In the last few years, I have experienced a whirlwind of change. All within a decade’s time, I lost my father, graduated from college, moved 3 times, had 3 different jobs, got married, had 3 kids, started, withdrew, changed majors, and finally graduated from graduate school, and became a military spouse. These events have had a dramatic impact on me and how I see myself. In recent years, I became a stay at home mom and initially thought it would be a walk in the park. I’d get up, get Noah to school, play with my then 2 year old daughter all day long, go to museums, and the park, and the pool, and go shopping, go to play dates, and get coffee with friends. Heck I’d even join a gym or perhaps find a play group where I’d expand my group of close knit Army wife friends and we’d just gossip and talk about how wonderful we have it and how awesome it is to be a mom…. NO!!! That’s definitely not what happened at all. Within the first month of being home, I was seeking help! I did not know how to deal with the emotional struggles associated with being 2 years old! Jeez, I wish someone had told how difficult toddlers and preschoolers can be. After all, I worked when my oldest was 2 and when we lived with my Mom, I had constant help. Heck, she’d have the kids eating dinner and already bathed by the time I got home at 6:00. Now I was on my own with a very feisty, stubborn, strong-willed toddler and almost immediately regretted my decision to leave work to focus on my kids and finishing my master’s. I also found myself seeking therapy for myself because of the shortcomings I felt I had as a mother. Was I being too hard on my self, or not hard enough?
I must say that it really wasn’t my goal to stay home. However, with the amount of therapy my son was receiving outside of the services he gets with his IEP (more on that chaos in another blog) and with my daughter’s emerging need for speech as well, I really felt I had no choice but to stay home to ensure they would get the help they needed. I couldn’t very well justify sacrificing their needs for me to be able to bring home a few extra dollars. So stay home I did. And the longer I was home, the more unsatisfied I became. Since when did earning a degree give me the opportunity to be a personal maid, chef, chauffeur, maintenance personal, money manager, and the bigillion other things I have to do everyday. And despite understanding that this was what was best for my children and understanding that God always has a plan for us, I didn’t accept it. Facebook became painful almost as I began to notice more and more of my friends doing things I’d always wanted to do… getting amazing job offers, buying their first home, traveling and seeing the world. It just wasn’t fair. I immediately started to resent that I had children with slightly special needs. I started to ponder what life had been like had I moved back home after college and gotten my master’s right away. Of course, these feelings made me feel uncomfortable and of course I began doubting my own abilities as a mom.
I have come a long way since then, but I do admit that from time to time I have self-doubts. However, I now understand that God put me in this position to be an advocate for my children. He didn’t let me get settled into a home or a career because of this move I needed to make for them. He wants ME to raise His precious gifts and I’m humbled when I think of that. I may have not fulfilled the plan I laid out for my self a decade ago, but I definitely
have tried to walk in the path He has so gracious laid out for me. It can still be a struggle sometimes, especially on days when it seems like nothing is going right and I’m completely on my own. But I’m learning to trust and love this life I have RIGHT NOW. I am blessed that Norman is in a career that supports my being able to stay home and that he finally supports my decision to stay home.
My desire to share this with you stems from a recent survey that I wanted to create and hand out to my friends who are moms as well. I felt that it is so important for us to be honest with ourselves because from that place then change can happen and if healing needs to happen, it can. I will post analysis from those results in a subsequent draft.
So relax and know that you are a good Mom. I am still understanding that despite my mistakes and shortcomings, my good days and bad, that I am doing the very best I can by myself and by my children and I am a good Mom.