I’m off of caffeine since last Tuesday. I do think it’s made a world of difference since I had been having panic attacks on the highway. I was getting lightheaded and unable to catch my breath, making it impossible to drive. I guess the older you get the more drugs effect you. These days I can’t take much more than two glasses of wine (even over a huge time lapse) without waking up with a migraine. When did we all start getting old?

I do miss my taste of something special in the morning. It’s really not so much the caffeine jolt (although, I’m not gonna lie, I do like a bit of a wake me up) as much as the tradition or ceremony of drinking java in the a.m. The taste and smell of fresh, bitter coffee with a bit o’ cream is heavenly. I do believe it may just be the nectar of the gods. Alas….It’s not worth it for me right now. I’m not driving on the freeway yet but we’ll see.

Along with my panic attacks (if that’s what they were) I’ve been realizing that I have a lot of stress and bouts of depression that I deal with in my season of life. Being a mother of two toddlers carries an interesting weight of glory. On one hand these humans are amazingly divine and curious as I watch them grow and create. They are a part of Matt and I by DNA as well as personality yet totally autonomous in temperament and ‘type’ as God did give them. They are like precious diamonds in your home that you have as a valued treasure; ones which you can’t believe you are blessed enough to ‘own’. Yet you don’t really want to totally let them out of your sight. They are too precious for anything vile to happen to them.

Yet there are days when you wish they would just go away. Did I just write that? I did!  Parenthood it an undeniable, blissful heaviness. A treasure you hold close yet onlookers will never know the true value, even if they observe for a short while. Yet it is a treasure that you would like to leave locked in a room for a while until it stops screaming and shouting, “NO I DON’T WANT TO!!!”

I have  realized that I’m not, and never have been, one of those women who was born to  play on the floor with my children, swing them around endlessly as they cried out for more, bake cookies and knit (or craft as the kids like to call it these days) all while making each Halloween costume for every year they still want to go trick-or-treating. I’ve always been the independent, travel the world and hang with the delinquent of the earth. So this has all been more of an adjustment than I bargained for and my nerves have been shot as I feel like a failure half the time and an ungrateful, jealous of- the -single- woman, ingrate the other half. It’s so much in my head, which swoons with comparison of the life next door and the stress of telling your four year old eighty times a day, “come here, come here, COME HERE!!!” Yet I wouldn’t trade being a mom for a thousands worlds over. And I delight in my children daily. They have always been amazingly holy and beautifully fashioned as the little humans who have captured my heart.

There is a whole culture of mommy bloggers out there that I decided to stop reading because they made it seem like life at home with kids is the most satisfying thing in all of God’s green earth and I began to question what I was missing as I tried desperately to play Legos on the floor with my son as my mind wandered to things I could be doing to help stop human trafficking. Then I realized that (some of) these women make a lot of money from being overly optimistic bloggers who take really good photographs of their home, and their spawn, making candles and oatmeal soap to give away for the holidays… all after finishing an entire day of creative, home-schooled bliss. That’s not our home! We try to make cookies and it’s always a floury mess. The only soap here is barely used since my kids HATE to be washed and artsy photos likely will not be posted because they prefer to run around naked rather than fully clothed.

So I had to realize that either I am missing the plot or I am made differently and this phase of being with little humans is actually very trying for me. I’m making it, but sometimes….just barely.  Some days I cry  because I feel guilty that I don’t want it more and  that it stresses me out to be followed into every room of the house, without exception (yep, the bathroom is where my kids like to follow me- “hey, mamma. What are you doing?”). I’ve always been an introvert who needs to be refreshed by time to myself. Where is that time? Lost in a heap of legos and a stack of Curious George books.

There are times when I catch the kids dancing or playing pretend and I can’t believe how delightfully amazing they are. My heart feels unworthy to be bestowed with such a glorious prince and princess. I’ve found myself standing behind a corner to catch a glimpse of them playing silly games or make believe together just to feel perplexing elation and squirmy butterflies on my insides as I see how creative their unique persons have become. That’s how they can make me feel.

But in all honesty, there are super boring days when I haven’t the foggiest of what to do with them and the guilt overwhelms me. That’s where the sadness sets in. That’s the thing I can’t always shake and I don’t hear many a’ mom speak such devilry about the vexings of motherhood. Therefore it brings me to the conclusion that I’ve yet to surrender my life to the blood of the lamb in the area of child rearing or I need to grow more comfortable in my own skin and trust that my kids are going to be ok even if I haven’t got their education sorted yet. I’m sure some of the expectation is a cultural crapping on the woman of today as she tries to do the best she can in a fast paced, competitive culture (“You really should feel complete satisfaction in being a mommy. It’s the most amazing ‘ministry’ there is!”) Completely satisfy this!

