Honestly, I didn’t know what to write about today. Finally, in the last minutes of the day, I click on my go-to podcast, The God-Centered Mom, to listen while doing laundry and cleaning up from the day. One of the titles is “A Safe Place to Share Messy Stories”, and suddenly, it hits me. That’s the purpose of this blog. So… rather than trying to find something witty or uber-meaningful to share, I must tell you about my weekend. A weekend from you know where…(I am SO glad you feel me, Kelsey!)On Friday, it started to show. He looked flush. He mentioned being overheated, tired…he had been in the bathroom a lot. Yep. By 8pm, it was official. My husband was sick. Flu sick. Unfortunately, we discovered this while volunteering at our night cafe, open 7pm to midnight on the weekends. We also found out that the late shift volunteer wasn’t going to show. So, I pushed him out the door with the kiddos and stayed to finish out the night- I may or may not have been on caffeine at the time. Still, Battle #1: Conquered. Nailed it. Done.
Saturday morning. In the wee hours, my daughter is up with night terrors. After three wake ups, she is in our bed. My 3 month old is in the bassinet next to the bed, on the verge of waking for night feeds any minute. Less than an hour later, my toddler’s feet are at my head. Literally. My better half takes her back to her bed. My next wake up is to the sound of my husband getting sick in the hall bathroom. Ugh. Battles #2,3,4: Inconclusive.
Daytime brings no relief. I am disinfecting everything and trying not to let my husband see my very obvious annoyance. I quarantine him to bed and visit with cold wash cloths and Ginger Ale. I take care of the kids, who decide to nap at opposite times. A mixed blessing: I can focus on each one, but I get no down time. Halfway through the day, I am plowing through, but the realization hits me: I didn’t get a day off.
Y’all know what I am saying, right? (P.S. I am not from the South, but I find the expression “y’all” extremely useful. I adopted it early on and have been using it for ten years now, since moving to Tennessee) But really, Husband’s day off is my day off! I have a teammate all day long on that day. It doesn’t matter what we do, we are in it together! Now he is down for the count, and I have my kids alone for even longer than I normally do.
I did okay. Really. I didn’t let him see my building frustration. Until Sunday. He seemed fine…until he wasn’t. It started to become clear: he would be staying home from church…then work as well. I’m pretty sure I slammed drawers while doing my makeup. I made sure he knew I was unhappy in every way I could. Finally, I even said: “I feel like a widow or single mom sometimes.” Super immature. Untrue. Insensitive (so sorry to any single moms or widows reading this). And I knew almost immediately. Self-pity. Battle #5: I lost the war.
Self-pity gets me way too often. I almost need a Self-pity Anonymous group or something. It’s addictive, toxic, and I can’t seem to shake it. I show this ugly side to my family because the lie that “I deserve more” or the feeling of being deprived of a “right” eats away at me. Suddenly, I am justified in my bad mood, low comments to my husband, and extra sugar in any form. Then the cycle starts: “I am a horrible wife, mom, person…” And that is where I sit, wheels spinning, until I just get distracted, sleep, or on the rare occasion, bring it to God.
This time around, it happened to be a Sunday. I went to church and was fairly unmoved in my heart- easy to do when you refuse to accept the grace of God. Then someone shared a similar struggle and that her child had prayed over her: “Lord, help Mommy not to believe the lies.” Things started to shift in my mind.
My mind is my safe place or escape zone. I make jokes of situations and try to laugh at things. I plan and organize. Yet, I also let in this negative self talk, and these self pity voices are part of that, along with the shame voices. I need 2 things: A mute button and a positive, rock solid voice.
That is what Christ died to give us. My heart wells up even as I type that. He put the remote back in our hands. We CAN hit the mute button. We can change the channel to His voice and His Word. Just knowing that gives me hope and a sense of freedom. I don’t have to continue down this dark path. I don’t have to feel hopeless and tired. I can break free through His Spirit! His Spirit is so much more beautiful to dwell on!
I have already written a ton more than I expected, but if you want more on this idea, check out this episode on the God-Centered Mom. No lie- I listened to this AFTER writing the bit about wishing for a Self-pity Anonymous group!
Love you, Mommas! Let’s jump off the self-pity train together- not because we don’t deserve more, but because that thought or obsession can bring death. We need life, and Christ promised just that.