Saturday, July 21, 2012

The agony of defeat

No, this blog post has nothing to do with sports despite the title I've given this post.

It is more reflective of my feelings at the moment.

I have not blogged in awhile.  Part of that is because we have been very busy making memories throughout this summer....memories with family, enjoying friends, celebrating birthdays, holidays, etc.  It has been very fun and active and busy and herein lies the problem:

I am worn out.  Frustrated.  Unfortunately, embarrassingly, -but honestly - not enjoying some of the memory making.  Weary and  feeling guilty and angry and defeated all at once.

I want to be clear here - I am so, so thankful for the time and opportunity to be home with my kids.  To celebrate special occasions with family.  To have my in-laws here at our home for a visit. They are blessed times, and I thank God for them. 

But I have also found myself dissolving in tears at many moments throughout the last few weeks, and I am not a crier.  Looking at my husband with wide, frightened eyes and saying the words "I. am. losing. it...."  And truly, feeling like I am going to lose it.  Like I want to get in the car by myself and drive far, far away for awhile.

I know what part of the problem is.  I have - AGAIN - been having sleep issues with Chloe that I am at a loss as to how to solve.  Third time mom...and I cannot solve this.  There have been strings of days where I am up every hour or two throughout the night with her.  And so I wake in the morning wondering how I am going to make it through the day.  And yes, I have prayed about it, and yes, by God's grace somehow I do make it through the day.  But do I make it through the day "well"?  Am I the kind of mother I want to be that day?  No.  I don't have the energy to play.  I hide out in my room during Chloe's nap and let the other two kids watch hours of TV.  I throw together lame, half-processed dinners.  I am not fun to be around.  And this is what leaves me feeling so defeated.  I don't want to live in survival mode.  I want to thrive!  I want to have something to give.  And some days - I just don't.  I. just. don't. :(  It makes me sad just thinking that thought.

I also feel defeated because the beginning of the summer was truly wonderful.  We had so much fun as a family.  Everyone was in a positive frame of mind.  And then slowly it changed.  My now three year old is becoming - well, a three year old - with all the "fun" behavior issues that age seems to entail.  She is really fun and sweet and cute - and then she is NOT.  Then there is hitting and screaming and meanness and blatant disobedience.  There are behavior issues I am having with her that I have never had with Audrey or Carter (well, at least not at this level of intensity!)  And I am so tired that it is really hard for me to be consistent.  And then I am disciplining in anger, and that never seems to be very productive.

Having all 3 kids home also tries my patience and my need for quiet and aloneness.  You can ask my mom, I have always been someone who needs my alone time.  And now even "quiet time" around here is punctuated by requests for drinks, snacks, "can I get out this toy?" {yes}, "can I watch TV?"{for the umpteenth time, no}.  Perhaps I need to have more clear boundaries in different situations.  I am thinking about how to change that.  I am also thinking about how I can enforce more quiet in the day for all of us.

Many people are able to send their kids to summer camp for a "break".  I am not able to do that financially.  This didn't really bother me....but then I started thinking, feeling guilty that my kids are "deprived" of the opportunity to go.  Even though not a one of them asks to go to camp, or even wants to!  I start questioning myself as a mother.  Am I giving them all the opportunities they should have?  When I take a big step back, I know that my kids are fine, and that they live fun and well-rounded lives.  I have realized that I am making the mistake of listening to the wrong voice in my head, the one that is condemning, the one that makes comparisons that need not be made.  I need to tune that out and focus on what GOD has to say to me about my children and what they need.  I was really doing well with listening to God about how to disciple my kids towards the beginning of the summer, but now?  Not so much.  I am working on that too. 

I have hesitated to blog because I don't want my blog to be a place of complaining and whining....but I guess I feel like sometimes we need to be honest and write about the reality of life as a parent.  It is not all hugs and sweetness and dandelion bouquets, although there are many of those moments as well.  But it is also hard work that God has called us to that sometimes stretches us to our limits.  The other day I read in Jesus Calling a little snippet that reminded me that all we need to do is whisper His name, "Jesus," and He is right there with us.  I have been whispering His name a lot lately.  Truly needing to know that He is with me in the difficult moments.  And that I can do all things through Him, who strengthens me.

I also know that I have been so busy with traveling and company and birthdays (we have 2 of those in July in our house, plus a variety of extended family with June/July birthdays as well).  Consequently, I have not had the time with God that I want to have.  Early in the summer I was getting up early, before the kids, and going out on our deck with coffee and my Bible.  It was such a refreshing way to start my day.  So peaceful.  But that has gone by the wayside as I have tried to get every last moment of sleep that I can.  (And the kids started getting up earlier and earlier as the summer went on....ugh.  I'm just not ready to get up at 6am to "beat" them at getting up!)  But I need to step away from facebook and the TV and use my down time seeking out God's wisdom for me and our family.  Because, if you haven't picked up on this yet, I desperately need Him. :)

So that is what has been going on with me.  I promise that my next post will not be such a downer (not to mention that I have about 50 bazillion pictures of all the summer time birthdays and celebrations and such that I should post....)  But I feel like we all as parents need to know that we are not alone in our struggles.  So I will share about them here....for better or worse.  Just keeping it real, folks. :)


Jennifer said...

Oh, Amy! You KNOW we've all been there and back many times;) And somehow, lack of sleep makes everything so much worse than it is. I had the privilege of working under some awesome houseparents (as a relief houseparent at a foster-care type facility). One rule they had was the kids were not allowed out of their rooms until a set time in the morning. I have since adopted this with my daughter. She knows she is not allowed out of her room before 8:00 (which is a reasonable time for her schedule). She plays or reads until the appointed time, then she comes in to me:) It assures me that I can sleep in until then, too! I can remember going through sleeping issues with mine, too - too much noise, too little noise (sound machine), too hot/cold, too much light/not enough light, etc. etc. Seemed like about every 6 months it would change.
If you have someone you can "use" - send the kids to someone's house so that you can have some time at home to catch up. I know that's tough with 3 kids, but find something that works - it's important.
You're a great MOM: your kids love you, you're providing a stable, healthy, Christ-centered home for them. Wonder Woman was fiction;)
Don't beat yourself up over it - we all want to thrive, but, for short periods, sometimes surviving is all you've got. This too shall pass:) Praying for you!

nateandkatesmom said...

I'm sorry you are having a rough time. I remember those sleepless nights, and I felt rather un-pleasant as well. We've all been there. Wish I could help you with the sleeping issue. I think you are on the right track trying to get your quiet time in devotion back. I have been really stressed out lately for various reasons and I know my patience has been thin, so I am trying to do the same. Fortunately with my kids being older and more independent, I am able to get a bit of time, when they play outside, or have their reading time. Guess that helps me keep my sanity. Although I am at work is not always a welcome break dealing with clients. Just think....a few more weeks till school starts. Hopefully Chloe will still take afternoon naps and you will get your quiet time. Let me know if I can help out at all. I don't mind looking after the kids when everyone is out in the afternoons if you need a little extra time!