So my original title to this blog was "Confessions of a Bad Mom", but a wise friend recently reminded me of the power of words! So I changed it to confessions of a weary mom. While "bad mom" is not who I am, weariness has caused me to act as a bad mom!
I ran away this week. I mean, I went to help my parents pack and kick off a new program in San Angelo, but really, I ran away. I needed a break. I never understood women who left their husband and children - until the last few years.
This is a very raw and transparent post. I share because I believe there are SO MANY of us
bad weary moms out there! Especially the tribe of moms with
children from hard places or children with special needs - and especially those
of us with all the above! I share because I want you to know you are not alone!
I share because I think we need to talk more about what happens behind our
closed doors. I desperately want to protect my children's stories - but the
fact is, their stories intersect mine! I will attempt to walk that thin line
here, please give me some grace if I overstep. I also want you to know this is
NOT a post written after I have it all together and am sharing from a new
perspective. I am sharing from the pit - but I am clawing at the sides
determined to get out - and I want to take any other moms in the pit with
In the last three months, I have had a child pack their bags to move out because being respectful was too much to ask, I have had a child tell me our family "sucks" and they want a new one, I have scars on my arm from a child's meltdown that left me bleeding (other family members and a few educators wear similar marks from the same types of meltdowns), I have been told I put other orphans before my own children, I have listened as a new diagnosis is explored for one child – a diagnosis that could possibly have occurred because of medicine I was prescribed during pregnancy, I have been told my sacrifice to be a stay home mom in early years as well as pouring my life into another human means nothing, I have heard words in my home that I never dreamed would be said. I have cried, I have screamed, I have walked away, I have planned my own death, I have run away. I don't share this for pitty or to get a "you're not a bad mom" response. I share because too often we put on a smile and walk around like all is well - while the mom we meet in the grocery store does the same thing. But actually we are both weary and dying in side. I share because I want that mom to know she is not alone - and if you are ready to do the work to climb out of the pit, I want to help you while you help me! I am not interested in sitting in the pit and complaining about it, or sitting in the pit and feeling sorry for myself. I have tried both - and they don't work!
So let's start climbing!
I ran away this week because I needed a break! I didn't "want" a break, I "needed" a break! My physical body and frayed emotions could no longer respond in a loving and nurturing way to my family. There are many dynamics happening in our family. Many that I will never share in a forum such as this. Any one of the dynamics would probably have been manageable, but when you add all that is happening together, it became my perfect storm.
Let me pause here to say, if you are meeting me for the first time through this post, I LOVE my children!! I have 9 beautiful creations of God that He has entrusted to me to nurture, disciple, and raise into warriors for Him! While some of their choices of actions and words did give me small pushes into the pit, the real issue here is me. I am the adult. So if my home is not running in a way that I can live there in a healthy manner, I have to look at myself first. And the Truth is that God would not give me these children if He was not equipping me to parent them and give them all they need! None are here by mistake or accident. They are all mine by His design!
Therefore, this week has been lots of pressing into God, stilling myself to listen, lots of self-reflecting. I know that I do not like the mom I was when I left last week. It is not the mom that I want to be! That left me wondering – how did I get here? It didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow process of demands and stress that slowly but surely swallowed the moments of joy being a mom has always brought me. The needs of my children, the struggles they have because of no fault of their own, the pull of walking other families through the same struggles – all of it had left me anxious, irritable, depressed, on edge….and empty. Oh so empty.
About 4 years ago I realized I was headed down this path. I had always heard “self-care” and thought “selfish”. But after being stuck in the house with 8 children, 4 of whom were 3 and under, I realized “self-care” is actually read “survival”! I had to find ways to rejuvenate myself. I had to find ways to pour back into myself. My husband was running on empty too! He couldn’t be my pourer – and no one can pour out of an empty cup! I had to find a way to fill mine!
I began allowing myself to take 15 minutes to take a bubble bath, or an hour to get a pedicure, or even just allowing myself to go to the grocery store without any kids to have a mental break from the “MOM!!!!!” that I heard multiple times every 60 seconds. But it just was not enough. The output was still more than the input. I was maxed out, and my emotional and physical bank accounts were becoming more and more overdrawn – taking more and more to even bring them up to zero.
Being an introvert (one who refuels by being alone) in a house of 10 people with 8 of them being children (well 7 – my 18 year old adult child would be very miffed I did not note her adult status!) means there is very little opportunity to refuel. That has to change. That means getting up early enough to have a quiet house to start my day. It also means more structure – a scheduled day for the summer; and with more structure has to come more nurture because the balance must stay the same. For a mom who does not do structure well naturally, that at first sounds like more demands – but I have watched enough moms that I admire to know that structure is a good – no GREAT thing for larger families!
So that’s my one thing I am implanting as I return to my home! I will make myself rise before the sun to insure I have quiet time to refuel and be ready to love my children – and my husband! ;) I will find a schedule that works for us – all of us!
If you could hear yourself in this post – the weariness, the despair of what is happening in your home, can I ask you to think of just ONE thing you can do this week? What one thing could you implement to give you some rest, to pour into your tank?
· Hire a housekeeper
· Implement an hour of rest time each day – include yourself in that time!
· Go for a walk while your husband and kids clean up dinner dishes
· Set aside 30 minutes a day to read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand
· Find some fun stickers to use when scheduling your week! (another confession – I have a horrible addiction to office supplies, and the calendar stickers make me very happy!)
· meal plan and try out the online grocery shopping if you have not already
Find one thing to help YOU this week! Remember self-care is not selfish, it is survival! And Mommas, we are not just going to survive, we are going to LIVE! Who is with me?! Let’s get out of this pit!
I would love to hear from you and how are climbing out of the pit! You can get in touch with me on Twitter @HPetree or Instagram blessedtimes9.