Friday, January 20, 2012

Dear Alli

I have a friend that recently wrote a blog post about feeling overwhelmed as a new Mommy. With home responsibilities crowding out work and church responsibilities, she wonders if she's alone in feeling like doing one thing right (taking care of her baby) shouldn't make up for neglecting all other areas of her life. Well here is my response to that:


I'm sure that every Mom that reads your blog or mine can relate to that feeling. I am at this moment sitting in the messiest my house has ever been, I am tired from a middle of the night feeding, and I stopped looking at my to-do list because it's just depressing... BUT Jay is fed and (half) dressed, and Ty is peacefully sleeping in the next room. Sometimes it's hard for me to look at these things as accomplishments. Scratch that... 99% of the time I don't. But there are moments.. usually in sacrament meeting, the temple, or evening prayers... where the Lord allows me to see myself as He does. In those moments I am renewed. I can do this one more day, one more diaper change, one more tantrum. You know the expression "living paycheck to paycheck"? Well, most days I feel like I'm living prayer to prayer.

Maybe I'm glamorizing the life I had before kids, but I don't remember struggling to feel accomplished, talented, or appreciated. Any self-esteem issues were usually related to stupid boys... obviously before kids for me also means before marriage since Jay came so quickly. But I'm slowly learning that the words "Thank you" don't feel as good as, "I love you, Mommy." Feeling beautiful doesn't feel as good as the way my baby looks at me. Memories are vastly more important than a clean house. And I would rather snuggle up with a sleeping toddler, listening to his tiny breath than hear how awesome the world thinks I am.

Also, in my opinion, the internet is single handedly the most destructive force in tearing down a Mother's self-worth. No longer does Satan have to wait until church or social events for us to compare ourselves to our seemingly perfect colleagues and whisper in our ears that we will never measure up. Now, each and every day, at any given moment, we can peek into the filtered lives of our friends as a constant reminder of our shortcomings. My new mantra: People only post things on the internet that are out of the ordinary. So when Suzy Homemaker posts a picture of a dazzling Christmas wreath that she crafted from recycled toilet paper tubes and thumb tacks, I can appreciate her accomplishment knowing that she is probably blogging in her bath robe while her toddler is eating glue.

So Allison, yes I feel this way daily. I struggle to feel happy in the chaos of Mommyhood on days when all I've done is keep my kids alive. But the worst thing we do is then feel GUILTY that we feel that way. Not only are you under accomplished and under appreciated but now you are also ungrateful. That's two points for the devil. (Now do you feel guilty for feeling guilty?)

I hope this helps you feel a little less alone, my friend. Love you.


Mike and Alli said...

Aw, thank you. I guess I'm just struggling with feeling like I am now doing a million things only 5% well instead of doing 5 things amazingly well. Ha ha. And maybe I'm feeling a little bad that I have started to resent a few of those million things (like work and even some of those church activities, if I'm being honest). But you are totally right. I just need to look at my little man and let everything else fade into the background. When I do, I am so very happy! It's just a process learning to do that. :)

Janelle said...

This is amazing Stac. You are such a great writer. I feel like I should print this out and post it on my fridge so I can look at it everyday. And if I'm being honest, I actually like this a lot more than that carpe diem article that's all the rage on Facebook right now, even though that one is good too. So thank you for being willing to share.

The Meffords said...

Thank you I needed that post! I have the same struggles. My day is a successful one if I can get a shower in! Being a mother is a full time job that often requires overtime. We do not get nights and weekends off or holiday pay but we do get the blessing of being a mother. Your children will thank you for it someday. For now just enjoy the messy house in your bathrobe with your messy hair. That is what I do! If my to do list gets done then great! If not then there is always tomorrow!

Shannon said...

Love that you shared your thoughts, Stacy. I know I'm not a mother, but I feel like I can relate... There's a talk I've recently fallen in love with by Sister Holland called "One Thing Needful" (Oct 1987 Ensign) that I HIGHLY recommend (she touches on many of the things you said here - about comparing, about thriving in our lives...). It's definitely one of the new "hallmark" talks of my life.... LOVE YOU!

Mike and Alli said...

Just read this again. Why did you stop blogging?! I need more time in your head. :)