Monthly Archives: September 2013

Meltdowns are pretty common right now. Most of them mine!

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(Sunday, September 29th…

Yesterday, yes, because I watched a movie with Derek and then collapsed into bed instead of finishing this post!)

To tell the truth, I’m on the edge of total burnout over here.  This mothering thing, it’s hard!  It’s a harder mission field than somewhere overseas, let me tell you.

I was crying in the shower this morning, trying to get ready for church.  I think I worried Derek!  He wanted to know if he did anything, and what he could do to make me OK.  They kinda don’t get it, those guys!  I told him no, he didn’t do anything, and no, he couldn’t do anything.  Because it was just about everything!  Nothing in particular, nothing logical.  His shoulder helps a lot though, and those big strong arms.  He told me to forget about the house, and anything else that was bothering me, because the most important things was taking care of the kids.  And I wailed, “But I don’t WANT to take care of the kids!”

There you have it.  I just didn’t want to be mother today.

I have a baby that’s completely dependent on me, and a 2 year old that’s still not very verbal, and so screams.  A lot.  He’s spoiled too.  So he screams a lot.  Did I mention that already?

Then there’s 4 other kids who need me.  Who demand my time and energy.  (Introverts don’t stockpile energy from spending time with people, they expend energy.  Just so we’re clear — I’m an introvert.)  Rightly so, since they’re my children and I’m their mother!  I’m just worn to pieces.

Reading Mother Goose gets boring after a while.  School takes up the whole week.  The dirty underwear and socks just keep coming, and I still can’t get the kids to turn their socks right side out before they throw them in the hamper.  The hamper they stuff so full with mud and sometimes wet towels that make mold, that when they finally bring the hamper downstairs and dump it out, it looks like 3 loads.  At least.  6 loads for any other washer.  (It’s a lot of clothes.)

And then I remember that I haven’t washed the sheets on any beds for weeks.  Maybe months!  The dust bunnies under the beds will probably eat my Swiffer mop if I go up there, so it’s best if I just stay downstairs.

They gotta eat, too, this crew of kids.  So in between baby and school and baby and laundry and baby… I somehow have to feed the kids a million times a day with food that tastes good to them and does good things to their bodies.  Like keep them healthy and growing strong.  (Heaven forbid they get sick.  What a nightmare for laundry!)

A million meals and snack times later, there are dirty dishes.  But the baby is awake by now, so I can’t wash the dishes.  Into my oven they go!

Yesterday was Saturday.  I love Saturday’s because it means NO SCHOOL!  I was looking forward to sitting and relaxing with a cup of coffee.  I ground the beans, and that woke the baby.  2 hours later, my coffee pot beeped off.  I flipped the switch back on, and 2 hours later, the coffee beeped off again — still in the pot!  I cried about that.

I know, I know.  First world problems.  I try to keep perspective, really I do!  But sometimes, the poop really does hit the fan.  Like, if my kids are throwing Huggies diapers into it.

And there’s spit-up on the floor.

And there’s chili on the wall and curtains, and sand on my bed.

And the kids are arguing again, and I wonder if “kindness” and “love” will ever sink into their hearts?

I went to church anyway this morning, in spite of my breakdown, and it was good.  I spent the morning in the nursing mother’s room — my “church.”  I LOVE those moms!  They remind me that we’re all in this motherhood thing together.  Every time somebody asked me how I was, I just told them.  Straight.  I told them I was burned out.  You know what?  They were tired too, and their kids were giving them plenty of opportunities to “parent” too!

It was good to know we’re in the same boat.  That assembling of the saints that God tells us not to forsake?  Yeah.  That’s my community.  I would shrivel up and die without them!  I’m not “better” yet.  I feel better now, after a day of fellowship, but tomorrow is Monday.  Tomorrow there will be more warfare.

Us parents, we’re in it for the long haul.  Every day.  And night.  For the rest of our lives!  This is why it’s maybe the most grueling mission field.  It never stops!  And Satan hates life, and especially life striving to advance God’s kingdom.  So of course he’s going to war against our family.  It’s good to know there are other warriors out there!  Carry on, my friends!

