Tis the season when we see many article decrying the way Mother's Day is handled, and how it hurts those who have lost children, who haven't been able to have children, and so forth. While I certainly can appreciate this and would hope that churches and other organizations could learn ways to somehow be more inclusive and less upsetting to these women, I have a few feelings about this myself.
For years I have attended a church that does nothing for Mother's Day. No mention. No carnations. No honoring. Nothing.
And you know what? It hurt.
I'm a mother of six children. I have busted my butt for over 20 years to do my job as a mother and do it well. I have sacrificed greatly in order to take care of my children in a way that seems right to me.
So now I'm supposed to feel bad if my church honors me in some way on Mother's Day? My church is supposed to feel bad if they want to honor moms and dads on their respective holidays? Does everyone else's loss negate my turn at having something?
And it's not just me that I'm talking about.
I think of my friends who planned carefully for the right time to have a baby, then lost their first baby to a miscarriage that rocked their world. These sweet and lovable people had pretty much everybody that knows them cheering them on as they finally did have a precious baby boy. I know I am not the only person at church that has cried a little while seeing this couple snuggle and love their little son. Other than myself, I can't think of a couple I was more excited to see have a baby. This woman deserves the fullness of her Mother's Day, not to have it quietly swept under the rug because someone else might be reminded of their pain.
Motherhood is part pain for all of us.
It may be a struggle to get or stay pregnant.
Many of us have lost babies to miscarriage and stillbirth and illnesses and accidents.
We all have pain to bring our children into the world, whether through our bodies or through even more difficult channels, such as adoption.
Many suffer to breastfeed, or to not, the sleepless nights, the broken hearts (both ours and our children's), the injuries, the hospitalizations, the difficult choices about their educational paths and their futures.
We. All. Have. Pain. related to our journey as women and mothers. Life is beautiful and life is painful. They go hand-in-hand.
Can we not celebrate and honor those that have something to celebrate and honor? Do those that have emerged from some pain to have children to show for it also have to give up having some special treatment because someone else is sad? Can we mothers not even have one stinking day a year where society says, "Way to go! We could not do it without you! You are so important to us!"without having someone else make us feel like we have to give something up for someone else?
Yes, I do think that there is a way to both honor mothers as well as not hurt those for whom motherhood is a painful subject. I'm just tired of seeing so much about Mother's Day turned into a focus that leaves out all the women who do have children.
Completely politically incorrect, I'm sure. For better or worse.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Sunday, May 05, 2013
I've been thinking lately about this strange and wonderful trip we call motherhood.
I don't have to list all of the ways that it has been wonderful. That much should be obvious.
The strange part is that I find myself looking around, 20 years into my motherhood journey, wondering where is the space for ME in my life.
There are 8 more years til my youngest is an official adult, and realistically there will be several more years beyond that where I will be needed as mom.
I look at the things I have spent my life doing for 20 years, and by and large it is all about my children (and husband, to a lesser degree). Yes, I've had my business ventures, and I'm thankful for that. But even business is largely impacted and constrained by motherhood and family priorities. The almost imperceptible growth is all about motherhood.
I know that some women manage to keep themselves in a starring role even while being a mother. I, however, have not.
I'm looking toward the next decade, both in anticipation of enjoying the final push of my mothering years with my children, but also wondering how I could better take care of myself and make space for myself to do some of the things that I would like to do. It has been so long since what I would like to do has even mattered, I'm not even sure what that is. I was watching a video with the kids today. It was about throwing pottery on a wheel. It looks so appealing, I found myself wondering if I could take a pottery class somewhere, and then of course How would I have time for this? and on and on with the regular objections that accompany all non-essential possibilities.
I have made a start. I booked a reservation to go away and visit with a friend. More daring: I have only met her in person once, and then have been facebook friends ever since. She is always posting interesting things and I found myself thinking that she would be a cool person to go hang out with. I told her so, she thought it was a great idea, and now here we are with a trip planned for the end of June.
I'm hoping to make myself more of a priority. I'm not sure that 30 years of living in mom-mode only is good for any of us.
