Monday, May 11, 2009

Confessing failure

Too often I'm caught in the trap of pretending everything is fine and I'm doing a dandy good old job at keeping everything together. It seems almost like a competition, especially in the attachment parent circles, to prove how well we're doing.

Like, as soon as you get together with the AP girls, make sure to get rid of the disposable diapers in the diaper bag and replace them with the fuzzi bunz. And don't bring the stroller with you - what would everyone think? Make sure to only bring a sling, and keep your child in there as long as possible. Remember to breastfeed each child at least once in front of everyone else and if anyone asks how you are, don't just say "fine", but instead say "fantastic!" with added enthusiasm.

I'm so guilty of it myself. And I secretly feel relieved when I spot a disposable diaper or a non-organic banana from walmart in amongst their belongings.

We're all just trying to do our best. I think we need to admit our failures more often, so others can see that we're not alone in slipping up sometimes. It doesn't mean we should just give up trying, or that we're less of a mother because we didn't do things exactly the way the Sears book said we should.

So in the spirit of encouraging the community of well meaning mothers...I have some confessions of my own. I'm having a hard time right now. I'm sure it's just a phase. A season. As I write this, I am incredibly sleep deprived, which I know severely alters my perception. I'm sure things aren't as difficult as they feel at this moment.

I felt fantastic during my pregnancy with Turtle. I love how balanced I feel when I'm pregnant. I feel in touch with my emotions, I feel feminine and womanly, I feel important and special, and I get fantastic energy boosts with the nesting instinct. My house looked great through most of the pregnancy. And for the first few months afterwards I was riding on the birth high. I had such a great birth experience and such a peaceful baby, and life seemed at an ultimate high.

Maybe what I'm having right now is a let down. Maybe still crazy hormones as I am almost 8 months postpartum. I've never had PPD before, and I sure hope I'm not heading that way this time...

I feel a bit stuck in a rut just now. Maybe over the past 4-5 weeks or so.

My house has been getting messier and messier, especially after I had my teeth pulled and had a week where I got nothing done. It hasn't recovered from that yet.

I'm behind in the homeschooling, especially with Kaya. I mean, she does fine, but I had a schedule for myself and I'm no where near where I want to be with it.

I've spent too many days in my jammies all day.

I've yelled at my kids too much. I've let them watch way more crap on Netflix than I'm at all happy with.

I've started drinking soda again.

I haven't made my own bread in about 3 weeks, since we've been getting our bread from food net.

Rene and I are bickering too much and not making up enough.

I haven't been reading my bible enough.

I need a kick start to get back on track. I need motivation. I'm loving the sunshine and the beautiful weather, but it hasn't been enough to give me the energy I need. I had a super busy weekend, other than a few hours we spend relaxing at my friend's farm in the sunshine, we were pretty much on the go a lot. I got a maximum of 2 hours sleep on Saturday night, had a bit of a crappy day on Sunday, then got little sleep again last night. I'm pretty sure every fluid in our whole house, bottled or bodily, has been spilled today, and every towel has been used up. I've had at least one child mad at me or a sibling at any given moment today. I'm just tired and weary.

And I am the sort of person who goes through phases. I'll jump in to super mom mode again here one of these days (soon...surely?!) and I'll try to compensate for doing poorly before, and then I'll exhaust all my resources again and fall into another slump. It's my flaw, I'm not great with balance. I hope I'm at least doing right by the kids, and not completely ruining them.

Feel free to tell me I don't sound any worse than the next person, and that everyone shares these struggles and I'm actually doing great! *hint*. I do thrive on encouragement. And sleep. Sleep would help too.


allenaim photography and design said...

me too////me three and four and five and six :)

Blessedw5mom said...

Ahhh ... its amazing what sleep might help. Sleep and prayer and scripture... trust me, as a mom who has been through the throws of ppd several times. But also, try not to expect too much from yourself ... you are out numbered after all. ;-)

Herb of Grace said...

I'm so sorry :( I do know exactly how you feel. I think every single mom feels this way at least 40% of the time. And it's always hardest during that first year. I always tell my new mom friends to just hang in there till the little monkey gets down to one nap a day. There's something magical about that one simple schedule change it's like you get your life and normal personality back all at once.

Jo said...

I'm going through something similar so I can sympathize. I've added a B complex vitamin to my routine as well as Vitamin D AND C as I've heard that it helps. I *did* actually feel up to making dinner after work so I'm wondering if it helped.

Hang in there! *hugs*

Snobound said...

I can't say that I understand what you're going through, but I do know that we all have our ups and our downs. Life is so cyclical. I will keep you in my prayers this week. You're a great mother, and the kids adore you. There will be loads of sunshine when you reach the edge of this forest, I promise. Don't lose heart.

