now carry your heart in their hands.
Some days you just want to yank that heart back.
Just a little 'me' time, you say.
Today was one of those days.
The kids had co-conspired to take separate sleep shifts/whine+wail shifts so that I could grasp no moment of reprieve. No indulgent moment of napping.. or 'me' time.
Mentally crumpling up my 'to-do-lists' which makes the day feel like a unproductive waste.
Thus, the self-pity vortex started spinning.
My teeth started gritting.
My words started spitting.
My thoughts started festering:
"Why am I stuck here (ouch!).. doing alllll the work (not true!)... never getting a break (lies!).. and what's the quickest way to post my kids for FREE on Kijiji??! (exaggeration)"!
Um, yeah, self-pity tends toward hyperbole... in that all things are SO extreme.. and that NO ONE else can know what you're feeling/facing right now... boo hoo hoo.
No matter how enticing these pity-parties seem to be at first, they always end in the gutter.
I'm a misery. My kids see my at my worst.
(Oh, and let's not forget the extra round of guilt for being such a 'bad mother' that gives me a bonus spin cycle in the self-pity vortex).
So, here I am at my seeming 'worst' - that point where I start to convince myself no other Mom must feel this wildness of "I'm going to eat my own young" animal kingdom wildness - and I'm feeling pretty broken.
The kind of broken that produces the truest prayers.
"God, I'm a wreck here".
"God, I'm sick of wasting my time, and energy on self-pity"
"Teach me grace, teach me love, teach me gratitude".
Much like this incredibly practical book I'm reading states:
"God's love rescues us from self-love so that we will be able to love others".
Because in the end, self-pity is the deranged sister of self-love.
It keeps our focus inward... all about ME... and what I want from my life.
Motherhood is a call to selfless love that rises above our own navel gazing.
A love that gives and lifts and restores and teaches and builds into the lives of others.
God knows I need His grace to live that out each day.
Now, when I feel the self-pity vortex starting to spin... I fight back.
Don't waste my time.
Don't waste my love.
Keep me grateful.
Keep me grace-full.
Each day as mothers we are living out a legacy.
Will our kids remember us as resenting what they 'took' from us.. or remember us for rejoicing over what we gave to them?
Still learning here,
mama Mel ;o)