Friday, December 10, 2010

Is Anybody Out There?: Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

I've had a rough day so far.  On the surface, it seems that the roughness is due to my kids' potty issues.  Last night, it was the middle-of-the-night call, beckoning me to the bathroom, where my daughter then decided that she didn't really need to go on the potty after all.  Then it was an early morning wake-up call as a very sorry child told me that he wet his bed.  There have been a couple of additional potty problems since we've all been awake...get out the wipes...sanitize the potties...clean up soiled children...start another load of laundry.  It's seems that it's those potty issues and the constant fighting.  Why do my children feel the need to question nearly every directive that comes out of my mouth?  Is it worth the energy to stick to my word?

I'm exhausted.  And I feel like there must be something terribly wrong with me.

Honestly, I think the main reason that I've been struggling with this stay-at-home mom gig is that it makes me feel truly incompetent, maybe more-so than anything else I've ever attempted.  Most times I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.  I'm fearful that I'm messing up the very thing where I invest most of my strength, emotion, and wisdom (that is, if I have any wisdom left!).

Sometimes, I feel alone in this problem that I have.  I read the books and blogs and facebook posts of moms who can work, go to the gym, put a fabulous dinner on the table, throw festive birthday parties, involve and lead church activities, volunteer at school, call friends with encouraging words, and provide a clean and loving home for the husband and multiple children.  I just can't keep up; I try, but I'm always coming up short.

Now I'm the one calling out, "Attention all Have-It-All-Together-Moms out there (if you really do exist). Please share your secrets with me!  Help me to know where I've gone wrong."

Why do we do this to each other...the pretending to have it all together?  When you look SO good, it makes me feel SO bad about myself.  And it makes me feel all alone in that badness.  Does anyone else feel the way that I do, or am I really the only one who can't seem to get things right?

Maybe one of the secrets is to revel in the small daily victories instead of wallowing in the defeats.  Maybe then I would be OK with my many mistakes and inadequacies.  Maybe then I would become the kind of mom that I aspire to be: gentle, patient, gracious, present.  Learning to celebrate the accomplishments of other moms, instead of using them as a measuring stick, would help too.

Until I am fully transformed in my thinking, I'll rely on my other coping mechanisms, some of which work quite well.  Lately, when the fearful and frustrated thoughts creep in, I remind myself to fight back with beauty:
gaze out the window, where the snow is falling all clean and quiet;
dance to that song that reminds me of a favorite time past;
breathe in the scent of the candle, smelling of fall and spice;
take in the words of an encouraging note or of Jesus;
savor the drawing or painting, bright with color;
drink in that full pot of flavorful (i.e. strong!) coffee;
create a new recipe or journal entry;
dream of a situation made right or a relationship reconciled;
thank a friend who's shared life with me;
study those children, who are small and needy today, but will be grown and gone all too soon.


  1. Love this post, Lori! Especially the reminder to take in beauty and that your kids are part of that. (They are SOOOOO beautiful!) I think that's a part of worshipping God.

  2. Well, we both know that I'm no mom. But I see myself in your writing, anyway. Amazing. The downtrodden feeling of not doing or being enough... not measuring up to our own aspirations: gentleness, patience, graciousness, presence (+a clean house and a put-together life as evidence of all of this). I don't know the answer. But your solution is one I like. This post reminds me of the book Stepping Heavenward, by Elisabeth Prentiss.