And, yes, I realize that this is in contrast to my recent posts about wanting to take time to smell the roses with my kids, about my enthusiasm for upcoming homeschooling opportunities, and about my desire to pour out my best upon my family. That's the funny thing about motherhood. I love it deeply and fully, but I am also needing some space to fill myself back up so I can keep giving, and also so I am not overwhelmed by the demands and sometimes smothering aspects of constant service to others. I do not need a lot, but I do have needs. What can I say? I want more.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
I am looking forward to continuing to homeschool my boys. I have been reading The Writer's Jungle and am feeling very inspired.
Now that we have done one year of Challenge A, I feel like I have some better ideas of how to help my next Challenge A student do well with it.
I am dreaming and wishing to do so many things with them:
Art projects (I discovered while tutoring that I was actually capable of leading cool art projects and creating cool art! Now I'd really like to do more.)
Real music and art appreciation
Writing in many ways, using the Brave Writer ideas as well as some IEW methodology
Reading: Once we started with CC two years ago we stopped doing Sonlight. I miss the books and would like to get back to reading to them. There are some wonderful books that I read with my older kids but the youngers would not remember. Kildee House, Sign of the Beaver, and others keep calling to me.
Discussions: There are so many books that I would like to read through and discuss with my boys. I have The Fallacy Detective on the shelf (where it has been for years, unopened) and it seems like it would be interesting to work through with them. Devotionals, skills, ideas--they are all getting old enough to have some pretty cool conversations with. It's exciting!
Going places: We have a very energy efficient car that I can fit into with my four boys, so that makes going on interesting field trips less daunting. We haven't done much this past year for educational outings. I would like to revive that.
Better at CC stuff: I am understanding more ways to help us gain skills that we work on in CC and will help us in future endeavors. Blob mapping and better memorization skills will hopefully be coming up next year.
It is fun to think about all of the possibilities. I am hoping that I can map out a (somewhat) realistic plan that we can accomplish in the coming school year. And, heck--even if I only get some of the stuff done, it is fun to think about, some can spill over to the next year, and life will continue to take shape. It's all good stuff.
My Don't Hurry, Don't Worry day was a success.
I don't think I got to sit outside and enjoy the breeze, but everything else that I wished for did happen.
When was the last time I can remember doing almost everything on my To Do list? Too long ago to remember.
Several years ago I came up with this saying:
Don't worry, don't hurry.
I am hoping to live that today.
Yes, there is a lot to do, but it will all get done (or not) and life will go on.
I am going to
enjoy my kids
enjoy folding laundry
enjoy having some friends over for dinner
read some more of The Writer's Jungle (which is wonderful and inspiring)
take a shower and wash my hair and just enjoy it and not feel rushed about it
hand wash dishes (because the dishwasher has died) and just enjoy it
sit outside and feel the breeze on my skin (just did that last night and thought to myself that too often we discount the luxuries that nature provides!)
make homemade lasagne for dinner
do what I can and not worry about the rest.
It is going to be a beautiful day.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
I heard it again yesterday.
I was talking to a friend and we were discussing possible times to get together. "Friday is a possibility for me," I offered. She then launched into how crazy her Friday would be, since her two daughters would be attending their first prom. Hair, nails, makeup, and special dresses would be taking up most of her time and attention that day.
And then she said it: "I just wish it would all be over! I'm so busy! It's too much!"
I heard myself in that comment. I mentioned that to her, too. This thing that keeps happening to me, where life is going on in the form of birthdays, special events, holidays, concerts, games, and so on, and for some reason we keep finding ourselves feeling strung out, over-burdened, and too busy to be able to enjoy it.
We just want it over.
So we can get on with whatever all that other stuff is that isn't extra special.
I am wanting to find a way to make consistent space in my life for all of the special times. I am sick of feeling like I just want to get this over about so many things. My babies are growing up. One is already out flying in the world, and the second one just turned 17. The third one pointed out to me, just yesterday, that in a little over a year he'll be driving. Heck, my 5th kiddo was just asking me, "So in 4 years I'll be driving, right?" Um.....yes......
In the next 8 years I am going to have 5 children become adults. I am suddenly in the final stretch. I want it to count! I want to live it all and not be so often overwhelmed and unprepared and run down by the demands of life.
We only get to do this life once. I want to live mine well.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Today I successfully pulled on my Big Girl Pants and stood up for myself.
I mentioned how put-upon I've been feeling. Well, I had an "opportunity" to speak clearly about my needs in the situation.
