This may come as a surprise to most of you (especially my husband): I am not perfect. Compose yourself people, we have a blog to read here. Come to think of it, and to reiterate what has been stated in previous posts, I am not even strong. I cringe whenever someone tries to tell me otherwise. Strong? Hmph. Well, I guess by “strong” we are not talking in terms of Schwarzenegger or Tungsten (go ahead, “Google” it; I had to). Plainly put, I am a scattered-covered-smothered mess. These are the thoughts that run through my mind daily and were the yellow-brick road leading to my therapist’s office. Yep. Therapy (gulp). So, there you have it–I’ve invited one of my skeletons in my closet to come out for a dance. I hope you enjoy the show. From the beginning, I promised to be real no matter how unflattering things came to be. Well, folks. Things just got real.
I have good days. Bad days. And ugly ones, too. Most are ugly. I wish I could lie but what’s the point? My days are filled with aggravation, impatience, rudeness to my spouse and children, and an over-whelming sense of inadequacy as a Christian, a wife, and a mother. As my therapist would say, “tell me more about these feelings of inadequacy…”
Get ready to dance skeleton(s).
*AGGRAVATION: The simplest things rake my nerves. Making a meal-plan for the week – aggravated. The guy honking his car horn when he is three cars behind at a stop sign – aggravated. A dog who doesn’t want to go outside because there is snow on the ground but thinks it’s completely acceptable to take a poop in the living room in the five minutes I am upstairs brushing my teeth – extremely aggravated (breath, Amanda). Egh, I can’t even breath right because of this winter air – aggravated.
*IMPATIENCE: Patience is a virtue. A virtue which is completely devoid in my life these days. When I want things done, I want them done immediately, or better yet, before I have to ask (sorry, honey). I don’t care if you have worked hard all day, if you are only three years old, or whatever lingering excuse there may be. Patience, Amanda. Patience. You are to be humble, gentle, patient, and to do all things in love. All things. Not some. ALL.
*RUDENESS TO MY SPOUSE: Listen, like many of you, I am sure you think your partner hung the moon. Maybe they did. My partner, well, I would first question his said ability to hang the moon, refuse doing it myself, and then criticize him for doing it his own way. Yep…I’ve turned into “that wife.” You know, the one that complains…about everything. I don’t even like myself. I am so critical of this “new me.” I’ve openly discussed my awareness of this monster with my husband. I try to be nice. I pray about being nice constantly. “Today is going to be different,” I tell myself and it usually is, until my husband gets home. Why do I do this? Well, despite the earnestness of my plea to God to help me in this dilemma, do you know how He answered me? Well, He planted a group of women in my life who decided to read a book that I have been wanting to read, “The Power of a Praying Wife.” Stick with me here, I don’t want to scare you away with my “Jesus-Freak.” This isn’t a book on how prayer can change your life into it being what you want it to be. It is a book about changing your perception (which, honestly, I think many people could benefit from a small dose of “it ain’t about you, sweetheart”). Three words for everyone…male, female, Christian, atheist, Yankees fan, Red Sox fan: “Change me, Lord.” That’s right. Change “me.” Not “change my husband,”…CHANGE ME. This one hurt. It still does. I mean, let’s be honest, it is much easier to complain about the day-to-day when I can blame someone else for everything that is going on. As if this little but powerful phrase was not enough, the book also led me to Proverbs 21:19. As I looked it up in my bible, I had already highlighted this verse with the word “OUCH” written in all-caps in the margin. The verse reads, “It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and nagging woman.”
*RUDENESS TO MY CHILDREN: Oh, how I am embarrassed even to write anything in this section without fear that I will be reported and monitored by DCS. Simply put, parenthood (especially stay-at-home parenthood) can be the most-trying, brain-numbing, thankless job. Ironically, it’s filled with an abundance of love, complete fulfillment, and awe of #ourlittlehowards. I know it’s cliché but I am on this earth for the sole purpose of being Bleiler and Mac’s mother, leaving a legacy of Christian-children. They can be lawyers, doctors, garbage collectors, or janitors, it does not matter. What DOES matter is living a life that exceeds the expectations and explanations of this earthly prescence.
