Motherhood Mondays: Facing my biggest fear.

(If you stick with me on this longer Motherhood Mondays post - I'll let you into a very tender, vulnerable place in my heart - in hopes that you can feel the cyber-hug when your days are even remotely similar.)
Nothing new: A lot comes to the surface when you feel just a tiny bit over-extended and you're operating on less than ideal amounts of sleep.

Something new: I had a melt-down a week ago.

Here's the lead up story....:

Once upon a time, a loooong time ago (if feels like it, but it was about 14 days ago), two toddlers conspired not to nap. Now, whether or not they slept was irrelevant to their mother - but the short break that the nap represented was critical.

It would not happen.

There was crashing coming from their room, things breaking, feathers being pulled out of pillows, and an entire sock drawer contents dumped on the floor.  Every 15 minutes their mom found herself having to go in, discipline, redirect, (insert various good parenting technique here) blah blah blah. It was grating.

Finally the momma gave up. She brought the two precious/over-tired girls out of their room and the three of them just sat on the couch - mutually exhausted from the war that had ended in a stalemate. She was fighting off guilt as she replayed every visit she paid to their room trying to enforce the nap. She declared herself selfish.

The more "emotionally aware" older toddler hugged her mommy and apologized for not sleeping which only made the mother feel more despicable. The oblivious younger toddler decided to use her mother as a jungle gym until she regained consciousness.

The rest of the evening involved a husband calling to say he was leaving work later than he thought, a botched dinner menu and a failed attempt at a bath (unless you could call getting some of their body sort of wet - then it was a success) and the realization that she had TOTALLY forgotten to do 3 things on her looming "to do" that would make those items "late". As the mother shut the toddlers' door at bedtime and felt like she was crawling emotionally out to the kitchen to clean up the mess - something sinister was happening.  Her broken heart began to harden.

She felt cold on the inside. Her husband walked through the door and could probably tell something had shut off. After a good handful of other things to do, finally lying in bed next to each other - at around...1:00 AM - he opened Pandora's Box.

Adam: Babe, are you okay?
Me: (Silence. Then a muffled noise.)
Adam: Huh?
Me: I said that I'm fine. Just a long day.
Adam: Oh.
Me: (sniffling.)
Adam: Hmmm. Is there anything I could do tomorrow that didn't get done today?
Me: No. I'm fine. It'll be fine. (more sniffling)
Adam: Okay. Good night, I love you. (rolling over)
Me: (trying desperately to stay silent while crying pretty intensely now.) I just....(sobbing)
Adam: (rolling back over and putting his hand on my face) ....yeah?
Me: I'm just terrified.....I'm just so scared of being really THIS important....(sobbing into the pillow)
Adam: (holding me) (silence)

Now, the rest of that conversation went well into the wee hours of the morning and while important in-and-of-itself, it's this little part of my melt-down I wanted to focus on.

Ever since Elasia was born (4 years ago) and my "Sweet chubby cherub blissfully sleeping in her crib" picture was shattered with the reality of a reflux-colicky-underweight-passionate little screamer - I've had this looming...."something" that I've been running away from.

I labelled it "insecurity" and would tell myself over and over that I AM a good mom. Friends would tell me that I'm doing a great job. My mother is proud of me. Even more note-worthy, my mother-IN-LAW is very proud of me. I have an incredible husband who most days whispers in my ear, "You're doing an amazing job, babe." 

What is my DEAL?!

It was this melt down that got me to say it.  I just had to spit it out - be it with tears, snot, and sobs.  I am TERRIFIED!! 

Instead of facing my biggest, most fattest, scariest fear - I was used to ignoring it, leaving it unidentified, and moving on.  Every time it would creep up on me I would shrug it off and assure myself that "I can do this, damn it. I'm a worldchanger!!" (of course, I would NEVER say "damn" out loud - I'm not a NY potty mouth!)

I've had a parasite eat a hole through my intestines in Morocco, a worm make its home in my calf from swimming in a river in Bolivia. I've bungee-jumped and I LOVE roller coasters. I've always wanted to go to the hardest most needy area of the world and "make a difference".  But here I was holding this tiny helpless bundle of pure potential - and I was SCARED OUT OF MY MIND.

Not addressing this directly had really just hurt the situation. Two kids later and a few years into this adventure and my fuse had grown shorter, my capacity seeming to shrink by the day, and the list I was keeping in my head of failures could wallpaper the Empire State Building.

Having a Christian world-view, I knew the right answer was "God is in control", but my jittery heart couldn't digest that. Which only made me feel worse.

That night, crying and talking through things with my husband I watched (with the eyes of my heart) a big, fat, scary, Bully named Fear shrink before my eyes.

BECAUSE I FACED IT.  I just said it. And now - I don't feel alone. Now, I know my enemy.
There's something so liberating about turning the light on in the dark-scary-room to see what it is you were so scared of in the first place.

Running away from problems never solved them. Pretending they don't exist doesn't either.

So, somehow - on the other end of all those tears I have a deeper assurance that things are going to be alright.  As I kiss those chubby cheeks and laugh at their silly antics and firmly discipline their bad choices...and yes, lose it all together sometimes - I'm finding a new/deeper resolve. It will be okay. I love these children with all of my heart. I am loved with an Everlasting Love. And He loves my children more desperately than I do.  And the Punk throwing the sucker punches? Oh, his name is Fear - and I've got a good right-hook myself - thankyouverymuch.

In the words of the wise G.I. Joe, "Knowing is half the battle!"

Let's do this thing called "motherhood".
Bring it.


Sarah Elizabeth said...

Wow. That was beautiful...I loved it. Thanks for opening up that little box inside of you.

The fact that you're willing to admit your downfall and your inability to do that which you set out to accomplish says a lot about you. Your humility is recognized and honored and the Lord will reward you for your faithfulness to HIS strength.

You're such a wonderful example to me and I look forward to gleaning wisdom from you as I embark on the journey of motherhood and...uh...wifelihood?? ;)

Love you girl,
Your sis.

Bridget said...

Love it! Thank you so much. This was so encouraging for me. I've totally been there. It IS scary! Motherhood is such a humbling experience. I don't know if there's anything else that can make you feel so inadequate. You long to be so much, to do so much... but sometimes it feels like you can never make it. Thank you for sharing on this blog