Tag Archives: motherhood

A lesson on contentment

We are THAT house! My husband had spent hours just two weeks ago organizing our garage and I couldn’t even get through it today to pull out some of my son’s toys. Our house was so clean the moment we walked in from our camping trip! But it didn’t stay that way…all our dirty laundry, all the dishes, all the kid’s stuff quickly turned it back to “normal”, and some days it’s all too much and drives me batty. Some days, I just want so badly for everything to be nice and tidy and stay that way…but this is where we are.

We are also THAT house that has a constant stream of children of all ages. And I flat out love it. They are not inside watching tv or playing video games. They are running around outside playing hide and seek tag, or playing “baby world” in the garage, or Barbies, or catching toads, or jumping on trampolines or spying on older/younger siblings, or crafting or coloring or building forts inside someone’s house.

I absolutely love that my kids friends get excited to tell me something. They like being here. I like them being here. Our house may not be updated or have nice furniture and I may feel like I constantly clean the same messes, but I doubt my kids friends even care.

We have the kind of community in this neighborhood that I wouldn’t trade for the nicest house in Beverly Hills. My kids friends’s moms have become my friends and we raise each other up and help each other out. And when my daughter’s friend lost her grandpa this year that was raising her (so he was really like a father to her), we all tried to surround the family with support. When we found out a couple weeks ago it was his birthday and she invited us all over at 8 pm during the week to sing happy birthday to him and eat cake, we hurried over.

None of us live perfect lives or have perfect houses (or homes) but we have a lot of heart. I could spend all my time cleaning and organizing and shooing my kids and their friends away, but I choose to accept some of the chaos that goes along with having kids.

Another neighbor and I were talking this morning about the chaos of it all and the feeling of never being caught up. I admitted I have to remind myself this is only a season. She pointed out correctly it’s likely 10 years at least like this. Very true. So I had better learn to get content with it then, right?

I have a really long ways to go. I crave order to the chaos and it really is a stress to me when things feel so out of hand. So I’m learning a lesson in contentment. My kids are happy and we have great people surrounding us. What does it matter if these things get put on the back burner for a few years (or 10!). If I can learn to just be content, even when things are not as buttoned up as I want them to be, it will do a great deal for my happiness. When we’re not content in our own lives, we start to compare. We see what others have that we want and it drains us of our own happiness.

There’s so much joy in appreciating where you are now.

There’s a story in the New Testament of Martha and Mary and I didn’t like the story at first because it’s so relatable.

Jesus is traveling and Martha invites Him into her home with other guests. Her sister Mary is there and Martha runs around doing all the work while her sister sits there just listening to Jesus speak.

Any other moms out there planned a birthday party at your home and felt like Martha before with your husbands? You’re running around, cleaning the house, buying the groceries and preparing all the food! At the party, you’re noticing what chip bowl needs to be refilled and someone asks for something and then someone else spills something and you try to catch your husband’s eye to signal you need a hand and he’s just chatting away and totally oblivious to all that’s going on?

So I totally could relate to how Martha was feeling. She gets mad. And then she boldly even tells Jesus to tell her sister to help her!

Jesus says to Martha in response: “Martha, Martha,” and then He continues, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:38-42

Wow! The first time I read it, it was actually quite shocking to me. Of course, now I understand and I see so many times my heart is like Martha instead of like Mary’s.

So I live each day trying to focus on the important things and be content enough with the less important things. There is ALWAYS work to be done. But these moments with your kids and family will not last forever.

Last night, my husband and oldest were at soccer practice and I had piles upon piles of folded laundry on top of the kitchen table from our camping trip. I could have moved it all off but I decided it would just be easier to take our dinner out to the back deck. This of course, was a disaster because my 21 month old and 5 year old took a few bites of food and then just wanted to play.

I sat up on the back deck, it was a gorgeous night. I watched my 5 year old helping her little brother up the ladder to the play set. He was pretty good on his own anyway but she took absolute care in making sure of it. They giggled and played and she helped him on the two person swing and I just sat there watching them. It was pretty cool seeing them play like that just the two of them and getting to see my middle take on the role of big sister. She owned it.

After I finished eating, I knew I should go clean up but I sat there watching the two of them instead. In that moment I felt like I chose right.

So, the house being tidy and organized and updated is not important. I choose being the house with love and warmth and chose time with family and people. And I’m doing my best to let the rest go.

3 months

Wouldn’t you know it that after I wrote my whole last blog post about how I somewhat enjoyed going back to work, things would get real crazy real fast!

