2/1/08

To Think or Not To Think

Warning: This is one of my "serious" posts. Don't read it if you're not in the mood.
I talk a good line. I keep writing posts about staying positive. Sometimes I feel like a huge hypocrite. Sometimes I really want to be a non-thinker. I want to simply live and breathe, hang out and think about a lot of unimportant things. I'm just not made that way. I think so hard about things and I really can't help it. I'm pretty jealous of people who just don't think. That's sounds a bit nutty, but I am. Nutty and jealous.
There are people who honestly don't give much thought to how well they're doing at things, or what they want for their lives. They just live. Maybe they miss out on things, or maybe they fall into good things despite never having thought about it. I know both kinds of people - those that think too much, like me. And those that just don't give a hoot about the state of the world, spirituality, perfectionism, or anything much else for that matter. I'm not saying these are bad people. Maybe they're on to something. It could be. Some may truly just trust that things will be okay, and they believe you just don't have to take life all that seriously. And others may really just be kind of cold and repressed, but I can't know that, so I probably shouldn't try to figure it out.
The problem is, I try to figure everything out. I think so hard sometimes I thinks me head might explode. This doesn't bode well for parenting.
Today I had a bit of a breakdown in front of... well, on Miles. Okay, maybe it was more than a mini-breakdown. Maybe I totally lost it and now I'm feeling pretty disgusted with me. I didn't hurt him, I hope that's obvious. But I probably did hurt his feelings. And I definitely scared him by really raising my voice. It wasn't pretty, I simply lost my cool, yelling for him to "STAY IN TIME OUT!!!" I know this might be normal for most sleep-deprived stay at home moms, but nothing feels normal when you think about it really hard. I think about how I don't want to be an unpredictable mom. I don't want my kids to have to guess which mom I'm going to be in a given moment. It's not healthy for them. I do expect more from myself. I am thankful that I can change it, work on it, and use it as a learning experience for both Miles and I. But I'm also just fresh from it and feeling pretty bad about it.
I'm not sure why I'm writing about this. Sometimes I just need to think it through and release it. It's pretty weird to have the knowledge that other people will read your thoughts, but I always have this hope that with honesty, another mom will be made to feel normal, and therefore able to forgive herself and start over...again.
I could make a million excuses for what led to my loss of control and explosive silliness. Like not sleeping and hearing the word "why" one too many times today. I could go on and on about how I'm struggling to rest, and find I can't even do it when my kids are sleeping. I could confess once again that I need to "let it go," and that I expect so much perfection from myself as a parent that I basically shut-down because I'm so overwhelmed. I could complain about my traveling husband and justify my attitudes and anger over and over. But that wouldn't change anything.
And the reality is, it's not bad every day. I can pull it together and stay positive part of the time, but I felt like I've been dishonest in a way with my posts in the past. Because the truth is, I can be pretty ugly. Impatient, negative, cranky... and that stinks because I swore I would not be one of those moms. I've often thought "well, why do you stay home if it sucks so much and it's so dang hard?" I had no idea. Sometimes working isn't an option, for one thing. Daycare is frickin' spendy. But mostly, even more than the practical things, staying home may be really hard, but it's also so miraculously good at the same time. Katie and I talked about that yesterday, it's like you say "this is so great, this so sucks," all in the same breath. It's confusing even for you. Because you wouldn't want to miss the moments you are getting to see and share with your kids. But the grass is always greener for moms. The working ones believe that the ones who stay at home have it best. They miss their kids so much, and have guilt about being away. And the at-home moms are pining for some time of their own, and feeling guilty for losing control sometimes. It wouldn't be this way if there weren't two very distinct sides to this mommy thing.
I keep finding out that it isn't just me that struggles so much. When it comes down to brass tacks, most moms are fighting this expectation of perfection alone, scared that if they admit things aren't always rosy within themselves and in the wall of their homes, it might mean they aren't a good mom. I know because I feel it too, this constant strain to try harder, with so little energy to make it a reality.
Ryan said that Miles needs to see human nature as it truly is, not a pretend thing, where mommy is always smiling while grinding her teeth and pulling her hair out. That would be pretty confusing too I suppose. And Miles and I did have a good talk about my anger, and in a two year old way I think he may have found a way to forgive me. He hugged me a long time and we cried together. I put it all in as simple of terms as I could, hoping that as we cried and prayed together, he'd see that people need help sometimes, even mommy. When I put him down for his nap, I was closing his door and he said "mommy, I'm getting stronger." Dear Lord! I have no idea where that came from, our little discussion did not get that deep. Maybe he was just talking about becoming a super-hero, I don't know. But his words hit me in the chest, and I had to bite back more tears. I guess he's right, but I sure wish it wasn't on account of me.
I'm going to try to refrain from too much guilt and shame for the rest of the day, but I can't promise I'll succeed. It may seem dramatic to say that, but it was pretty dramatic around here earlier. To avoid thinking about how I've got some trust-building to do with my son would be pretty ignorant. I've just written myself into something I needed to think about! If not for my "over-thinking," I wouldn't realize some pretty important things. I wouldn't worry too much about how my anger effects my kids and I'm really glad I know and want to do what's best for them. And if I weren't a thinker, I wouldn't have thought so much about God my entire life. And thinking about God has turned into learning about Him. If not for that, I wouldn't realize that I can change, even ever so slowly, into the mom I really want to be. Because of Him. No way, not because of me. I've tried, I'm really no good at controlling the universe, or even myself, all on my own.
Well, okay then. I'm done thinking really hard about this. It's time to move to the next moment. For now, I'm just going to breathe.

3 clicked right here to comment:

Sabrina said...

I don't have kids, and i can't imagine what you're going through... but i do know what it is like to be a thinker! always thinking thinking thinking! I wish i could be like those people you were talking about... how do they do it?
No one is perfect heather, that is why there is grace.
hope to see you soon! :)

k & k said...

Yikes...I'm one of those non-thinkers...but I think it is sometimes more about shedding shame and expecting endless grace than it is about the actual lack of thinking for me. Many things I can't give much thought to bc I have a very small attention span and also because I do what I can and let the big guy help me pick up the peices...showing me once again that He always will. And so I leap out in faith for the next whim. Sure I've gotten into a bind more than once live'n like this...the grass is not always greener, it's just a different variety! You are wise and well intentioned my dear friend.

Anonymous said...

This quote by the famous orator, Anonymous, comes to my mind. Maybe you can put it into yours:

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

.
.
.
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And then, of course, there are also these pearls of wisdom:

"When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they're finished, I climb out." ~Erma Bombeck

"Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain." ~Martin Mull

Big (((HUGS)))
xox, crock

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