Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A True Confession

Want to hear a true confession of a FT SAHM? Lately I've been fighting burn-out. Yup, I said it. I write this after I spent the last 30 minutes cleaning up Coca-Cola all over my kitchen. It. Was. Everywhere. I mean everywhere. I had to get a chair to clean it off the wall, it was at least 6-feet up. It was on the kid's table, the big table, on the window, blinds, wall art, get the point. Owen had gotten into the pantry (like he so often does), however we rarely have soda in the house (I bought it for his birthday party on Sunday). So, I didn't think anything of it and put the box on the floor. Big mistake. Owen found it, stacked the cans on his table & Cole accidentally knocked it over and one burst open. Who knew 12 ounces was so much. When I go to drink one of those, 12 ounces doesn't seem to go far and I'm looking at the bottom of the can wondering where the rest of it is?

But seriously, I wonder how other full-time stay-at-home-moms (FT SAHMs) fight burn out? Or am I the only one? I can't imagine I'm the only one. But I feel guilty admitting this. I don't want anyone to think I don't love my children because I do. I just get tired of always cleaning up messes (which more times than not could've been prevented like this morning's incident), constantly refereeing fights and arguments, changing diapers or taking someone to the potty or having someone stare at me or flush the toilet as I potty, the yelling, whining, demanding, and constant reminders to use manners and speak politely, and some days not having Any adult interaction until my hubby gets home. I know this is what I signed up for when I chose to stay home full-time, I get it. But doesn't most everyone get a little tired of their job at some point?

Sometimes I think how great it would be to work and come home to a clean house because no one has been here all day to make a mess, to be able to afford someone to clean my house or do my yard, to be able to afford to have my car detailed (or even pay to go through the car wash....yes, that sounds ridiculous that I don't have money for a car wash, I probably do if I emptied my change cup but I choose to spend our "blow" money on other things like a quick meal when I'm having a long day or for other odds and ends that come up throughout the week). How nice it would be to only referee the kids for a few hours each day instead of 24/7. How nice it would be to have a haircut more than twice a year. Or to have a pedicure more often than just on special occasions. I know that haircuts and pedicures might go a little ways in helping me to fight burn-out but you see, just because we can "afford" for me to stay at home does not mean that we are rolling in the dough as some may assume. Those who "afford" for a spouse to stay at home full-time make big sacrifices financially. I'm not saying that we scrape by because we don't. But we do live on a strict cash budget. And by "cash" I mean no "financing" options nor credit cards nor any type of payments (except mortgage) in this household. I'm just trying to get my mind straight here. If anyone wants to share their burn-out protection suggestions, I'm all ears! And before anyone goes getting all judgmental on me here and says I need to make some time for myself before the kids get up in the morning (or after bedtime, get real here people), to do a workout or bible study, understand that this job is tiring. Sometimes more tiring than when I worked the night shift (and I am not a night person). I won't bore you with the details, but just know that having three children ages three-and-a-half and younger does not make for long restful nights of sleep. So being asked to get up at 5:00 to be up before everyone else and have time to workout, read, shower or do anything is asking a lot of an already sleep-deprived person.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not throwing a pity party for myself, I'm not asking for one of my overly-generous friends to take me for a pedicure, I'm just wondering how do I fight burn out and to stay in the right frame of mind for my children? I'll tell you what I've done so far. Pray. First, I give thanks for my healthy children. Children who are healthy enough to make messes and be healthy enough to fight over the same toy. I give thanks that I could afford to throw Owen a birthday pizza party with framily (family + friends who are family). I give thanks that there were leftover cokes so mommy can enjoy some caffeine later today :). I pray thanks that Cole is asking for his third helping of applesauce after his breakfast before I've had even a sip of water (or coffee) or a bite of my own breakfast. I pray thanks that we were able to budget for the boys to be in school two days a week for the summer so that I could get caught up on things around the house and schedule a yearly physical, eye exam, dental appointment, etc. Then I pray for a better attitude. I pray for my anger to quiet (as I scrub sticky soda off my baseboards). I pray for motivation to get back on track for the day. I pray for a refreshed spirit. I pray to be excited to spend these moments with my children. I pray to recognize the big picture, that in just a year, Cole will be in pre-K and I won't have him at home full-time anymore; that I recognize these moments are just that, moments and then the next stage of life begins. I pray to remember why I chose to be a full-time that I don't miss these moments. I missed Cole's first crawl because I was working and in school...nothing was worth missing that. Nothing. I chose to be a FT SAHM because my children are only this little once. And I can't get that time back. I love my "job" even though I don't like to call it that because in the grand scheme of life, it is WAY more enjoyable than just a "job." I. just. pray. I'm taking a lesson from what my children are being taught at church "I give thanks." And one of my favorite verses is from Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God..." It will all be ok!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dear Daughter

Genesis 3:16 "To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.""

