Let me quickly set the stage for you. I am currently, temporarily living in a city where I know zero people personally except my immediate family. For 43% of the days we have been here, at least one of the six of us has had either a stomach "flu" or the actual influenza flu. It has been below freezing and/or drizzling most of the days we have been healthy (or at least it seems that way). And, I believe the only reason I still have my sanity is finding the delightful babysitter the Lord sent our way to allow for some truly enjoyable date nights! I don't regret coming for a single second, but friends, it has been tough!
This weekend, I was feeling mostly well enough to participate via Skype with our monthly breakfast for Catholic homeschooling moms, and that was delightful! I enjoyed every moment. Our discussion from Danielle Bean's book Momnipotent centered around how mothers compare ourselves to other mothers far too often. We reflected on how most moms naturally put on our best self when meeting other women, which can skew our understanding of one another. I'll post those excellent discussion notes soon!
Yesterday my husband suggested we take a previously planned field trip if I was feeling up to it. Honestly, I was not. And, I have this problem when we are leaving the house. If we are going to the playground or the grocery store or anywhere, it takes herculean effort for me not to lose my temper in the process of getting four little people to the van having pottied with shoes, water, blankies, snacks, and whatever else we need. This field trip meant packing these four little people for a few days away.
But somehow, I felt God pushing me to go, and at first I pushed back. The grumpies have settled deep with me, and I grumbled to myself about how hard it was going to be to go away with these four little grumbling people. Nevertheless, I knew I should go and not delay another day, even though I wanted another day to lay around. I had let myself mostly rest the past four days to get over the flu, so I wasn't being a martyr mommy or anything. Get over it and go!
So, we did. And I was still a grouch, not much fun. And so were the kids, for the most part. Until today when we went to a living museum and encountered intelligent people who knew just by looking at us (at a museum on a weekday morning) that we homeschool. Something snapped inside of me and reminded me that I want others to see my life as joyful and fulfilling amidst the challenges. And as I began to act like a kind, nurturing, educating mama to my kids, I remembered that my life is joyful and fulfilling amidst the challenges, and I love being a kind, nurturing, educating mama.
We talked at our mom's breakfast briefly about how much it can help us to overcome our parenting faults when we have an audience, such as family visiting or friends around. It's easier to be patient when someone is watching, because we care what others think. Yes, our motivation should be, and usually is, much deeper than that, but that presence can be a little gift from God to let us get in some good practice at being the mom we really want to be.
I liked being a mom today, and I think I will try to like myself tomorrow, too! All it took was a little nudge to do the things I'm supposed to do.
What do you need to do to get out of your current rut? What's one thing you're supposed to be doing that's not going so well? Keep your eyes open for an opportunity to set things right again.
Bless Your Heart!