Friday, July 06, 2007

Holy Hepstheba! Praise Zeus for Professionals!

I had a total realization in therapy this week. And before I tell you what it was, let me just say: Mom, it doesn't matter that I tell the whole world that I'm in therapy because even if Steve *does* run for office, ALL OF AMERICA will sleep a WHOLE lot better knowing that his crazy a$# wife at least tried to get *help.* Trust me on this.

Okay, moving forward.

Motherhood is psycho hard. It requires the total sacrifice of mind, body, talent, spirit, soul, etc. And even though I knew what I was doing was *important,* I was still pretty ticked about this whole sacrifice thing.

But I realized that it actually wasn't the sacrifice itself that was bugging me.

It was that, of the two of us, *my* soul was the one worth sacrificing. All of the talents I spent my whole life developing? Every aspect of my personality that didn't have something to do with childrearing (aka: ALL of them)? Every bit of self that I had thought was important somehow?

Totally expendable.

Underneath all my angst, despair, rage, resentment, etc. was the sneaking suspicion that I, as a human being, was worthless.

So, there is is. The next question is, WTH do you *do* with this kind of realization?


Karie said...

You find a compromise. You cannot be a mother 100% of the time and completely expunge that other part of your self, or it will come roaring back at the worst possible moment and tear the very fabric of your existence apart.

After the existential crisis in which you question your worth, your purpose, and your wisdom, you look for balance between your needs and your children's needs. It's a struggle and is much like dieting in that you need to re-evaluate and recommit every day. You prioritize, you let some things go, and you make sure to pay attention to your children or they will get sorely out of hand.

And in the small calm space that you carve out, in which everyone can breathe peacefully, you exist for the moment. And savor it, because it won't last and you'll have to find your balance all over again.

Kimberly said...

I think you accidentally answered your own question. You are WORTH sacrificing. On the surface, that sounds insulting, but the more I ponder it, the more it makes me smile. I'm worth it. I'm worth the hours and hours of suffering and struggle. I'm worth the frustration, the rage, and the monotony.

Call it the refiner's fire. Call it the trials that give us strength and help us develop into who we have the potential to be. I don't like the line "You have to lose yourself to find yourself" any more than you do, I think the math is done differently than that. I think that when we give of ourselves, what we had is mutliplied exponentially, and beyond our ability to understand.

Sometimes, I reflect on how much I miss being me, being free, spending my time only how I choose. But sometimes, less frequently but more poignantly, I reflect on how much stronger I am, how much I grown and matured. I've developed talents I wouldn't have otherwise (because they're not my favourite talents, you know?). And those favourite talents? They'll always be there. Because yes, they're an intrinsic part of me. I'm not me without them.

And when my children go off to school, I'll feel a little bit more like me again. While they're learning, I will be too. And it'll make me a better mom.

I agree with Karie that there has to be compromise. If we give up everything that defines us, we'll be miserable, and our kids will be the poorer for it.

I make time to write, and lose myself in my favourite books, because without that, I wither. I don't feel I've been called to give that up, rather, I feel I need to channel my passion for the written word into something that can benefit my children.

What, I don't know. I haven't got that figured out yet.

Anyway, this is turning into the longest comment ever, so I should stop babbling. Just remember you're worth it, okay?

Angie said...

I think what made it hard for me was believeing the lie that somehow everything in my marriage would be equal. It wasn't. It couldn't have been. It still isn't. I was the one who experienced pregnancy and childbirth and who nursed babies in the middle of the night, and that wasn't because DH was insensitive or I was less valuable, it was just the reality of womanhood.

I am at peace now realizing both that there are blessings that come along with those sacrifices, and that regardless of what the magazines in the supermarket checkout say, my experience will never be the same as my husband's. In some ways it is more challenging and in some ways it is easier, but it is not and was never meant to be the same. At times I do get fed up with the demands at home and think it would be "easier" to get a full time job again, but other days I think I think I have it better than DH does. I own my schedule in a way that he doesn't. I also don't have the relentless pressure of supporting a family that he feels (I do contribute some, but it is in ways that are fun and fulfilling to me. He is the primary breadwinner who worries about paying the bills). I will always be a mother, but my kids won't need to nurse and have diapers changed for the next thirty years. It does get easier. His responsibility will not let up in all that time.

When I came home full time I also found it challenging to suddenly have to develop a whole new skill set. I knew how to succeed in school and career, but I didn't know how to succeed as a homemaker, and it was really frustrating. But over the years I found areas of homemaking that interest me and developed some abilities there, and I still cultivate my other interests and abilities (I have more time for outside interests than DH who is strictly working on career 9-5 and trying to squeeze in family and church responsibilities in the evenings).

Steve said...

I think there are good writers here who type fast!

k said...

That's all ya got, Steve?

Mom (with dad making sure the drug-induced comments make some sort of sense). said...

Rub some dirt on it and walk it off.
Everyone sacrifices. Including Steve. The sacrifices you're making now will not hinder you later. This I know as "Guinan," er, I mean your mother. Work some more on your space/time continuum paradox. Your kids are great and you're doing a great job with them. Consider the Lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin (that one was thrown in there for you, Lily!). You're worried about the stuff Karie calls existentialism. Don't think now, just exist. ;) How about if you and I have a moritorium on bitterness for a couple of years.
Your parents may be a little crazy, but we love you more than anything on earth, so it can't be all bad, right?