Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mommy Meltdown

This weekend, Mommy had a meltdown.

Not in any obvious sense - I wasn't screaming and yelling (this time!) - but there was a slow internal decomposition, until I ultimately found myself curled up in a ball on my bed, crying. Being a mommy is such a role of absolute, total servitude. Very few thanks. Very few acknowledgements of all the little things you do. Very little (if any at this point) understanding by your children of how much you sacrifice to help them grow up well. Not quite enough comprehension by my husband of how utterly exhausting it can be. And this year, not even a mother's day card to boot.

I was feeling very sorry for myself. Why, oh why does my husband get to play badminton at a party while I nurse a baby, fix a boo-boo, cajole a 3 year old into eating more than cake for dinner, then try to eat my own dinner with one hand, while the other hand bounces a tired baby on my knee? Will I ever get to leave the house alone again, without wondering if said house will still be standing upon my return? Will I ever have time for just me? Why does my husband get a nap when I'm the one that's up at the crack of dawn with the baby? Why, oh why am I the one doing all the sacrificing around here?

So I found myself calling out to God, a little belatedly I must admit. And he had a surprising revelation for me. I didn't hear His spirit whispering "I'll fix it" or "Your husband needs to change" or any such thing. Instead, I felt the Spirit saying. . . STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM!

Excuse me?

That wasn't what I expected. What, God didn't want to join into my pity party? Guess not . . .I think He just wanted me to face up to my problems and do something about them. Take action and stop whining. So, I started by telling my husband that I felt overwhelmed. That set off a chain of events which included him suggesting that we get a babysitter next weekend. Then instead of walking and jostling and rocking the baby till he fell asleep, only to have him awaken five minutes later, screaming - I decided to have a quiet sleepy time routine, and then put him down. After one long 2-3 am hour, he gave in and fell asleep on his own. Today has been much more peaceful as far as sleeping goes. AND, I started planning activities to keep my 3 year old busy and away from boredom. So today, while she was at a playdate, I actually sat down and wrote in my journal for the first time since the baby was born!

Not that everything is all better, or that I will never feel sorry for myself again. But to give myself some grace, it WAS a busy weekend including one birthday party and two separate extended family visits over three days. Lots to do on top of the normal chaos. BUT, perhaps next time, I will take control of my problems and find a way to take care of ME while I take care of everyone else. After all, I too am a member of this family :)

Stinky Feet

From as early as I can remember, I have not liked feet. Don't want to look at them. Don't want them touching me. Don't want me touching them. Feet get too stinky in the wintertime while being crammed into socks and shoes nonstop... and too dirty in the summer with all their newfound exposure to the elements. Quite frankly, feet are often stinky, ragged, calloused, and bunioned, with toenails that are too long and scraggly. Now I know I sound phobic, and really I'm not, but I just cannot fathom doing the job of a pedicurist!

So I found it oddly amusing the other day to find myself with my daughter's feet in the sink, washing them by hand. For about the fifth time this week. Now, I usually find my daughter's 3 year old feet cute, but since summer is upon us, she has taken to running around either barefoot or in her favorite cheap-o Old Navy flip-flops. AND, she loves to play in the dirt, digging for "juicy, juicy worms". So they were pretty yucky, not to mention the crusted-in dirt under and around her toenails. And the grass stains covering the bottoms. And the potential for worm gunk to be on them! ICK!! However, because of my love for her, here I was, washing them, not even thinking about the yuckiness of it. And doing it gladly!

I got to thinking. About how Jesus washed the disciples feet. That story in scripture always kind of made me a little grossed out - the idea of cleaning a man's feet who had been walking in dirty sandals all day. But while washing my daughter's feet it occurred to me - this is not an act of painful duty for me, this is an act of love and service. Likewise, I don't think Jesus thought too much about what He was doing for them. He saw a need and stepped in to fill it. And that's what you do for someone you love. Wow.

Thank you Jesus, first of all, for being the ultimate example of true servanthood. I figure if Jesus can wash feet, so can I, literally and metaphorically. . . even with my disgust for all things podiatric (is that even a word?)! And most of all, thank you Jesus for washing my feet . . . and for washing me clean inside. I can't believe that you would want to serve someone like me, but I guess you really do love us that much.

Thursday, May 10, 2007