In the Thick of It
Updated: Apr 16, 2019
This question has been haunting me the last few weeks after I published my last blog post. Now that I've finished telling my Postpartum story, what now? There are a million and one things that I could write about but I have been struggling with that unattainable goal of writing "the perfect follow-up" that will keep readers engaged while also being relevant to what I've been writing about this whole time - my journey into motherhood.
~ Eventually I reached the realization that the point isn't that I write about the right topic because as long as what I write is authentic and real, than it doesn't actually matter what it's about or how many people read it!! ~
Don't get me wrong - I do want people (including you!) to read this, but if I allow myself to define what I write by an arbitrary (and false) voice in my head that's trying to compete with the likes of all those other bloggers/influencers/authors like Jenna Kutcher or Brene Brown or Rachel Hollis, well I might as well just stop while I'm ahead.
**Not because it's not possible - but because it's just not me.**
My life is different, my story is different, my purpose is different; and regardless of how many people follow me online, my journey is still relevant and worth writing about because it is making a positive difference in my life.
SO. I'm just going to share what life is like right now as a mother - life after Post-Partum Anxiety, so to speak. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I'm still taking medications to keep me in a good place. And I'm really thankful for that, because plain and simple: I'd rather be on medication in a good place than not on medication in a bad place. This is just part of my life now and while I could sit around all day wishing it wasn't, I literally don't even have time for that because I am in the thick of it. The thick of what? The thick of parenting, working, living, moving on, planning for the future, etc. And let me tell you - it is THICK in here!!! Not a day goes by that I sit down at the end of it and wonder how that all happened so fast - waking up, getting the kids to school/daycare, going to work, doing work, picking kids up, getting home to make supper and do homework, get the kids ready for bed, attempt to do something that I personally am interested in/spend time with David, keep the house in some form of livable shape, go to sleep. Now, you'll reflect that that list does not even include if there are activities to get to or children who are screaming/crying or friends to spend time with or even walking our dogs.
~ By "thick in here" I mean it kind of feels like I'm walking through a really dense forest and instead of there being a clearly designated path in front of me, there is a very faint indication of a path that has trees and shrubs and creek-beds all over it. You try to stick to the path but essentially you're just making it up as you go along - the point is more to go in the right direction than to stick to the exact path (in the case of parenthood, generally you're trying to head towards love and safety, LOL). Often you can feel the refreshing breeze through the breaks in the trees, but sometimes you feel suffocated by the closeness of things around you. Sometimes it's a little too much to handle and you have to just sit and breathe and pray a lot. ~
While I have moments of wishing it wasn't so hectic and busy and always go-go-go, I am also recognizing that this is only a season - a chapter of motherhood, just as my PPA was. It's wild and crazy and sometimes really really stressful. But it's also incredibly joyful, humbling, exciting, and exactly where I want to be! Right now I celebrate the fact that I am mentally well enough to enjoy this thick and busy season because I am always recalling that there were times when I was not well enough. I am so genuinely grateful to God that He gave me the strength to push through all of that messy stuff in order to have what we have now. We could have stopped having children after Beth - even considered it - because dealing with PPA was awful. We absolutely considered stopping after Alice. But I am so beyond thankful that we didn't. I know those other versions of my life would have been wonderful too, but I really really really like this version. Those other versions would also likely look a lot less busy and much more schedule-friendly, but I actually embrace the chaos that's happening right now (most days, LOL) because it means we are all living life together. We're watching Beth learn so well at school, we're witnessing Alice develop her oh-so-unique personality, we're addicted to every smile that Thomas offers us, we're marveling at each other as husband and wife for co-creating these tiny humans, AND also enjoying being adults at work with purpose and passion.
Now, do not get me wrong...someday I do hope that we can integrate a little more calmness and sensibility into our daily lives. I typically am not a thrive-on-chaos type of person (neither is David - despite his extremely easy-going demeanor) so this season absolutely has it's major challenges.
We're late a lot.
We don't always wake up on the right side of the bed.