P.S.  from Monday:  My kids’ survival mode kicked in this morning.  They did laundry for me, and swept and mopped my floors!  Even my bedroom.

Birthday Letter

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September 3rd, 2013

Dear Kirstyn,

You’re 9 years old!  Happy Birthday, sweet daughter!  Sometimes 9 is old, because you’re the oldest kid around here and you help out so much in the family.  I have to remember that you are, in fact, still a kid!  You’re only 9!  Be a kid still, my darling.  I know you want to grow up and be strong and capable, because you are, but just be a kid too.  Always!  One day, some child, maybe your own, will appreciate the fact that you still know how to sit and put a puzzle together, or color a picture, or kick a ball or throw a frisbee.  You will never be too grown up to play.  Remember that!  Playing is important.  Playing with children is even more wonderful, because you guys still know how to live life.  Just LIVE. LIFE!  Mama wants to learn this every day, now, before you’re too grown up to have tea parties and color with me.

What a joy and privilege it is to be your mom.  People tell me all the time how helpful you are, and conscientious, and servant-hearted, and just an all-around pleasant child.  I always smile and say, “Yes.  Yes, she is.  She’s always like that!”  And what a wonderful trait that is, my girl, that you’re true through and through.  You don’t love some people and not others.  You love everyone you meet!  I know you still struggle with loving your brothers, but all siblings fight.  Believe me.  You can still be best friends, and it doesn’t mean you don’t love them.  I’ll be praying for you.

Your Bompa, he was always praying.  Most of all for his kids.  He still does, and it gives me great comfort, even as a grown woman, to know that my daddy is praying for me.  So honey, I promise to pray for you until I’m not living on this earth any longer.  And what delight it gives me to know that when I’m in heaven, you and I will only be separated temporarily because my heavenly Father is your Father too!

You went to that tea party a few weeks ago, at Cecily’s house.  She asked all the girls if they knew what their names meant, and you did.  My “Christian” warrior!  You wear that name with pride, and I pray that you always do!  What an honor to bear the name of Christ.  You bear it on your heart as well as on paper.

You had another sibling born this year, our baby Mercy.  You, of course, stepped up to the plate once again!  What would I do without you?  Really.  I’d be a lot more tired, that’s for sure!  You’ve faithfully gotten up with Zach in the morning, these past 6 weeks, so I could sleep until Mercy woke up.  You rarely complain about the laundry and dishes I ask you to help with, and what a trooper you are with the fragmented school schedule right now!

I love having more grown up conversations with you.  Like our trip back from Rosie’s office, where we talked about birth control and sex.  Or me explaining the “milkman’s kid” principle.  (Thanks, Daddy, for telling that joke in front of our kids!)

I love that you trust me enough to ask questions.  I hope you always do!  I will always be honest and open with you, because I don’t want to hand that privilege off to somebody else, or the internet.

I know that you may have been fibbing just a wee, tiny bit when you told me I was perfect, but thank you!  It did this mama heart good to hear that you were happy with me.  Remember?  I asked you if there was anything I could do different as a mother, that would be better.  I asked if I should try loving you a different way (we talked about the 5 love languages), and you kept assuring me, “No, you’re perfect, Mom!  You do everything just right.”  You are SOOOOOOO sweet!

I love our Parenthood dates every fall.  I love watching you develop friendships. I love watching you cook, and invent your own recipes, like wild onion soup, and lavender/mint/red raspberry tea.  I love learning about weeds with you.  You light up when you learn about plants — there’s just no other way to describe it!  I love that you’re our family herbalist.

You made me a mother for the very first time, and what a perfect gift that was!  I would not trade this journey through life, with you as my firstborn daughter, for anything else in the world.  YOU, my girl, are the perfect daughter for me.  I love being your mom.  I love watching you change from child into woman.  PLEASE take your time!  Go easy on me.  You handle yourself with such grace and confidence, and I am so proud of you!

Remember how when you were just 2 years old, you’d plop down, pat the ground next to you and say, “Let’s have a chat!”  Oh girl, don’t ever stop.  Don’t ever stop inviting me into your life.  I love chatting with you!  I’ll make mistakes, but you’ll always be my girl and I will always love you.