Laura said...

Oh sweet Niecey, you bring tears to my eyes. I confess, that I too, let my kids watch too much crap on TV, I let the housework slide because I'm tired and have no motivation, and I'm not sweet enough to my children or husband. I've been cooking far too little because it's more convenient to go get stuff off the dollar menu at McDonald's or Wendy's. I don't read my Bible enough and I get stressed out so I just try to spend my time in front of the computer because it's the easiest way to feel good about MYSELF, but that lets my kids/house/husband suffer.

You, my dear, are a blessing to me, and an inspiration. I am thankful for your blog and our chats on facebook and such. (And your photography advice!)

What with me and the kids being sick with ear infections, strep throat, and roseola over the last month - I was behind in my housework too. My parents came to visit for a few days (they just left yeserday) and even though I cleaned mostly all day the two days before they got here, I still had an entire counter of dirty dishes (like 3 or 4 days worth!) and 6 loads of laundry laying clean on the couch that needed to be folded and another 3 or 4 loads that needed to be washed.

I stayed up the night they got here and did the dishes. Then my mom helped me overhaul the laundry - we put away stuff the kids are too big for, folded everything, reorganized their drawers, switched out summer for winter, etc. It would have taken me DAYS if not WEEKS to accomplish all that. Having her there to help me really boosted my motivation to help keep things clean.

So, I propose that THAT is what you need. Someone to come in from the outside and HELP you get caught up. It's hard to admit failure, it's hard to admit you need help, it's hard to allow someone to see how far behind you've gotten -- but you are a humble gal and have already done all these things. :)

If I lived there, I would be there in a heartbeat - YESTERDAY! Even now, I'm trying to think how it could be possible to run up there for a week or so and help. Matt and I will think on it and talk about it, and we'll see what we can't do. If nothing else - anyone reading this comment who lives near you should offer to pitch in. Even if all they do is pop over for a couple of hours to help you with your dishes or pick up all the kids' toys or take them to the park, or bring you an already cooked dinner so you don't have to cook and clean up for one night.

I've discovered that it is the small bits of help I get from others that most lifts me up and stirs me out of a depression. A card, a smile, a hug, or especially some practical help. Someone seeing that I'm not able to function properly so they come take my kids for a few hours so I can get some alone time, or a friend who offers to watch my kids and wash my dishes while I take a much needed nap. I wish I lived in Lincoln still so that I could come and help you. I'm really good at cleaning when it's someone *else's* stuff. Hee hee!

You are a fantastic mother who loves her family with everything she's got and wears her beautiful heart on her sleeve. You inspire me! Don't you listen to the devil when he wants to whisper in your ear that you're not doing it all right or that you're not being "as good as that mom over there" or that you're not a good mother. It's all LIES. He just wants to steal your joy. And NO mother has it all together. Even if she appears to have perfectly dressed/behaved/cloth-diapered/organically-fed children 100% of the time, not only is that NOT true, but it also means that something else in her life is lacking. We mothers get spread so thin. House, children, groceries, cooking, cleaning, husbands, bills, homeschooling .... there is only so much one woman can do.

Just keep your chin up Niecey - your help is coming. We'll be praying frantically for it and seeing what we personally can do.

This is a new saying of mine that I'm going to adapt for this situation. "When someone falls (or in your case, and MINE!, falls behind) they don't need a finger pointed at them - they need a hand UP." Here is my hand, long-distance, to grab yours and give you a hug. I'll share some tears and some laughs with you,
and we'll get through this together, sweet Niecey!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you just described me to a T. And I think every mother is like that, some just won't admit it. :)

I get into ruts where I don't care if the house is filthy, I'm still in my jammies at 5 in the evening or if the kids ate cookies for lunch. **sigh**. Like you, I'm glad they are just spurts.

I was physically unable to breastfeed my last 2 kiddos, and it literally made me sick to my stomach thinking what all the other breastfeeding moms thought of me.

Please know that you are not alone and that we all struggle.

You are a great mother. The happy faces on your kids show it.

I hope you have a wonderful day filled with sunshine.

Now, I must go fix lunch, we're having ice cream on the cookies today, that way we get some dairy :)

Dana said...


I landed on your blog randomly a few months ago. I too am a stay-at-home mom with small children. While I am not an AP, all mom's feel the way you do sometimes. There are days where I am sure I am doing a terrible job and am very disappointed in myself. I love reading your blog because you are honest, real, and inspirational. I think you are doing a great job. Don't be so hard on yourself and remember that EVERYONE has times where they feel like they are not cutting it. Sometimes it helps me to remember that even with the littlest thing that I do to serve my family that it is really serving our Lord Jesus. I also remind myself that I am surely not a perfect parent, but I KNOW that my kids know that they are loved and that I am doing my best. God bless you.

