Honestly, I don’t think of my life being one that’s great or blog-worthy. I especially don’t think of my writing as such, but I’ll try my hardest to express from my heart my story.
I am a mother of four children. I had my fourth baby a couple weeks before my oldest turned 5. I remember when my husband and I were engaged and I emphatically said over and over that I wanted to make sure our children had enough space between them. I would say, “they can be no closer than 2 years apart.” L. O. L. As soon as my first was born I had a hankering for a second. 18 months later he was here. Then we had a small break and just over two years later my third baby came. About a month before she was born I had a dream that there was another baby ready to come to our family. So, she came 15 months later.
I often say that my 4th had to come when she did because I would have thrown in the towel had she not. And she is such a blessing. I’m so glad she’s in our home.
So, one year ago I found myself falling into a deep depression. My life was in tremendous chaos (both good and bad) and I felt numb. I didn’t cry for over 6 months. The words in my head were full of anger and hate and bitterness. I was not finding any enjoyment in my full- time job as a mother and I was becoming more and more upset with myself for being so “horrible.” I feel lucky because instead of continuing to believe these things, I remembered a time when I was truly happy and I knew that it was possible to be so again. Over the past year I’ve been to counseling and have opened myself up to anyone and everyone who would be willing to listen. For me, talking was such a great way to feel better. To recognize what I was feeling vs. what was truth and to see it for what it was helped me in so many ways. I’ve tried as hard as I could to erase the “ugly words” from my inner dialogue and instead focus on the good.
One day my older sister put my view of being a “horrible mother” into a much better perspective. She said to me, “I’m pretty sure a ‘horrible mother’ does drugs in front of her children and never interacts with them. So even though my kids sat in front of a TV screen for probably too much time today, I’m making them lunch that we will eat together and I’m not doing drugs in front of them so I’m not a horrible mother.”
So, I agree. I am not a horrible mother. But I also recognize that it is important to find small ways to improve. Improvements and progress make me feel like I am actively trying to live a good life.
Another facet of motherhood for me and maybe for many others is loneliness. I left my husband with two of the kids (the other two went to nana and papa’s house) while I traveled from Boise to Arkansas with my mom and siblings to see my dying grandmother (that’s a whole other story for another time). Within 48 hours of me leaving him he called one day, “Deb, how do you do this? I mean, this is hard, and it’s not just watching the kids, it’s that I’m feeling so alone. I never knew it could be so lonely for you.”
I do find myself aching for good adult conversation. Then when I have it, I stumble because I no longer have the attention span I used to due to constantly feeling like I’m juggling 2 conversations whilst changing diapers and making dinner simultaneously.
Recently I found myself engaged in a terrific conversation with one of my high school friends. During our conversation we each had our moments of kissing boo boos, stopping WWIII between siblings, shushing a baby, and repeatedly refusing to give snacks because “WE JUST ATE LUNCH.”
This conversation was one of my more recent “game changers.” I opened up to her and said, “I just don’t feel that deep desire to achieve greatness like we did in High School. It was easy then, I knew what I wanted and I knew what I should do to achieve it and I wanted it desperately. I don’t feel like I have that conviction anymore.”
To which she responded, “I know, me too.”
And I was SHOCKED. There was NO way that she (who is practically perfect in my opinion) had the same misgivings that I had. NO WAY. But it is true, she’s not perfect and she did. And she shared with me this gem. “Deb, when we were in High School we were constantly at the “well.” We had such great friends and we strengthened each other constantly. We had scripture study during free-time in our high school classes. We had seminary (religion classes) daily. We were constantly drinking deeply from the well. And now we’re not there anymore and we have so many little ones using up our resources and our personal wells need us to fill them. We can no longer count on there being a well provided for us by others. We need to work to fill our own and to strengthen ourselves because now we’re expected to give so much with so little given in return.”
And since this conversation, I’ve taken it upon myself to find hope in improvement. Am I cured? NO. Am I the greatest mom who ever lived? Absolutely not. Am I horrible? No. But I am a mother who feels desperately worn out and now who recognizes the important need to improve and to make time for myself and who needs to fill my well. It’s the small things that really help. I have prayed more since the conversation. I have studied scriptures more since then. I have sought deeply for peace inside. And, it’s there, whispering to me, reminding me that a happier, less negative, less depressed version of me has existed and can exist again. And I know that it’s possible because of Christ. I don’t understand all that He has done for me, but I know He loves me.
Story written by: Debra Bliss
This story appeared first on Real Imprints.