If I say "I'm tired" one more time I'm going to slam my head into a wall. And if anyone knows me, hitting my head is almost one of the very worst thing that could happen to anyone around me, because it makes me instantly angry and it's always... ALWAYS someone else's fault.
I'm not even really tired half of the times I say it, but I don't know what I am, therefore it covers it. It's like those times when you're not actually hungry, but you keep snacking. You're really board or anxious. Or dehydrated. Do you realize you often confuse being hungry with actually being thirsty! We are such crazy creatures!!
We've been doing a lot since the last time I posted. But mostly, my silence isn't due to busyness or lack of. It's not from demanding children or crazy schedules. In fact, most of that is pretty much in the normal range around here. Well, except my newly 3 year old deciding to bring out all the rebellion that comes with this age. That's been really fun the last month!!
I could tell you I've been busy, but really, it's been completely manageable.
Not very overwhelmed either.
Nope, none of those are the "issue" here. It appears to be. I sure look like a maniac from time to time, but I usually save that for my poor husband to try and decode.
Here's what it is... the real truth behind what I label as overwhelmed, tired, busy, or even just in need of a break.
The average member creates pure beauty in every craft, home schools, has time to read, sews, dinner is always fabulous as well as her hair, and takes the kids to story time, gymnastics, swimming, football, baseball, and probably even skydiving classes! Every special occasion has a perfectly themed party to celebrate it. Not to mention she has an immaculate and fully pinterest decorated home on a very frugal budget that she always stays within. They always have the best tips and advice and do their own research for pretty much everything.
Members must breastfeed their children, make their own baby food, use cloth diapers, find the perfect stance on the vaccine issue, wear their babies, NEVER have too much TV, eat all organic (grown in your perfect garden out back is best) and have the perfect discipline habits that never include spanking.
The elite members blog multiple times a week and are on their way to publishing a book... and it may not be their first one to be published, it just depends on how long they have been a mom.
If you don't believe me, publicly begin to discuss your personal parenting style in these areas. I promise you will hesitate to share in several of these areas. Not because you have nothing to say or have not figured out what works for your family, but because it doesn't line up with the "mom culture".
I'm not saying that if you do some of these things you're part of the problem, not by any means!! I'm simply stating that those so "into" the mom culture tend to be noticed. Somehow, out of all the moms in the United States, these "mom-culture members" seem to stand out so much that we've begun to believe as a whole that this is what a mom should really look like. THIS is the answer.
The problem is the rest of us moms out here. Watching. Reading. Listening. Trying.
We have forgotten that the average mom is just that. Average.
The "Average mom" member will pin a million things on pinterest and maybe try 10% of them. Even then, half turn out to be pintrocities instead. We burn dinner on a regular basis, and a few nights a week we don't even make dinner. We just throw something together and call it a meal. We take time to do the fun things with our children and we have learned to figure out what will work best for them and us. We've learned 15 different 5 minute buns or braids, or we've cut our hair way shorter then we wanted it because we know if we are not up before the children, our hair will not be done that day. And really, how many of us are up before the children intentionally!
And when I am trying to accomplish something, my children are sure to put an end to that. Simply making me more frustrated because my type A personality "needs" to finish it. There are no stopping points. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop writing this post this afternoon. You can probably tell by where the transitions are choppy or a sudden paragraph that doesn't quite fit in the area it's been placed! And then I'm more frustrated at my lack of attention and gentleness towards my toddler who just wants a simple snack. It's not my 1 year olds fault she woke up from her nap 10 minutes before it would have been convenient. It baffles me how these mom culutre members get anything done over and above the typical mom tasks. I wonder where their children are when they are blogging or decorating their house or creating beautiful artworks or sewing quilts, or maybe they just don't sleep?!! Their children are certainly not half naked in front of the TV shoving Oreos in their mouth as mine are when I'm simply trying to clean the bathrooms.
As the average mom, we get through and we enjoy being a mom. We love our children with overflowing hearts. We get tired and warn out, but it's not truly, deeply because of our responsibilities as much as it is the expectations over and above our responsibilities that we have put on ourselves.
And nothing.... not one thing we have done, hits the mark at the end of the day. We simply think, well, we are all still alive. I must not have screwed up that bad today.
But why?? Because we are saturated with mom-culture. It's like teen girls that are so saturated with what media says is beautiful. They don't realize how beautiful they really are. They don't see the virtue in purity or a gentle spirit. They are too overwhelmed with seeing the things that they are not constantly flashed before them.
This is how mom culture works.
I read these two quotes on a blog today, which is what finally inspired me to get around to writing some of my thoughts on the topic....
"And if they're tired [moms], they're weak. If they're anxious, they're unspiritual. If they fail, they're unworthy.
While a "good" mom may do a lot for her kids, a "great" mom understands all that Jesus has done for her. Her mothering flows from there, even if the dishwasher doesn't get emptied that day."
Reading it made me tear up. I want to see myself as beautiful even in the mess, but all I see is a weak, unspiritual and unworthy mom.
I'm not tired, I'm just tired of feeling like a failure if I raised my voice out of emotion when my children were not misbehaving all that much.
I stare down the barrel of my newly 3 year olds newly acquired behaviors and see how fast they frustrate me, and I only feel more heavy at the thought of a whole year dealing with this and watching myself over react every. single. time. Why do I forget to give myself the benefit of the doubt. We have figured out each stage so far, of course we will figure out how to best handle this one, and even our failed attempts will only grow us in wisdom. I forget because I see how much mom-culture has it together. It's a mirror to my failings.
When I am full of despair and frustration at the end of a day, it's almost never because of my children. It's because of me. Because I expect myself to compare to the moms of mom culture. To the the blogs and books and skills of the moms plastered everywhere. When I say I am tired, I'm really just upset at my failures. And when I realize I'm just being too harsh on myself and expecting too much, I then feel the failure of falling short of seeking God's approval over mom-culture's.
Yes, sometimes I'm genuinely tired. And yes, my children do genuinely frustrate me at times. Sometimes over and over and over in a day. I'll gladly admit that one. But how I catch myself reacting frustrates me even more.
But most of the time, I'm simply another victim of another day of mom-culture saturation.
The worst part is, we moms need each other. We need support. Comfort. Advice. Adult conversation!! Oh that coveted adult conversation!! But we become so saturated with expectations we are afraid to admit how we have been doing things, even if they have been working. We'd rather have the "right" answer for each other then what we've figured out worked best for us, or at least got us through. Because, lets face it, we moms know exactly how things "should" have been done, we've all tried to fit that mold and make it work for us at least once.
So yes, mom-culture has been in my way. Keeping me silent simply because life has been full lately, and I've felt mostly failure at all of it. I want to name the heaviness of failure by what it is. I'm not tired. I'm not overwhelmed. I am not anxious or too busy or frustrated. It happens, yes, but that's not what I am most of the time.
I am heavy with feelings of failing my children. My husband. My family. Myself. My Savior.
I cannot be this mom.
My three daughters deserve an example that cares more about God's approval for my life then mom-cultures unspoken and unrealistic expectations. Not that doing crafts or taking my children to story time is bad, but I don't want them to grow up believing a moms role is to strive the hardest you can at absolutely everything and beat yourself up when you fail. They will have enough pressure from society to be that kind of mom already. I pray I can be the mom that helps them see past that through my example of seeking God's guidance, wisdom and discernment, and most of all, His approval for how I have mothered my children.