it’s not fair

The day started so good. We were giggling and playing and listening and making “good choices.” The kind of day every mom loves. The kind of day when you find yourself thinking, “Now this is what I signed up for.”

If I can remember correctly (part of this was a blur), I think we were laying on the couch watching one of her favorite shows. She innocently began bouncing around on the couch. And then, it hit me. Her head. On my nose. OK, let me be more specific…THE BACK OF HER HEAD SLAMMED INTO MY NOSE. I was in total shock and excruciating pain all at once. It was an accident, but in that kind of moment, one does not take the time to rationalize that it was an accident. I began crying immediately. Yes, it hurt that bad! Perhaps one might say, “It hurt like a _____!” (You fill in the word.)

And then I kept crying and crying and crying. The pain of that moment turned into the outpouring of the intense pain I feel at times about this season of life. This season of young children who need you for EVERYTHING – eating, pooping, talking, drinking, dressing. This season of young children where it feels like you have to say “no” to so much – so much that you like and find pleasure in and that’s fun and thrilling and that you get to do when you want to do it and perhaps all the things that you have previously found some identity and affirmation and validation in. This season of young children where you find yourself saying, “Do I have to give up one more thing?” Yes, this season. It feels so unfair.

Have you ever taken the time to reflect on what you chose to relinquish when you became a mom? There are some things all of us would probably agree on…a clean house, a clean toilet, a clean car, money to spend on yourself, your body, taking a shower without anxiety or a timeframe, sitting down to eat, stimulating conversation, memory, sleep. I’m sure this list could be as long as santa’s toy list. And then, for some, the list could go on…being productive at work, figuring out how to be “successful,” knowing that most of the time if you do the “right” thing there’s going to be a good outcome, immediate results, discerning your strengths and gifting and offering it to the world, feeling purposeful and useful and affirmed, being exposed to people and experiences and information that challenge and inspire and grow you, and…perhaps even time with God. For many of us, what we had anticipated and dreamed about being a mom is incredibly different from what really comes with carrying the title, “mommy.”

OK, so I could go on about this season. I think you get the picture. But today, my intent is to share something a friend so graciously and truthfully told me last week. She told me that there’s going to be a day when I finally accept the reality that I’m in. She also had the honesty to say that what I will come to accept, I will also come to understand isn’t fair. But, before I come to the place of acceptance, that I will need to grieve…grieve what has been taken from me, grieve what I’ve chosen to let go of, grieve what has changed. Plainly, I need to grieve before I can accept. I knew she was spot on. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. When we don’t grieve, our pain and disappointment can easily turn into resentment or anger or sarcasm or depression or addiction. Perhaps, this was what my tears were about the other day…my grief – mourning what has changed.

There was something that felt calming in her words. I think in her saying that I knew she really heard what I was disappointed in – not in being a mom, not Skyla or Zane, not even in myself, but what I’ve lost. It took guts to say that to me. No one has said that to me before. A lot of women wouldn’t dare speak that because of what it implies about how they feel. I so respect her honesty and somehow in her honesty I felt hopeful. Hopeful that I can do this. Hopeful that I can do this with grace and humor and love. Hopeful that this season can make me more like Jesus…if I let it. If I let go of it.

So, as I follow a few (or a lot) steps behind some of you, know that us moms need your voice, your honesty, your vulnerability, your truth. Because in your stories we can find ourselves and find what it takes to keep going.

So, here’s to grieving…whether it comes in the quiet and isolating moments at home, or when you’re zooming through the grocery store aisles because one of the kids is going to lose it, or each time you go to check your email, or as you watch your spouse leave for work, or when you find yourself wishing the water would get hot before you have to get out of the shower, or when you see the clock before 7 am, or when you chose to say “no” to that experience you really wish you could have. Let’s give ourselves permission to be sad and disappointed about what we have lost…what has changed.

And then, let’s have the eyes to see the good in this season so we can step into it with honesty and integrity and acceptance. Let’s remind ourselves that this role we said, “yes” to is just as crucial and defining and life-giving and important and spectacular and entertaining as the life we may have led…before kids. Let’s give ourselves permission to accept our reality so we can be fully present in this season and offer acceptance to those in our home.



7 thoughts on “it’s not fair

  1. This brought some long-overdue tears to my eyes. I think there is a lot of truth in this. I’ve been a mom for over 15 years (starting when I learned I was unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 20, unmarried and half-way through my bachelors of nursing degree) I don’t think I’ve ever fully acknowledged this fact. Maybe allowing myself to grieve all that was lost, will help me move on. I say that with a ton of guilt because I always wanted to be a mom and I love my six kids. How did you go about your grieving process and when do you know the work of grieving is done so you can embrace what is? Do you think it’s an ongoing process or a one-time event?

    • thanks for your comment, kimberly. i’m grateful that you found a bit of yourself in my words. i’m IN this season of grieving…right now. still, as i’m entering my 4th year of being a mom. i think it comes slowly at times and i think it comes suddently at other times – grieving, that is. it’s different for everyone. for me, it’s saying what feels so true out loud – kind of like “confessing” it. other times, it’s me saying what feels so true out loud to God. perhaps it’s wrestling it out with God for a while, pouring our hearts out to him…what we hate and resent and what feels so unfair, maybe it’s the loneliness and isolation, maybe it’s in the questions to him of “why?”. whatever it is, he can take it. and then, i’m believing that once we do, the door of possibility can open…and he will surprise us. and then, perhaps that specific wave of grieving will make it’s way to the smooth and restful shore. and then, acceptance.

      • I think my fear is that by saying it out loud only reinforces those feelings. But the truth is, I feel nearly paralyzed by fear, overwhelm, despair, frustration and exhaustion when it comes to mothering and my poor husband has to fend for himself because at the end of the day I have nothing left to nurture him with. I barely recognize the person that I think I once was or could have been. That fun-loving, adventurous, creative, energetic girl who felt like she could conquer anything. I still look for the satisfaction of conquering things through running marathons and keeping fit. I’ve confessed to my mother-in-law that I don’t understand how I can have the endurance to run 26.2 miles or fast for 40 days, but when it comes to raising my kids I feel like a “couch potato”. It didn’t used to be that way. I had plans to homeschool, to do fun crafts with them, to identify teachable moments, to teach them to cook and sew and clean and manage their money. I’ve developed summer programs for them to be intentional with our time together. There are moments when I’ve been inspired and brimming with ideas, but somehow, and I don’t know when it started, I started to feel like I was getting “buried” Now I can’t seem to find which way is up and mostly just survive days trying to manage everything, barely keeping up with it all. I have curriculums I haven’t even opened, lists of ideas I haven’t looked at in years, projects that are half-complete and stored away for “another day”, and every day my children are one day closer to leaving me. I feel like I’m verbally vomiting all over your page, and I’m sorry!

  2. first, you sound really normal. and honest. i love that. i would guess that most mom’s feel the way you do, but they may not have the invitation to say it – to themselves or anyone else. second, you are still the woman you were before. i wonder if she may just be hiding…behind the fear and shame. that happens to the best of us. go find her again and give yourself permission to re-define what those parts of you look like, now, in this season. that’s what i’m working on. keep doing what brings you life as you “give life” to those six peices of you. third, maybe find someone with a good ear who can give you perspective and encouragement and who can be an advocate for YOU as you advocate for your family. i know that has helped me a ton! may you have the courage and energy to find your BEST self…again.

  3. Pingback: present. | Carissa Woodwyk

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