17 Jul '15
Thwarting my motherhood burnout… I don’t take credit completely for this post.  There have been dozen’s of women who have [...]

Thwarting my motherhood burnout…

I don’t take credit completely for this post.  There have been dozen’s of women who have influenced these words that I type.  However, this post has been triggered by a story related to me by a wonderful neighbor–we will call her ‘Jane’  (Isn’t that the type of name we are supposed to use when we are protecting identity) 🙂    She had stopped by another neighbor’s house, (we will call her Tracy because I am having a hard time thinking of names that AREN’T in my neighborhood)  at about 9am one morning to drop off something and to see how things were going.  You see, ‘Tracy’ was pregnant with her 5th baby and certainly had her hands full!   Jane felt badly about having to drop in so relatively early in the morning, and fully expected to see Tracy come to the door in old sweats with her hair undone and probably someone’s breakfast smeared on her shirt.  (Yep…probably what she would have found if she had dropped by MY house!)  Instead, Tracy opened the door looking like she was ready to go out on a ladies lunch date!  Her hair was beautiful, her make-up fresh, and her eyes bright and radiant.  Jane was so amazed that she even commented about her previous expectation, and asked if she was heading out the door somewhere.  “No,” Tracy responded, “There may be times when I am not very put together, but I want my kids to know that this is the job I chose and I take it just as seriously as if I were going out into the world for work everyday.”

Now, STOP, anyone who is reading this in an old t-shirt and messy bun who is heading down a self-disparaging shame track right now…this post is NOT about looking perfect all the time!  Okay, tell yourself that you are beautiful and please continue…

When Jane related the story to me, one phrase in Tracy’s words stuck with me…

                                                                          “I want my kids to know that this is the job I chose.”

Now, STOP, anyone who is reading this and is a working Mom and is heading down that all too accessible shame track.  This post is NOT about whether you need to work out of the home or not.

So what IS this post about?  This post is about how YOU feel about your role as a mother–and how you show that to your family.  I will leave you to your own self-evaluating, but share with you a few of my own musings as I have thought about this phrase over and over…

One night I had this phrase nearly knock me out with not the most pleasant revelation. (Yes, it was probably God gently teaching me a little lesson by bringing the phrase into my mind…He generally works in that way with me.)  To lay a little background info for you, my husband works late most nights, and I usually am the one putting the kiddos to bed.  By the end of the day, I am more often than not, quite tired and very ready to have a little time to regroup (or recoup…)  This night was like many others where I felt my patience wearing thin and my tone getting a little ‘snippity.’  (My computer says that ‘snippity’ is not a word, but I’m sure you know what I mean.)  I was walking into my bedroom to find another diaper because my little one had pooped in her diaper just minutes after I had changed her and put her in her pajama’s.  (Of course there were not any more diapers to be found in her room-so I had to go on an unwelcome hunt to find more.)  At that same moment my toddler was throwing a fit about not being able to put on her pajama’s (which she certainly CAN…) and my 6 year-old was racing a car down the walls in the hallway…apparently completely forgetting that he was supposed to be getting ready for bed!  The three older girls were still downstairs because I told them they had to get the kitchen cleaned up from dinner…but there was contention that I could hear about “who had done more…etc.”  I was tired, had a crazy bad headache and was right on the cusp of my “completely loose-it” point.  It most certainly was a blessing that I had to go looking for a diaper because it gave me a reason to walk away from everything for a moment, and hear the words come to my head, “This is the Job I chose.”  I then had an interesting thought follow…

                                                     IF this was REALLY a “PAID PROFESSIONAL” job, what would I do in this situation?  If I was a Nanny or Caregiver, and expected to give these kids the best of me at all times, -and would be held accountable for how well I cared for these kids, how would I handle all this?  

The paradigm shift changed my mood instantly.  I was able to take a deep breath and honestly tell myself that if that were ‘back in my old Nanny days’ and had been in a moment like that, I would have put on a smile, used a gentler tone, and despite exasperation, gotten the bedtime routine completed ASAP in the best way I could.  So, with a prayer of gratitude mixed with a plea for added fortitude and kindness, I was able to turn that night’s bedtime routine into a ‘success’ instead of a miserable ‘failure.’

Later that night, with more of a clear mind, I had a ‘follow-up’ thought come to mind:

 I REALLY am just a ‘Caregiver’ to these kids…they are not mine, they are His.   They do deserve the best of me, and I will be held accountable in some way for how well I care for them.

I believe we have a very kind and merciful God who understands our shortcomings and is not going to berate us for not being ‘our best’ all the time.  But this line of thought really affected me…  

Since then I have had other moments, moments of ‘motherhood burnout,’ where I have consciously said to myself: “This is the Job I chose” and “I have been entrusted with these kids…”

I am still FAR from perfect…but the reminder of the significance of what I am doing day in and day out has made a big difference, especially when things are particularly challenging…and in the words of my Grandpa:

“Any Job worth doing, is worth doing well…”

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