Sunday, January 23, 2011

(The Absence of) Sunshine & Roses

Well's been a long time since I've really written much here. Mostly that's because of how busy I've been but it's also because I tend to get stuck when I'm struggling. It's hard for me to push aside the old adage, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." Struggling may be too strong of a word for my state of being lately anyway. I know I'm not really struggling in the sense that some people are. There are many things in my life for which I am extremely grateful.

Still, my bloggy friend, Rachel kind of hit the nail on the head for me in her post (written a while back) called, "Life is Messy." Boy isn't it! And Rachel's point is her post is that we all try to pretend that our lives aren't messy but that in so doing, we neglect to tell our true stories, to show the nitty gritty reality of who we really are. I think she's absolutely right but I also think it's hard to let that messiness show. At least it is for me.

In any case, here's my attempt at telling the sharing my messiness with others so that maybe {?} they will learn something from my journey here.

So what is the truth? One place so start is that it's not all glory - I love my child but being a mommy is not all sunshine and roses. There are times when I really question myself as a mom, especially now that our son is a walking, talking toddler. I used to think I knew what I was doing with children...until I had a child! Now I just think parenting is a much harder job than you can ever really prepare yourself for. There are good days and bad days and there are many beautiful moments along the way but being a good mom (what is a good mom, anyway?} is hard work!

And...while being a "good mom" is one of the very most important things I do, it is only one of the things I do. Some days the stress of keeping it all together (even when I'm not keeping it all together) is simply overwhelming. Our house is often a mess, our dogs need more attention than they get, there is a garage full of clutter attached to our house, there are so many red blinking lights on my never-ending to-do list that sometimes the best I can do is to allow myself to take a nap. Now there you go, that's messy...but it is my truth.

Then there's money and our stress surrounding the current lack of it in our lives. This past year, having no more loan money for the completion of my education and no consistent income on my part. Well, it's been hard. There have been several times when I wasn't sure if we would make it through. But we always do make it, largely because my parents have helped us tremendously when it comes to making ends meet. But that's messy! I'm a 35 year old woman who is still in college and still relying on her parents to help meet expenses. As thankful as I am for their unending support, borrowing from them the way we've had to doesn't make me feel good. It makes me feel like a heel.

Speaking of that education I mentioned is taking FOR.EVER! I know I only have a few more months to go until I graduate and I know that time will FLY by but I have been at my whits end with this chapter of my life for longer than I can even say. I don't regret making the decision to go back to school and become a teacher, I think that's a good fit for me. But I also didn't imagine it taking this long or being this expensive, this draining for us. We are tough and we are sticking it out but Michael and I have both been pretty extensively stressed this past year and it's largely due to the fact that I'm still in school and I don't contribute enough to our financial house. I am exhausted just thinking about all the hurdles we've had to overcome. It seems there's always something unexpected that crops up and throws a wrench in things. And messy? What about the job market out there? As much as I can't wait to graduate, I'm terrified to be a job hunter in this climate. There simply isn't much out there when it comes to the teaching field in my state, and we're not in a position to consider moving. It's really alarming to consider the what-ifs in case I can't find a job. I really can't even go there at this point.

Lastly (for this post anyway) there is my relentless and exhausting yearning for more. More what, you ask? Well...more children, of course. I know that with the current state of things in our household I really have no business even thinking about adding to our family at this point. I know that in my brain but try telling that to my heart. I've had several stern conversations with her and she just keeps right on with her unreasonable demands. And what is it with human desire? Why do we always want more than we have? A big part of me feels guilty for even longing for another child. For years I prayed and begged God that if he would only give me ONE child, I would be eternally happy. Plus, I know firsthand how hard it is to not have any children and be wanting them. From that position, it is almost unbearable to hear someone say they want another child, to hear someone complaining about that. And yet, here I am wanting more...talking about wanting more. The truth is though, that I can't deny that part of myself. I DO want more. I have always wanted kids (plural) and I want our son to be a brother. Honestly, right now, I'm just not sure where it all fits. My desires pitted against our reality. Unfortunately, reality wins hands down (for now) but that doesn't change how I really feel in my heart of hearts. It doesn't make all the announcements of "seconds" from the families of children who are exactly (or close to) our son's age any easier to read/hear. I'm not bitter in any way, I am very thankful for what we do have; however, there is a part of me that still does (and probably always will) resent the people out there who can just get a whim to have a baby one day and then they are pregnant the following weekend. Not that I'm even wanting pregnancy, don't misunderstand...but I do want to have a bigger family and it is not going to be an easy process by any stretch of the imagination.



Ashley said...

Very honest post. Thanks for your transparency, mama. It's hard when you're in a valley to taste the joy at the top of the mountain but hang in there!

Richele said...

Oh, it IS all so messy, isn't it?

As for the daily stuff, I try to look around and love the mess because it means we're having fun. Or avoiding disaster.

The emotional stuff? The real-life stuff? That's a little harder. I tend to keep a bit quieter about that.

