Thursday, December 10, 2009
Some of you may remember that I had a baby a few months ago..
(side note: I love saying things like that. When I do it in real life, I almost always get a bug-eyed look until the person I’m talking to realizes that I don’t actually think they had forgotten whatever monumental thing I was talking about)
As these things go, our lives drastically changed as soon as we brought him home and had a few hours for reality to set in. Did we love him? Yes. Were we amazed by him? Yes. Were there moments when we seriously freaked out in a what-were-we-thinking kind of way? Oh yes.
You see, having a baby establishes a new order of business in a household. Your life is no longer your own. Your days are no longer your own. Your nights are no longer your own. In fact, at the beginning, any precious time you might find for yourself is often interrupted and no longer your own. If you’re the mama, chances are all kinds of people have seen your boobs no matter how modest you really want to be. Not to mention the readjustment of your body after the mass exodus of all kinds of things.
I think what I’m saying is, if you’re new to it, you can expect having a baby to throw you into a tizzy for a while.
I loved being pregnant and imagining life with our little baby. The thing is, my imagination didn’t cover things like doing a million loads of laundry every day, getting spit up on about every 20 minutes round the clock, trying to figure out why my baby is still crying, wondering when I’m ever going to leave the house again because my baby takes forever to eat and it really hurts, and on and on and on.
It’s like any big anticipated change in life. It is amazing, but there are a lot of ‘unexpecteds’ thrown into the mix. How many of you can say that college is exactly like you thought it would be? Marriage – did that turn out to be the perfect, daisy-pickin experience you imagined it would be? Buying your first home.. Perhaps more trouble than you had thought? That job you’ve always dreamed of, maybe not exactly what you had hoped?
As humans, we have this amazing ability to focus. We focus and we dwell and we are driven. And that is good. But, often we lose out on really appreciating so much of our lives because we love to focus on all the ‘unexpecteds’. And then we have the whole ‘why didn’t I appreciate that while I had it??’ thing that inevitably happens when these big changes come and, you know, CHANGE everything.
In motherhood, I am finding that I am still human. Some days I really don’t like feeling like I live in a three hour cycle on repeat and can never get anything done. I don’t really like feeling like I am letting people down or I don’t measure up because I don’t have the free time to accomplish things that I used to. I don’t like having to sacrifice for my child and my husband because gosh darnit, I just want to do something I want to do for once and YOU go clean up the kitchen and feed the baby! (I often encourage Ian to start lactating so he can help out a bit more..) I want to maintain my carefree life of yesteryear and throw my responsibilities out the window.
But, you know what? The reality is, my responsibilities have morphed into something that cannot be thrown out the window on a whim. The other humans in my daily life are depending on me to help, support, and meet their needs. And these responsibilities will grow as our family grows. And you know what else? This is exactly what I was made to do.
I am not suggesting that I should lose who I am for the sake of these humans. No, I am suggesting that we function as a unit. That we encourage one another to be the individuals that we are and take the time to foster and grow the gifts and interests the Lord has given us. It is a give and take.
Herein lies my problem. I focus a lot on the take every day. I focus on what Aed takes from me and what Ian takes from me, what working from home takes from me, etc. As I feed Aed for the millionth time, I focus on all the things I wish I could do but can’t because I’m pinned to the couch again. As I wash Ian’s clothes for the three-millionth time (he’s been around longer than Aed, you see), I focus on how annoying it is that I am the only one that ever does laundry and no matter how many times I put it on the stairs, I am the only one that will take it upstairs and put it away without being asked.
I have learned that it is easy to focus on the take all day long. To consider how undeserving I am of such take, take, take. To know in my self-righteousness that I am too good for such tasks and I need to make this feeling clear by bringing a cloud of negativity over our household. Ian is the leader of our family, but often, because my hands are in most everything that goes on in our home, my attitude sets the stage for how positive or negative everyone’s attitudes are.
As you are reading this (if you still are..) you have probably noticed that it all seems really ungrateful and complaining and there are 47 things in the paragraphs above that I have to be thankful for that I just blew past like they weren’t even there. And.. TADA!! You have discovered the whole point of this post!
Rather than taking the easy route day after day and letting myself sink into the terrible state of selfishness and ingratitude, I have decided to challenge myself to set up an ebenezer every single day. While I actually do often consider the things I am thankful for, I want gratitude to be the automatic attitude of my heart every day and not the complaining spirit that habitually seeps in. I am going to take time at the close of every day to consider at least one thing that I am thankful for from that day and post it on this blog for the world to see in hopes that it will spur me on to recognize all the things I am given that I so easily overlook.
On this fair Thursday, My Daily Thankful is this: I am beyond thankful that I am not a single parent. Having Ian alongside me in this new role is so important. He builds my confidence, encourages me when I feel inadequate, takes Aed off my hands and plays with him as soon as he gets home, listens to me talk through my various concerns and quandaries when he could easily ignore me and accomplish something else with his time. I am thankful for Daddy :)