I'm going stir crazy in my tiny house in the middle of nowhere. So I'm headed to my Mom's this weekend. I want to go to the movies, visit some long-time friends, go to the temple, do some shopping, all the things I can't do right here in Cokeville.
I've been in a weird place emotionally for the past few weeks. I've been thinking a lot about myself as a mother, how I'm living my life in the here and now, what kind of wife I've been lately, and other such hazardous introspective thoughts. I've been going through the vicious cycle of wanting some time alone, then getting annoyed with everyone for needing me all the time, followed by guilt for being a selfish crank bag.
One of the hard truths of motherhood is that it is NOT for the selfish. When you become a mother, you have to be willing to subordinate your desires below the needs of your children. Having the ultimate responsibility for shaping how your child feels about themselves and the world around them is a pressure that requires constant checking of self-indulgence. Mothers certainly need time to recharge their tanks in order to be able to give back to everyone else in the family. But I find myself bitter and irritated when I can't just hole up in my room and read a book or whatever else it is that I want to do, and that's just not acceptable.
When I get feeling like that I start to panic because I know I'm not being the kind of mother that my kids need. And if I can't meet the needs of the three that I have, why, WHY, would I want to have another one? In some ways it would be nice to be done because once the youngest is about 3 or 4 it would be a lot easier to do so many things. Go to other people's house without worrying the baby's going to fall down the stairs or destroy something, go on trips and know the kids can mostly entertain themselves in the car, etc. And yet, I'm not comfortable with the idea that my family is complete.
Something I've discovered pretty clearly about myself after reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is that I really thrive on verbal praise and other words of affirmation. The other night when I told Dan I wanted to go to Utah for a couple of days, he was worried I might be mad at him or something. I told him that I just felt like I was sucking at all the important things with being a wife and mother and that I needed to go commune with my women friends and get some advice and a pep talk. He came back later that night and told me he thought I was doing a good job, that he hadn't noticed me being especially cranky or anything. He pointed out a couple of stressful things in our lives and said that he'd been feeling dissatisfied, too. He said I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the housework, etc. Hearing all those words, it's amazing how that soothed me. Words of praise and encouragement are like the balm of Gilead for me.
I have noticed the past couple of days since I first started writing this post that the Spirit has been whispering to me, helping me feel more positive. Making me believe that I'm doing a pretty good job. God works in so many ways and in addition to His personal comfort, He sends people to touch our lives in just the right way at just the right time. I've talked to a couple friends this week and that has helped so much.
So what started out as a self-indulgent whining session has morphed into a sigh-of-relief-I'm-doing-OK blog post. That's one thing I love about blogging. It lets me write and work things through in my mind. It's good therapy.