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!


Colleen said...

This post spoke to my heart. I have been thinking those EXACT same thoughts lately and struggling with the guilt of feeling like that, too. I loved all your prayers. You are way better about being grateful than me. Sometimes I am just generally grateful, but I don't think about all those specific things I am grateful about.

Thanks for this. I needed it. It made me cry, and I am so glad to know I am not the only one.

Press on, sister! You can do it!! You ARE doing it, and you know you aren't doing it alone. Because you struggle with the constant of being there for your kids ALL the time, and don't just dump your kids off on other people or spend all day texting or whatever, it means you are a great mom!! The Lord is smiling down on you, saying, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant. Well done!!"

Mandy manly said...

Dawn, even though I want to just kidnap you for a day at the spa, I will refrain. LOL! I think of you often throughout my days and admire you more than you know. I know that doesn't help with the exhaustion, emotionally- physically- mentally- every way possible, but you should know. And you are definitely NOT alone. Even though I work outside the home a few days a week, I feel you. Being a mommy is the most challenging job there is, and you are a great reminder to stop and be thankful. I don't do that enough and I'm so glad you shared. We have to use each other and friendships to keep us sain through these times!! Love you

Jenny said...

I am a full time working mom right now, but will be quitting my job in the next few weeks to stay at home with my 2 year old daughter. Although, I have always wanted to be a SAHM, the reality is I'm scared to death. I really enjoy having my friends at work and a life outside of the home. But I also feel like I'm missing out on so much with Molly. By the time we get home in the evenings, we're only together for about 3 hours before bedtime (which also includes cooking, cleaning up, bath, and what ever other chores need to be done). Plus she's usually the most cranky in the evenings so I feel like I don't get her at her best. But with all that said, I'm nervous about the "burn out" and my sanity. :) Like you, we're going to have to cut back on the "luxury" things for me to do this, but I know it'll be worth it. It's good to hear your coping mechanisms. Thanks for the insight and your honesty!

Trina said...

Dawn, I love how honest this is. I have no solution for you, but I want to remind you of someone you know...her name is Crazy Trina. Yep, that first year of Caitlyn's life, she was born, and honestly she surfaces all the time still. You met her before...before you had your children, before your insane mommy counterpart was born.
It is quite possibly the strangest thing to go from that woman who COULD come home to a clean, quiet, soda on the wall free environment, to the Crazy mommy whose toes look like they've been gnawed on by wild animals, and whose hair has long since given up that "effortless" look. It happens though, and honestly, you wouldn't change it...but growing into God's plan for us is NEVER easy. It sometimes really sucks, but your "unceasing prayer" is one way to handle the, the to get up early.....just kidding...had to do it....there is no trick. Try scheduling the "stay at home dates", with your husband on the couch (this works for when you are what I like to call...po", with yourself in the bath (even for 20 minutes..Craig has to help with that one to avoid 4 eyes staring at you as you soak). More than likely those will be few and far between, and true, it is really a season of time, but it still feels like you are stuck in that season for a long time. When it feels overwhelming, I try and remember that once, I got to see Caitlyn dancing, and join her, or watch her learn a new skill. You know, like thinking you have leaky window, only to discover it's a "booger"..haha!
You have to remind yourself that as all your friends have already told you, you are in good company. This thing you are doing, called Motherhood: is noble,it's inspiring, it's exhausting, it's amazing,it's every wonderful and disgusting thing under the sun, it most times leads to ugly toes and wacky hair, but it is such a journey..that who, once they begin, really want to miss it.....Mostly I have to say....
Hi, Crazy Dawn, welcome to the ugly toes greet you, and I will probably forget something I am doing, was told to do, am supposed to do and quite possibly not accomplish half the things that make me "feel" like I have done my "job", but you are most definitely not alone.
It is when we show our weaknesses that God can use them to shine through it. So, thanks for letting those ugly toes peep out from that closed toe sandal you are now forced to wear. Miss you girl.