Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Margin

I'm overwhelmed today. The house is a wreck. I have a fever again and my axillary lymph nodes are huge. Mastitis again? Maybe. It seems like as soon as I think I'm getting my mojo back I get sick. Grrr.

I'm beginning to see the wisdom in what my homebirth friends do. Their midwife makes them stay in bed for the first three days. Then they can get up briefly for the next 2 wks. But mostly they are to eat and nurse. And that's it.

Maybe I should have done that. And maybe I wouldn't be so tired two months later. Because right now I just want to crawl in bed (if I can scale the piles of clothes in my bedroom floor) for a day or two.

But I felt like I had to bounce back from birth/surgery like it never happened. Because it's what people expect of me. I'm the one who's supposed to have it all together, right? I feel like if I admit that I'm drowning it will mean that I was a moron. That the people who told me that I am crazy and can't really mother all these kids well were right. That I've bitten off far more than I can chew.

But does it really mean that? Or does it mean that for this season I need some help?

A problem I'm finding is that people have more good intentions than they do time. And by "people" I mean myself as well. I intend to have a clean house and do all sorts of awesome things with the kids. I intend to do amazing crafts and cook all natural foods and sew a ton of neato clothes for them. I intend to teach my kids to be servants by helping others in our church.

But I don't have time to do all the things I want to do. Is it because instead of looking to the Father and obeying, I have looked at all the things others do and assumed that to be a good Christian mom I must do them too? Is it because I've looked at the world and adopted their standards for my kids' needs (sports, instruments, activities)? Is it because I have mistaken folks' online identities for reality? (Because it's easy to look shiny perfect on the internet). I think I need more margin.

I need to have a schedule that doesn't have us running 24 hrs a day. I need free time so I can respond to the Holy Spirit's leading and help others, whether it's by babysitting or cooking or running a few errands for someone else. When I am doing so much stuff (even good stuff) that I cannot help someone out, I am not where God wants me to be.

We do far less in our family than many others do. Partly because we have a lot of kids, and partly by design. I want my kids to see that margin is not optional. It is necessary. There are so many good things we could be doing. But when I start seeing people as distractions, instead of my purpose, something has to change.

7 comments:

Amber Rain said...

My dear Tamara. My heart goes out to you, because I was in the place you are just little more than a year ago. And I felt that everyone was right and I couldn't do this Christian mom thing well, and I had failed and couldn't do it all anymore. Our marriage nearly failed because of it and my grades at school were going into the D range which I'd never in my life had, my house was wrecked and my health was just awful awful awful. And worse, I was badly out of touch with God and missing seeing the hearts of my children. My life spinned horribly out of control. I can testify now though that God has brought me into a place of peace and recognizing that I need to be where the Father is and stop looking at everything everyone else is doing, because even though they are uber productive, it doesn't mean they are where the Father is either. I pray that you will have the chance to just sit at the Father's feet and find out where He is so you can follow and have peace. And my offer for Sunday still stands. :)

Tamara said...

I'd love to take you up on the Sunday offer. I need help decluttering and making things easier to keep clean.

stephanie rollins said...

one of my besties is one of those "perfect mom" types, and I tell you, its a struggle sometimes to figure out what type of mom called ME to be without comparing myself to others. See, she was honest with me one day and confessed that she has screamed profanities at her girls when they were wearing her out one day. When she shared that with me, I was able to see beyond the veneer and realize that she was JUST as stressed as I was, she just did other stuff than I did. It made me feel like a GREAT mom, knowing I had never done that. On the other hand, for her, she feels like a great mom feeding her kids all organic.

For the record, anyone who spoke negatively about the number of kids you have has no right to speak into your parenting, so they can just bump a stump. I have another friend who just had her SECOND (and her older has no special needs) and is at the end of her rope on FB today, begging for some help. Would you tell her that its her own fault? So, why should you do it to yourself?

Ok, book over :) Open your curtains, get a hot chocolate, turn on some Star Wars (or Backyardigans) or both, and go into another room.

You got this, you just need a minute :)

MomBrose said...

I love what Ruth Hamilton wrote about this:
"Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth, Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

sophiaofthrace said...

Um, yes, I do think it means that right now you could use some help. Expecting mommies to just bounce back is a recent cultural thing, most likely associated with women working more outside the home. Women used to stay in the hospital longer, and in some cultures, they still stay home for 6 weeks and do little else than take care of baby.

I think God gives us babies that need to breastfeed often and sleep at different times so we get the message in our thick skulls that we need to take some time. And other women need to get a clue too. Our job is not to compare ourselves to others (and you're right, we don't know what really goes on in their homes), or to compare ourselves to others' expectations of us. We are called to be still sometimes. We are called to be Christ-like. That's a high standard. But the good news is, we don't have to do it by ourselves! We aren't supposed to be Supermoms. It's in our WEAKNESS, He is strong.

sophiaofthrace said...

And as far as "blaming" ourselves or letting others blame us for having a hard time dealing with all the responsibilities because WE decided to have children... it's HOGWASH! You didn't decide and make it so. You didn't grant life. God did. You were just the willing vessel for miracles.

Motherhood is one of the highest callings. It was Mary's calling. We have to remember that what is most important is not whether our kids master a musical instrument, or ace their tests, or get to see and experience all the best things, but whether we showed them Jesus and nurtured their faith. Nothing else really matters without that.

Jean said...

Oh honey....if I was closer I would give you that time to rest. I pray that someone brings you the gift of time and help, soon.