I loved this post, Melba - and you're doing a great job handling it ALL!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear from you! Even if it is a bit *messy.* This post made me cry a little bit. It makes me really wish we lived closer so, instead of a nap, we could just have coffee.

Your struggles are your own. Just because someone else has more outwardly obvious struggles, doesn't diminish what you are going through.

It is hard to be a mom. Its hard to be a mom when it is the ONLY thing you are doing. It is severely compounded by being pulled in 100 different directions.

And don't even get me started on the toddler bad days. I KNOW I have an exceptionally well behaved (albeit willful) kiddo. But it is still difficult once they are full fledged opinionated individuals.

Maybe we should both go starbucks and skype? :)

Hugs, Melba! Something'll give soon!

Geochick said...

Just a few more months to graduation! Hopefully that means a jobby-job too. Hang in there.

Mrs H said...

I got nothing. Hang in there!

LOVE the picture of mr squels of laughter laid out in the snow!

Lane said...

Thanks for your honest post. I do think we all benefit when people are more open and honest, but it's so hard to do. Trying to seem perfect only adds more stress. Hang in there, hoping the time until graduation flies by, you find a great job, and you are re-energized and ready to go for #2!

Anonymous said...

I SO hear you. I often feel guilty for griping when I waited for SO long to be a mommy, but now I've gotten to the point where I'm just proud of us if we don't exceed our budget for one month. Plus the terrible two's have hit our house like a bomb. A whiny "eh eh eh" child has replaced her followed by me saying "use your words". I've been feeling even more guilty becuase I've been mulling over a mom's morning out program at a local church so I have some time to do things like work out, get my hair cut, go to the supermarket quickly, and finally have a little time to myself. Sigh, it is hard. I guess being a parent in general is hard. We are also thinking we'd like to add a sibling and wondering how we'll afford it. Since it's not like just doing the deed will get the job done.

rlvd said...

you don't have to justify yourself to me! thanks so much for sharing in open messiness :) makes me feel better knowing i'm not the only one who's got lots on her plate and isn't always best at handling it all. i hear ya too on your heart wanting another child soon, would that quite work?? hugs

Mrs.Q said...

I love your posts, and it is so refreashing when you read the truth from people. Mommy-hood is awesome, but it's not what defines you. as for wanting More, i totally agree with you, and there is nothing wrong with wanting more. More for yourself and your child.

hope548 said...

I'm sorry that life has been dishing out an extra dose of difficult lately.

I always worry more about my parenting skills when life gets crazy. When I'm stressed, I have less patience and just go through the motions sometimes. I think I also had this picture of what life would be like once I finally had a child (all sunshine and roses), but it's just as real as it was before and not always easy.

I'm not telling you anything except that I understand and I hope things get a lot easier for you all soon!

joyce said...

wow! i feel like you've read my mind. no one ever tells you the nitty gritty of motherhood. it can be really messy. some days are down right hard. i've been unemployed for 12+ months which has worked in my favor in allowing me to stay at home with sammy but not so much in the financial contribution. i get unemployment but it's not the same as a salary. and we're already talking about a sibling for sammy in the next two years, but that can't realistically happen until i'm employed again. i feel a little guilty for wanting to adopt again too and even more so because our wait was relatively short.

hang in there. once school is finished you'll have a little more room to breathe!

Anonymous said...

Well, even if the job market is tight in your state, the world will always need teachers! The last part of a degree can feel like forever but go you for hanging on through new motherhood! As far as a second child goes, even though many people do have another one right away I think that if you wait until you are graduated with a job you'll find that you have more cash flow to adopt again and C will still be a toddler, it's not like you'll be spacing them 5 years apart. But I hear you--after you experience the miracle of adoption it's hard not to want to do it again right away!

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you re money, parenthood, stressors, etc. I found the transition to parenthood jarring and shocking... then discovering Boy's issues on top of it has almost crushed my spirit. I don't have crying jags anymore, but I still get caught unaware sometimes.

And yet I can't hardly wait for #2. Truth be told, if Boy hadn't been dealt the crappy hand he has, we'd have recertified before the end of last year and we'd be paper pregnant again already. Alas, it has to wait until the end of this calendar year when we reassess where we are and where Boy is with his therapies.

Hang in there... it will all level out. Sorry I've been MIA so long.


redgirl said...

i was blog hoppn and hopped in here. i too worry about if im being a good parent. there never seems to be enough time in the day. i just make sure i tell them every day i love them and then pray for help to make it thru the next day.

Holly said...

Life is definitely messy, sister!! I have seen some of the struggles you and M have faced in the last year and I truly admire your perseverance and determination to keep on keeping on.

Your words are often a great comfort to me and I never really stopped to think how hard things truly are for you.

Hang in there, it will all work out and I have faith (of course, today is a good day, but faith nonetheless) that there will be many cousins with which to form a kid's table at family get-togethers!

Much love and hugs your way!!