For those of you who know me, I have never struggled with feelings of inadequacy. I’ve been confident, willful, and determined for what seems to be my entire life. Well, that is until I hit my “I’m-an-educated-established-woman-in-my-30’s-but-people-only-see-me-as-a-SAHM” phase of life. The decision for me to stay at home came about after my husband deployed three weeks after our daughter was born. He returned home only to be gone before we woke up and returning home after we had already gone to bed. We are fortunate in that we could make this a “choice” as many families are not provided this opportunity. But it is with this “opportunity” that feelings of inadequateness settled in. Was society telling me this? Was I telling myself this? Thank God for Ricky recognizing these lies early and sharing with me a writing from Pope John Paul II:
It is a disservice not only to children but also to women and society itself when a woman is made to feel guilty for wanting to remain in the home and nurture and care for her children. It is also necessary to counter the misconception that the role of motherhood is oppressive to women and that a commitment to her family, particularly to her children, prevents a woman from reaching personal fulfillment and from having an influence in society. No response to women’s issues can ignore a woman’s role in the family or take lightly the fact that every new life is entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying it in her womb.
“Am I Christian Enough?” No. I will not claim to be well-versed in other religions but I am so grateful to have grace on my side. Nothing I can wrap my brain around is enough. Only by grace am I set free. Someone loves me unconditionally—despite my side of (hopefully, temporary) crazy.
“Am I a ‘good enough’ wife?” No. In ANY relationship that is important, we should not strive to be “good enough.” We should strive to be exempleraly. And in regards to “relationships that matter,” I am referring to EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH. Whether it be personally, on the phone, over email, passing in the street, whatever…when did it become acceptable to be curt? Uncaring? Uninvolved? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this whole mantra of “I’m not mean, I just tell things how they are,” has gone too far. A kind word, a smile, a helping hand, and love are all free. FREE. And in a world so accepting of handouts, why don’t we put some of these out in circulation?
“Am I a good enough mother?” Yes. As long as I let my children watch television non-stop. Let them eat candy for breakfast, drink juice all day, and never nap. Come on…kids are worse than stockholders in regards to getting what they want when they want it. I pray for my children daily. Not only for them to live healthy, happy, faith-filled lives, but for them to know how much I love them. For them to know I would step in front of a train for them. I would take their life-threatening disease from them. I would even eat their broccoli for them. Why? Because I’m their momma. And if I can do anything in their life to make it better or more enjoyable, I would (within reason).
The problem with “good enough” is this should never be the goal. If I were to be buried (which, I don’t want to be), my epitaph would read: “Forgiven Sinner. Rockin’ Wife. Wicked-Awesome Momma.”
Last week I was jolted by the phrase “there is purpose in the pain” not to be outone by today’s (not-so-gentle) reminder that there is joy in the journey. Noted. So…with that, I will resolve my aggravation, impatience, rudeness, and over-whelming sense of inadequacies. As my therapist gently reminds me, “it’s all true.” There is some truth to all these conflicting thoughts in my head and struggles within my heart…everything and everyone has its purpose.
Guys, I love you. I can assure you that I am not trying to gain any pity points here. Just trying to put pen to paper in regards to this cornucopia of emotional madness which is the battle of my head and heart. I’m not the only one in the trenches here. Beyond my family, there are many other families with many sick kiddos. I often wonder if there is enough prayer and love in this world. Luckily, I am reminded: Faith, hope, and love remain. The greatest, being love. I have faith things will get better; I just have to remind myself when doctors don’t have an answer much less a cure, God does. He knows and He heals (that’s why He is God). I have hope my son will be healed and look forward to his pre-destined life planned by God. And Love…love keeps me going. It keeps us all going. As a friend once told me, we don’t do it because it’s easy, we do it because of love.