It’s hard to deny yourself and die daily just so your children feel that you delight in them. There’s a huge push to do everything to/for them by the time they are five or you’ve royally screwed them. I am trying to be myself as I raise my kids by I can’t always get what I want (time alone- away from sticky hands and dirty mouths). Yet I feel the one true thing I can do for my kids IS to delight in them. To love WHO they are, even if I don’t know what to do with them during the day. They can just be bored and illiterate as we don’t bake cookies or make oatmeal soap. I believe that the gift we give our children as they are growing into people who can vote and marry one day is the gift of delighting in them and valuing who they are. I’m trying but it’s rough when I’m stressed, tired and smelly. It’s also hard when you have an overactive, sub genius four year old that has emotional breakdowns every day.

Yet I do say…. delight in your kids…. They can learn to read when they’re 20!

How’s that for a mouth full?

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6 thoughts on “

  1. Oh Trace – I wish you had some mama friends around you right now that could a) do all your laundry and take you out for gin and tonics and b) tell you how normal, real and true your feelings are right now. I don’t know a mother out there (in my experience) who has not owned some measure of what you are saying here.

    I think just the fact that you are being real and asking the hard stuff shows what a spectacular mother and person you are.

    I almost called CPS on myself (no joke) when my kids were 2 and 3. I was holding the phone to dial 911, that is how exhausted and crazed I felt. I got in touch with my own (new to me) dark side when I had kids. And I think a big part of it was I had no idea how “not-me” parenting would feel.

    It took some amazing women to convince me I was normal, my kids were normal and that feeling all that I felt was normal. And for what it’s worth, every mama told me age five and six would mean a huge corner would be turned and I thought they were blowing smoke.

    It was 100% true. You are in the hardest, hardest season of parenting right now.

    I wish I could convince you how beautiful you look from where I am watching right now.

    Crafts or no crafts, floor playing or not, I think you are amazing.

  2. I love you Tracie, just had to say that. Your post is phenomenol. I love your comment about mommy bloggers…. sooo funny… !!! oh, I am laughing. It’s interesting to hear your thoughts, too, because from a very far outside perspective, spying on you all the way from costa rica through facebook – you just look like you guys have it so together – you may not make oatmeal soap or bake cookies- but man, your pizza is good and looks like it’s getting better and I saw a pic of some homemade hot chocolate that looked heavenly ;). You got your kids washing dishes, out gardening, man, plus revamped an entire house to where it looks amazing. Anyways, I just had to say from one mom to another I am impressed. And I also feel you. It’s taken me about these past 6 years to really “embrace” my mommyhood role, and I’m really enjoying it more now than I ever have. I’m more relaxed and having more fun. To the point where I am having my 4th child, of course, Scott really is quite persuasive on the having kids issue, too!!!! But man I ahve my days where I feel trapped in the house, where I think about what I could be accomplishing with the skills God has given me in other areas, where boredom and depression sinks its way in. I content myself in really taking the “this is a season” perspective. That kind of calms me. To know that this is my purpose for right now. Not for all time, but for these moments. Anyways, loved your blog, just had to comment 🙂

    • This is cool to read this coming off of Beth’s note. Like I told her, I think you are an amazing mum, even more so because it’s something you feel like doesn’t come as naturally to you as others. I think that’s more props on you than on the mums that find it easy to be a mum! You rock, Tracie, and I’m going to take everything you wrote and store it away for when we have kids one day. Can’t wait to see you guys at the end of the month! 🙂

  3. Ahh great minds think alike.. I think its so easy to get burnt out trying to do things that go against your nature, I knew after 2 day’s of trying to teach emma ABC’s it just wasn’t for me and it wasn’t healthy for her to have a crazy mom yelling Why can you not get the freaking A lines to line up child!??! and there’s days where they are helping me bake or cook and I “accidently” do a few steps as fast as the speed of light as they look away only to hear them say “oh I wanted to pour in the rest of the milk mom” Oops sure kid next time. Noone told me they start having spouts of anger and slamming doors at such a young age either.. I dont even know how they know to do that.. i swear I haven’t ran off slamming doors as far as i can remember but whatever I never knew how much I would learn and grow being a mom. It sounds like your doing great though! Just stick to what comes naturally for you. That love you have for who they are and delight in them you have is all they need to grow up and take on the world!

  4. Interesting… I had Harper in her swing today while I was working in the kitchen and I start thinking “should I leave her alone when she’s awake? Shouldn’t I be engaging her mind? Am I wasting an opportunity to help her develop?” 5 weeks into it. That’s insane. I guess there’s some part of it that’s inevitable.
    Anyways, I think of you as a creative mom. It’s just different from the mommy bloggers. Your kids are exposed to life and community. That’s much better than cookies and costumes. You grow food for your kids! You don’t need to make them cookies. They might not be able to make hand puppets but they’ll know who Nelson Mandela is. That’s cool.

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