We forget to eat fruit and vegetables often.
We don't walk our dogs nearly enough.
We let the dishes pile up on the counter far longer than preferred.
We always have at least 3 loads of laundry to do.
We haven't cleaned our basement in weeks.
I definitely won't sugar-coat things: there is no doubt that this current stage of life is pretty hard to keep up with while also trying to have a good attitude about it. There are plenty of days where I am counting the minutes until bedtime or where I need to hide myself under a blanket for a second of peace - that's just part of raising little ones. I think every mom (and dad) feels this way during every stage of parenthood and while our subconscious tries to make us feel guilty for those moments, we can't let that old-liar win.
~ Rather than spending my extremely precious time tallying up those times I lost my cool as some act of penance (which actually ends up translating to punishment for my kids and husband because of my sour mood), I do my best to offer myself grace for those moments and instead recall the many other times that I have been a loving, caring and fun mother. ~
I'm certainly not perfect and daily fight a battle within myself to not listen to the negative self-talk that speaks far too loudly than it should. I just know I'm trying to do better, by the grace of a forgiving Savior.
But despite the thickness of where we are now, I have hope that some day in the not-so-distant future we will have more time to just be. To have the space and time to live without the pressure of something always happening next. But that season isn't right now and maybe it isn't even going to be the next season (or two). Instead of trying to create order in a time of life that is naturally chaotic I have been working towards leaning into this glorious mess and trying my best not to miss out on too much of it. Because while this season is nuts - it isn't going to last long. Honest to God, if there is anything I have learned about motherhood over the last 6.5 years it is that all those cheesy, cliche sayings are ACTUALLY SO TRUE!!! "The days are long but the years are short!" "Enjoy it now, it goes by so fast!" "You'll miss this when it's over!" Seriously...these things our parents and grandparents say are crazy accurate and it makes me want to cry fairly regularly because I just wish time would slow-the-frick-down!!!
~ But time does not slow down, not even for a millisecond, so I can either mourn the beautiful days that have come and gone or I can savor the beautiful ones that I'm experiencing right now. It's a daily choice to choose the latter but I am so glad that I get to make it - because I haven't always been able to make that choice. ~
And I also know that we are not promised a new day and so each day is a gift with my darling children and loving husband. I don't want to get past this season and realize that because it made me uncomfortable and tired I just wished it away. Instead I want to remember these days and think of them fondly as an amazing part of the journey, while also taking a minute (or 30 seconds if I can't spare the full minute, LOL) to be thankful for the part of the journey that I am currently in. A movie that I absolutely love and never get tired of is "About Time". If you haven't watched it before than go now and watch it - you won't regret it at all! It's great for so many reasons (great British actors, awesome soundtrack, lovable characters, etc.) but the main reason I love it is because it's this huge slap in the face reminder: time is so incredibly precious. The mundane is what truly matters. Do not forget to pay attention to every moment of your life. There is no redo button. And while I fully believe in and look forward to heaven, I want to also live this life I've been given with joy and compassion and humility and contentment.
Because I also wholeheartedly believe that there is purpose for all of us here on earth - even before the glorious heaven part.
God made us to be HERE.
On this planet.
With these people.
Among His creation.
Regardless of where we live, what we do, what places we visit, how much money we have in the bank, or how many children we do or don't have: God made all of us to Love NOW. To care about TODAY. To offer grace DAILY.
We are all called to Hope for tomorrow.
But we are also called to Live for today.
So whatever season you are finding yourself in - parenthood, singlehood, loss, unemployment, living your dream, retirement, mental illness, sickness, pregnancy, etc. - I encourage you to lean into it. Even if it's really hard. Lean into the emotions of it, lean into the activity (or lack-there-of) of it, lean into the reality of it. This is only a season, friend, and whatever comes next is not something we can predict or have control over.
Find the joy that is waiting for you in this season...that is waiting for you in this day. It might only be the tiniest sliver of joy but it is there - I promise! God is there in both the shadows and the sunshine and He will help you find the joy if you're willing to seek it.
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