My poor baby got sick for the first time. In my head I know that its something we all must go through and ultimately it will build her immune system and all that good stuff. Still, it doesn’t matter who you are, the first time your little baby is sick is awful. She woke up kind of congested on Sunday morning but otherwise seemed to be her normal self. Sunday night after we put her to bed in her room was it all got bad real fast!

She was so congested she kept waking herself up every hour! She was crying like I haven’t heard her doing before and she just sounded awful. I picked her up and tried suctioning out the snot with the little bulb thing (that it seems like all babies HATE) to which she would cry harder. Nursing her was the only way to get her to calm down and fall back to sleep so I nursed her whenever she woke up (which was way more frequent than every 2 hours). I felt awful. It just hurt me so much to see her feeling like that and know that there was little I could do to help her. At some point during the night (probably around 3 am) I just grabbed my pillows and a blanket and started sleeping on the floor next to her crib. I just wanted to be able to soothe her the instant she woke up. I couldn’t take away her discomfort but I could hold her and just let her know that someone loves her more than she loves herself! My heart just broke and I realized in those awful moments just how much I love this little sweetheart.

I was supposed to run my next 5K that morning and since Tim and I were both up a lot during the night we talked about it and he offered to keep her home and watch her so that I could go and race. I planned to do that but did not anticipate how strongly I would feel that I just needed to be with her and not leave her side. I knew that if I raced I’d be gone for at least a couple hours and she’d probably have to take a bottle and I didn’t want her to. She’s more comforted by nursing so I just wanted to be able to give that to her. As I sat there crying while rocking her at 7 am in our bathroom with the door closed and the shower running so the steam could help clear her nose I realized the intensity of my love for her was beyond what I could have ever imagined. It’s the only completely unselfish, unconditional love that I feel exists in that way. The longest that I left her side that day was the 6 minutes I was in the shower. I didn’t run and I didn’t care that I didn’t run. Nothing was as important to me that day as being there for her.

We gave her some acetometaphen and that seemed to help her a lot. By Sunday evening she seemed to be feeling much better. Once again though, when night came it was a whole different story. She was up every 2 hours. On Tuesday morning she had a fever so we knew we couldn’t bring her to day care. Tim stayed home with her and took excellent care of her while I went to work. I offered to work through my lunch and do what I could to get home early and it was Tim that told me that it was going to be ok and that I should go running on my lunch break; he could handle it. I felt guilty, but I ran and realized how much I needed the release.

Besides feeling awful that your baby is sick (and from going to daycare because you chose to go to work) I also was exhausted. Even before I went to work she started getting up between 3 and 4 am for a feeding again and I had a hard time falling back asleep so I was already starting to go into major sleep debt. But the 1-2 hours meant that I was getting maybe 2-3 broken hours of sleep per night. Its really easy during these times to panic and feel like the world is crashing down and wonder how you are ever going to survive. So mentally I had to tell myself over and over again “This too shall pass…”. I know that we are deep in the trenches of parenthood and its really tough but it won’t last forever.

Selfishly, I think about things that I want to do that I may not be able to until she’s a little older and I can get frustrated and impatient. Pregnancy seemed like it was so long and that I kept telling myself that after she was born I could again start racing and wroking hard on my career. Now it seems like I’m again feeling like those things will need to cool on the back burner for a little while longer. She’s worth the sacrifices, no question. She’s worth it all and there is NOTHING I wouldn’t do or wouldn’t give up for my baby. Ultimately, she is THE ONLY priority. Just because this is a fact, doesn’t mean that its easy for me to let some things go.

After going the whole pregnancy without doing workouts or racing I was really anxious to get back into shape this summer and even try to run another marathon by next fall. I have the support of my excellent husband 100%, but its different now. I thought I would be able to let Tim take care of her while I ran and did workouts and races but now that I’m here I am finding its getting harder and harder to leave her (even though I know she’s in EXCELLENT CARE!) especially when she really needs me.

I will get there. I guess I just need to plan for the unexpected now and realize that I need to be completely flexible with all my goals. I feel very fortunate to have my job. My co-workers and boss are great and I know that if she’s sick or something comes up, I can leave at any time to go take care of her and finish my work after she goes to bed or over the weekend or whenever I can, just as long as it gets done. Not all positions or companies allow that flexibility. So while I appreciate that aspect of my job I also know I’m not completely fulfilled or challenged enough (my boss knows I feel this way and we talk about it often and he’s been very encouraging about helping me find other opportunities within the company) so I want to find something that really allows me to grow. Though I know that with a change I could lose some of that flexibility and its scary.

So this is where I’m at right now. Taking one day at a time and trying to just do the best I can in every area with the “mom” role being the MOST IMPORTANT.