It's funny how even when I'm being completely reasonable, it feels difficult to say no to someone.
Years ago I discovered a valuable thing: Bad behavior thrives in situations where everybody will pretend it doesn't exist. When you dare to call someone out on their bad behavior, so often they no longer have the balls to keep up with it.
I am wondering now if this put-upon thing is the same. If people ask me for stuff that I don't want to do/feels unreasonable/is just too much for me to take on, if I tell them straight-up my limitations or problems with their request, will they try harder next time to think before asking?
I have read that saying about how we teach people how to treat us. Obviously I have done a great job of teaching people that they can ask for anything without regard for anything else in my life. I can no longer give to that level. Time to teach a new lesson, I guess.
And I started today.
It's a little bit amazing, I think, that for so many years I have been learning the lesson that I can trust my gut, and yet I am still learning this lesson.
One might think that I would have arrived by now.
The one thing I can say for myself about this particular case, is that I knew it was happening, but I was afraid to fully trust my gut. I was so afraid and the stakes were so high that I kept going even though something inside of me said, "No! Something isn't right! Something doesn't make sense about this! This is not going to end well! You are going to get hurt!"
I have always tried to be a woman of conviction and a woman of my word. If I commit to something, by crackie I mean to stick with it! But this time it was almost as if I was having an out-of-body experience; an observer of myself.
On one side, everything seemed right. The situation. The prayer. The opportunity. The unity. The answers outside of me kept saying yes, Yes!, YES! It was as if a force was propelling us toward action.
Inside I felt alone with my questions and cautions and concerns. I felt like maybe my gut instincts were broken, because I seemed to be the only one that was feeling the No! Wait! Caution!
I don't know. Maybe it was all meant to be this way. After all, there was earnest prayer, open-minded seeking of counsel, agreement with our path even from those that we did not expect to receive it from. All of it brought us to today and to a strange and unexpected place.
Except that I knew.
I told my husband a few months ago that I felt something like this would happen. I predicted it right now to the month.
I was scared to follow my gut all the way.
I am a work in progress.
Monday, April 29, 2013
It must be obvious to everyone around me.
I have these people who don't hesitate to ask for more, impose, and smoosh themselves into the middle of my life without any regard for me or my life or my family.
always nibbling, biting, asking for more
And these aren't even the people that I'm actually responsible for!
For so long I have been in the habit of trying to be able to say yes, trying to accommodate, making a way to make others happy, finding a way to suck it up rather than tell someone else NO.
It's not good.
Something has to give, and it has to stop being me all the time.
New skills needed, pronto.
The children are leaving.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Way back in 2003 I wrote the Mothering Manifesto I have included below. It continues to beckon to me and be the cry of my heart. So much has happened, I feel pulled out to sea. The idea of being able to earnestly invest in my home and family, to the exclusion of everything else, sounds like an almost impossible dream.
As I examine my situation and the things I would like to disentangle myself from, but feel unable to part with, it always comes back to money. I do not quit my job because we need the income. I do not quit business ventures because we need the income and the potential they represent.
I do not know of any way out of this at this time. I must do my best to find contentment within my situation, and to be aware of the dead weight in my schedule that I could continue to purge. I do not know it will turn out or when I will make my way back to a more simplified life. I am reminded that everything is a trade-off. No job means less money, which means more work and more stress in other ways. Get a job means some measure of financial ease, but then life has to accommodate the never-ending responsibility of the employment.
Ah, well, this is life.
HOME should be the place where we love the most and love the best. Our FAMILY should get our best attention, love, support, and respect.
I want home to be the place we give our best. Our best love, our best energy, our best creativity, our best patience and attention. I want our home and family to be the recipient of my talents. I want to use my time wisely and pour out my BEST STUFF on my family and those I love in ways that will make a difference both in daily life and in the long run and in eternity. I want to drop the extra stuff and just concentrate on being the best I can be right here in my home and with my precious family.
What to do about the frustration of not being able to make very much progress? Well, let’s see….. Make a way! Be more creative. Ask hubby for help in figuring this out. Pray for the Lord to show me how I can improve. Stop telling myself that this is too hard. Start reminding myself of how much I LOVE MY FAMILY and then ACT on it! Turn my heart toward home!!