The timing could not be better. Really. I am averaging about two to three breakdowns a week. I think that qualifies for "desperate".
The kids seem to be not able to move, much less play, if they are not right next to me. When they do attempt to play... arguing, bickering, whining, and tears are too soon to follow. I hear myself saying the same things over and over and seriously, I am tired of saying them.
I step into the bathroom to pee. I start to think a thought of my own and within five seconds, someone is knocking on the door. "Mommy...? Are you in there? (knock, knock, knock, pound, pound, pound.) Mommy? Mommy?" "Y-E-S-S-S-S!" "I am in here, trying to pee... for just two minutes," is most often my response. Pause. Fingers slide under the door. I think about stepping on them and refrain from the evil! Pause. "Can I come in?"
"N-N-N-O-O-O!" "I want to pee alone." "Please." "Just TWO MINUTES!"
I walked in from church today. My purse still on my arm and only three feet in the door... and it started... "Can you work on the paper with me, can you run with me, will you be the coach, can we watch a movie, can you put another game on my player, what is for dinner, can you... can you... can we... can we...?"
I breath slowly. Pause. I release breath slowly from my lips and respond, "I am not even in the house yet... can you all just wait a moment before you attack me with requests?"
Most of the time I fall into thinking I am just a horrible mother who wants to hide from her kids in the closet. I mean, I occasionally read blogs where moms think it is amazing to spend every waking moment engaged with their kids. They think it is simply adorable that their kids color on the walls and leave mud hand prints everywhere. They plan their entire lives around their kid's activities, play dates, sports activities, practices, over nights, youth events, and volunteering in their classrooms. They eat their fast food dinner in the SUV at 9 p.m. many nights as they go from here to there and from there to here again. And they think it is great.
Every birthday party is the grandest of affairs with party favors that would make Martha Stewart spitting mad with jealousy and decorations that people might even pay to see. And they invite ALL 25 kids in the class. And their parents!
They make snacks daily that look like this...
Don't get me wrong. I love to bring delight and whimsy to the snack table ON OCCASION but not DAILY.
And they photograph themselves smiling all the time in the middle of messes saying how happy they are to be lying in the living room floor in the middle of smashed cheerios and legos and laundry. And I really think they mean it. I mean, I have no reason to think they don't.
I am like a deer in the headlights.
That is not great in my book.
That is a 3-D nightmare.
I feel itchy all over just thinking about they way my 4 year old's room looks and smells half the time. I do not find it cute or delight in the baby-ness of him still sleeping in pullups and smelling like urine every morning. I actually am WAY over it. Way. Over it.
THAT is why I look at those blogs only once every 6 months instead of weekly. I AM NOT THAT KIND OF MOM.
I like some order. I like some balance. I like some cleanliness. Notice I said some. I am far from a neat freak and my house is lived in. But we windex hand prints instead of framing them and we pick up toys instead of living on top of them. I like kids who are learning independence at an age appropriate time. I like free time... where there is no place to be at a certain time. I like margin and flexibility. And I like kids being free to be kids.
I very recently told my husband that I actually think we have done some sort of disservice to our kids as we do things together as a family ALL THE TIME. They have no idea how to be alone. I ask them to go play and they look at me like I have just banished them to Siberia for the winter months! My four year old actually cries. And then there is silence. I will go and take a peak into his room and he will just be sitting there... doing nothing.
We play games as a family at least 4 to 5 times a week. We go on family hikes. We play wii bowling together as a family. We go to Stone Mountain. We travel. We go to the movies. We go to restaurants. We go to my daughter's basketball games. We go to my other daughter's Spirit nights. We worship together. We eat EVERY dinner meal together at the TABLE. (sans husband when he is on a trip) We craft together, make jewelry, cards, pictures. We go to the bookstore together. We go to the library together. We do devotions together. We pray together. ALL. THE. TIME. And much more.
So when I ask them to go play... they are like deer in the headlights. And if there is a moment free... they are asking how it can be filled. And I can't take it anymore.
Balance. We need balance. I need balance.
MANY of the things we do are WONDERFUL and I LOVE that we are a family that does things together. But not at the expense of little to no time alone, little to no time alone with my husband, and kids having no idea to occupy themselves.
I have been trying to think of things that can change. Things to pull back, things to keep, things to start. Because something has to change. I am fried. Cooked. Salted and peppered. DONE.
SO... there is this book... HA HA! I have not read it, obviously. It is being released today. Desperate, by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. I met both of these precious and lovely women at the Allume conference. I was struck deeply with Sally Clarkson's love for Sarah Mae. Sally saw Sarah Mae at a conference in the past. She saw her pouring out to everyone and everything. Then she saw her standing off to the side, alone. Sally went over and asked, "Who pours into you?" I guess Sarah Mae's answer may have been, "I don't know," or dare I even suggest, "No one." Whatever her response, Sally Clarkson said, "I want to pour into you."
Can you imagine? Can you imagine the gift and holy blessing of a wonderful, loving, godly woman coming up to you and asking to pour themselves into you? Offering to love you, mentor you, hold you, wipe your tears, make you laugh, listen to your disappointments and fears, never judge, offer support and advice and steer you to the living God... to the throne of Jesus?
Wow. I sinned. Right there. Jealousy swept over me and I whined inside, "I want a Sally Clarkson!"
So both of these women have joined their hearts, their love, and their passion for moms and have written this book. From the website:
Desperate is for those who love their children to the depths of their souls but who have also curled up under their covers, fighting back tears, and begging God for help. It’s for those who have ever wondered what happened to all their ideals for what having children would be like. For those who have ever felt like all the “experts” have clearly never had a child like theirs. For those who have prayed for a mentor. For those who ever felt lost and alone in motherhood.
I am ordering it. TODAY!
Are you a tired mother? Do you have feelings that you dare not share? Do you look in the mirror and wish you had not just yelled at your fighting kids? Do you feel alone? Do you wish you could just pee alone?
You can order a copy of this book HERE.And if you order one or more copies this week, there are gifts! What mom would not like a little gift to arrive with a book full of hope?
The fact is, we are not alone. My guess is there are probably a fair number of moms out there who relate to daily frustrations and challenges in parenting and in trying to balance a very busy life. There are probably more moms than me who are not rolling in fields of motherly bliss all the time.
So if you are one of those moms or you know one of those moms... share the link for Desperate and let's read this book together!
Be blessed. Be encouraged.