AllisonB said...

Would it make you feel any better if I told you that my house is often a mess, that I watch SOOO much tv, my husband just asked me if there is a 12 step program for tv addiction, that I ate a can of cranberry sauce for lunch yesterday and I HAVE NO KIDS....

the fact that you do ALLL that you do WITH KIDS is absolutely AMAZING to me! I have a funny story for you...okay, here goes... I have a friend who has 4 children. She is always going on and on about how she makes her own baby food, cloth diapers her babies, homeschools everyone and is teaching her 18 month old to do calculus, blah blah blah. ANYWAY, my husband and I were at the mall the other night and I saw her LICKING the ketchup off of a McDonald's hamburger and then feeding said ketchup-licked hamburger to her children. I didn't go talk to her, as I really don't care what she feeds her kids -- they seem healthy and all goes to show you that people aren't always as on top of things as they'd like others to believe they are.

You are doing a GREAT job -- think of how far you've come since you got here...think about how much your children need and love you.

Our pastor said something on Sunday that might help -- "Nothing comes to you that hasn't first been through the sovreign and loving hands of Jesus." -- He knows what you're going through and holds all of your tears in his hand.

I hope this helped or at least made you smile...I'm sure some of those "perfect" moms are ketchup lickers in thier own little ways...

LoveLaughterLife said...

Hi I have been reading your blog for a little while now and you are a lovely person inside and out.Your beautiful children seem very happy,healthy and loved.I think you are doing a wonderful job.I have 5 kids and it is really hard to juggle everything,just know that your not alone,no ones perfect and some days are harder than others!(understatement of the century!)keep your chin up you are doing brilliantly.
Ps I used up all my towels today too between a leaky washing machine and a 4 year old with a bug.I hate when that happens.

Kinsleys4 said...

Oh man, join the club. Ever since Avery was born, I feel like I get nothing done. I spend the entire day going from one kid to the other (and I only have TWO and you have FOUR) - when I finally get one settled, the other is crying. And Avery has been such a fussy baby - not a laid back one like Glenn, you lucky duck ;-) - even when I do spend all my time with her, I feel like I'm still a failure b/c she's still fussing and I'm ready to give up & just throw the child out the window! :-P Read my Bible? Yikes, what's that. :-[ I read somewhere a woman challenging herself not to get on the computer (like to do facebook or whatever) until she'd read her Bible that day - that it's the spiritual food to sustain ourselves & we need to eat every day. Well that sounds like it would make sense... except sometimes I don't eat, get dressed, fix my hair or even get to the bathroom as often as I need to! So I'm starving from lack of 'real' food too! And now, we're looking to move probably in the next couple months. How in the world do I pack up my whole house when I barely manage to get dinner on the table every day?! -sigh- In this world we will have tribulation - and sometimes that comes in the form of every day life itself!

Kinsleys4 said...

Oh and the fact that you potty trained Kaya in ONE day and Madison should have been potty trained months ago & seems to be regressing instead of completing the process, and I don't have the time I need to dedicate to helping her b/c of Avery... See?? You are still super mom! ;-)

Kinsleys4 said...

And try not to compare yourself or judge yourself by the other AP moms. First, they have their struggles & failures too - maybe they're putting on a front too! But even if they're not, you have to live your life by the convictions God places upon your heart and with the measure of grace He gives you for each day. It's too easy to look at other's 'good works' and compare & judge ourselves. The important thing is not what kind of diaper you use but where your heart is and the example you are setting for your children. And despite having a bad day now & then, I'd say you're doing awesome there. :-)

TheOrganicSister said...

I had to smile at that second paragraph. We're all guilty of it. But I think the answer is not that we're trying to be perfect but we're trying to set ourselves apart from the non-AP moms who always seem to have more negative answers than positive ones - especially about our kids.

And also I think we answer "Fantastic" to remind ourselves, that really...truly!...our lives are fantastic. That there is a beautiful element in our inherent humanness. That the chaos is part and parcel of our beautiful life.

It's always an ebb and flow. It's always a down that follows an up. It's all part of the Grand Plan to live and learn what beauty is (how can we know what it is if we don't know what it isn't?).

I'm in a funk - have been all week. Part of the heat no doubt and the slew of doctor's appointments that always leave me feeling irked. But I've learned to ride it. I know I'll be over it soon; that I'll soon want to wash my dishes ;) or start decluttering my house. This is my rest period; something my body (or soul?) forces me to do on occasion.

Life is still good. :) And it's okay to not feel it. ::hugs::


Jana Green said...

Man. I am glad to hear you say that you get behind and completely unmotivated to do things. That is me. RIGHT NOW.

thank you.