Having three kids has been really hard.
There I said it.
And I’m not talking like walk-up-the-hill-from-the-mailbox-out-of-breath hard (although goodness, that is hard too!), I’m talking like sending me to the lowest of lows and ugliness of my heart that I’ve never seen before hard.
It has been excruciating on my marriage. Pregnancy, having a preemie, sleeplessness, never-ending responsibility – all of it. Excruciating. We’ve never been stretched or pushed to the brink as much as we have in this last year.
Time for myself. Ha! What is this? There is NO PART about having three kids that allows for selfishness, or “mama time”. This has been one of the hardest lessons of all. It feels like a constant battle each day. From the moment I wake up satisfying the needs of my kids, repeating the same monotonous routine (breakfast, nap, snack, nap, lunch, nap; repeat) versus satisfying desires that I have.
And when I look at who I WANT to be, when I describe that woman, there’s no part of that description that is selfish. So why is it so hard for me to let go of ME, in order to serve them? Why does it hurt so bad? Why is it often accompanied by bitterness, resentment, and frustration?
I’ve never struggled more with identity issues, than I have with a third kid. I’m not sure if this is because I feel even deeper entrenched in mom-world than ever before. Feelings of never getting to “use my brain” again, or experience success outside of the home (whatever that means!) cloud my psyche. I wonder if what I’m doing is enough. Do the kids even care that I COULD be working outside of the home full-time, but instead I’m CHOOSING to stay home and raise them? Does Blake even appreciate that I COULD be a career girl and shower everyday and look all put-together in my career girl clothes? Or do they all look at me like the train wreck that I feel like when I barely crawl to the finish line of bedtime everyday, at which point I gladly plop myself on the couch and just zone out scrolling through Instagram?
Is this all that there is for me? Kids. And diapers. Preschool. And laundry.
Will I always feel like I’m drowning and about ten steps behind the 8 ball?
I hope not.
And even though I KNOW my kids, my husband, my home, my life are all blessings (I do KNOW that), I don’t always FEEL that way. I want to run away some days. More days lately than I probably should admit out loud.
I want to hide in my room and eat (vegan) chocolate chip cookies in bed and not have a single person come in and talk to me, or need me, or touch me. I just need some space.
And for some reason, I keep this all inside. I forget that I have a lover of my heart that wants to fill me up. And doesn’t NEED anything from me, but rather whose sole intent is to love me. Just me.
Why do I hold back from spewing all of this to him? Do I think he can’t handle it? I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that I have an enemy that wants to keep me in this bondage, so that I don’t get released from the freedom I am offered.
Today, I was reminded that we are invited to talk to the God of the universe.
Like legit, just talk like a normal person to God. I don’t have to put on a show. Or my makeup even. I can just barf it all up to God (sorry for the disturbing metaphors – #boymom). He sees the trenches that I am in everyday. He sees that I’m mourning. That I’m struggling. That I miss my best friend. That I feel like not enough. He sees how hard I’m working. And how much it takes out of me.
He sees that I’m a work in progress. And that I haven’t arrived.
But he loves me anyway.
Not Mom Ashley. Not Career Ashley. Not Wife Ashley. Not Preschool Ashley. Or any other hat I might wear.
So I just need to take a deep breath, and delight in talking to him. And remember that on days when it feels like it’s me against the world. I at least have him on my team. And I can start there.
PS when I’m feeling like I need a little mom-in-the-trenches lift me up, these are some of the gals I look to:
For a laugh – her.
For some encouragement & vision – her.
For help on parenting – her.
For (crass) bachelor recaps – her.