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Dear Daughter,

I write this as you and Owen are snuggled next to each other in my bed, I love that he loves you so much. Cole would be right here with us too (well, on his own side of the bed with remote in hand watching cartoons) if he weren't still asleep in his own bed :) I write this on your 3-month birthday. I write this because the last 3 months have been many things from exciting to exhausting. From fulfilling to challenging. I write this because I love this story. I write this because I do not want to forget!

When we found out we were pregnant with you we were a bit surprised. After having dealt with Owen's colic for 7 months, I didn't feel I could handle another baby. But God knew otherwise and as always, had his own plan. In fact, just two weeks before making our family of 4 permanent (catch my drift, ha!?), we found out we were expecting you! What were we thinking trying to overpower God's plan? I am forever thankful His plan won out over ours!

Each of my pregnancies were a little different, but this time around the morning sickness was B-R-U-T-A-L...even landing me in the ER. And just to keep things interesting, I decided that I did not want to find out what we were having until you were born. It took some convincing for daddy to be on board with not finding out (he is a BIG planner, you know!). As I wrote in an earlier post, there was something romantic about NOT knowing the sex of our baby - something special about waiting 10 months and having that ONE moment in life where the doctor yells out "IT's A..."! He was on board! And maybe the wildest of my ideas was that I wanted to give unmedicated childbirth a fair shot. I'd had epidurals with the boys...Cole's delivery was uneventful but Owen's was a bit scary when my blood pressure dropped...Daddy was 100% on board with whatever I chose during labor & delivery...just the support I needed...but, eeek!

My labor & your delivery were so amazing. I do not want to ever forget. At my 38+ week appointment, measurements were way off (not unusual, we'd been through the same with the boys) and the ultrasound was not 100% reassuring, so our doctor sent me to be checked into L&D that night. And while I was induced (not really the decision I wanted but what was best), the remainder of L&D was unmedicated. I mean absolutely zero zip zilch pain medications. I had several ladies in my life who encouraged me & had suggested the Bradley Method, so we gave it a shot. Going from 1cm-7cm was "easy," relatively speaking. Don't get me wrong, it was a WORKOUT...staying focused - remember to belly breathe through contractions, focus on relaxing, allow daddy (aka coach) to talk me through contractions. As I got to 7cm, I knew it. I knew it because I whispered my safety word to coach...this was the word I chose to use if I got to the point I couldn't take the pain & wanted the epidural. Uncle. He ignored me, he knew I was SO close & I would regret opting out at this point. Oh words-I-can't-say-in-front-of-my-children! Going from 7-10cm hurt like I never imagined. There is about a 30-minute period that I don't remember and it's probably for the best. Coach referred to it as an 'exorcism!' Ha! I do know however that there were some bad words & that I was SO sore in my arms & back the next day (along with a bruised nose bridge...what was I doing?? Ha!). I remember as I reached the "I have to push & there's no stopping me, where is the doctor" point, a nursing assistant got in my face & snapped me into shape like a drill sargeant. I was so thankful for her! But boy, when the doctor walked in, I refused the stirrups (at some point) & pushed for only 90 seconds! And yes, it does feel like your body is on fire and that it is ripping open, but (thankfully) in reality it is neither of those & temporary. I have not heard anyone mention this before (maybe because it's too graphic for some) but feeling you being born, Feeling you enter this world was worth Every labor pain. Every. Then the OB said, "ok dad, what is it?" I didn't even give daddy a chance, I sat up, looked & yelled out "GIRL!!!" I think daddy was too much in shock to say anything :) After he cut the cord & you were placed on my chest, I just sobbed. Sobbing of complete joy! I AM so blessed to have two mama's boys, of knowing how special my bond is with my boys, that my heart swelled knowing daddy would now get the oopportunity to be wrapped around his child's finger :) And I know that someday my boys will marry and while I can never be replaced as their mother, they will have another woman in their lives. But having a daughter, I know I will always be The woman in your life.

I love each of you more than you will ever understand until you have children of your own. I love each of you will all my heart & soul, with every fiber of my being, for always & forever, amen!