Not the woman I want my daughter to know

I am sitting here sipping tea while my little one sleep. Thinking again of the process my heart is going through. (Here is a little background to this story). Depression and despair are (sadly) not strangers in my life. When I was a teenager I struggled with high highs and low lows. And although age, maturity and experience have helped me to mellow out quite a bit, I am still prone to fall over the cliff into despair. Usually, however, I am able to find my way out from those ditches fairly quickly. This time I found myself fighting mindsets I didn’t even know I had, and experiences that were quickly adding enough weight that I was unable to recover.

About six weeks ago I begin to really seek help. There were several trigger points that pushed me to this, but probably the most effective one was the realization that I wasn’t the person I wanted my daughter to know. I was miserable, unhappy and growing bitter at her and this call to motherhood.

I found that buried deep within me was a belief that unless I was a full-time, stay-at-home, pour-everything-I-am-into-my-children type of mom, I was living God’s second best and cheating my kids out of God’s perfect plan for them. It is hard to try and explain this, but as a woman who is driven and passionate, putting aside everything for the mundane of motherhood was challenging (to say the least). And it wasn’t that I necessarily minded the challenge. But I found my heart slowly atrophying because all desires I had for anything outside of my little girl were quickly smothered out in the name of “good parenting”.

Personally, becoming a parent has been one of the most life-altering moments of my life. All of my priorities shifted. Suddenly there was a little person that I would honestly take a bullet for without a second thought. I was completely blown away by how much I love my grace-girl. And I believe deep in my heart that raising my kids is one of the most important callings of my life. But the problem was that one of the most important things became the only important thing.

I am the type of person who does everything or nothing. I am really horrible at maintaining a life that is paced. I am either “saving the world” or sitting on the couch staring into the distance with a blank look on my face. This isn’t a good thing. It’s a pretty major character flaw. Being a mom was (is…) so often (for me)…well, boring. I was blessed with a pretty amazing sleeper, but that meant I needed to be home a lot. Because she sleeps in her crib. Not in a car seat. Not in my arms. In her crib. For at least 4 hours a day. And 12 hours at night.

That’s a whole lot of alone time, friends. At one point I realized that I had been in my house for nearly 3 weeks straight. I had only left maybe twice to run to the grocery store. I was dying on the inside. And doing it so nobly (look at me! look how sacrificial and good I am at being a mom! look at how angry and bitter I am becoming inside…).

 Several weeks ago I overheard someone say “I would NEVER want to be a stay-at-home-mom”. The person who said this is pretty close to me & sees into my world a lot. And I knew why she had said it. Because my life was miserable. I was miserable. I was killing myself on an altar of sacrificial parenting.

I began to think about how I want my Makena to remember me. To think of me when she is 30 and walking through her own life story. I want her to know me as a joy-filled, satisfied woman. A woman who knows who she is, and is content in Him and in her place in life.

But the path I was on was leading me the opposite direction.  I thought Godly parenting meant that I had to completely abandon everything outside of my children (except, of course, for my husband & God). This was creating a woman who was bitter, angry & small. Not the woman I want my daughter to know.

I was wrong. And it was hurting my whole family.

What about you? What wrong ideas are you holding onto that are hurting you? Your family? Your kids?

More to come soon on my journey into life, but it all started with realizing I was holding onto some significantly incorrect ideas…

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Selam on April 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Oh my this is all so true. I am going through all this stuff and you have just put it into words.
    I pray the long term investment we put into our children’s lives will bear fruit someday.Thanks for all your postings dear your experiences bring encouragement to others. Keep writing.
    Selam In Kenya

    Reply

  2. Absolutely beautiful! Your words really brought tears to my eyes. I am on the other end of the story, I had no choice but to go back to work. Family members and friends couldn’t understand why. I was pressured to be a mom, a full time employee (who worked long hours), a wife, a daughter and a friend. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to make. About two years ago I finally decided, like you to seek help so that my daughter would not remember me the same way you felt. I still have days where I face the sadness and lows but I now know how to face them now. I love when I come home and my daughter runs into my arms. We always spend quality time together, just the two of us, especially when I have to work a long day or on the weekend.

    Reply

  3. Can I just say again, that I LOVE that you are writing all of this! It is so theraputic for my heart, too, as you write because it reminds me of so much of my introduction to motherhood. I am still learning that I am not the one who has to hold all things together for my boys (and husband). I am continually learning to kill the lie that I have to pour out all of me for them, without ever taking stock of myself or what’s going on inside of me. I am learning how to maintain life in myself so that I have more life to give to my guys. Thank you for writing this journey of your heart!

    Reply

  4. Well said, Melissa. I applaud your honesty and bluntness. You are saying what so many young moms feel and are afraid to say. I am happy you got this discussion going. I remember so much what is was like and how hard it was. I remember feeling left out of all the adventurous things my husband was doing. I hated missing events and gatherings. It was a lonely time. I want to encourage you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will find yourself in a new phase in a very short time as she goes off to school (unless you opt to home school which I didn’t have the patience or grace for). One thing no one warned me about was the instant I became a parent guilt set in. I had no idea how much guilt comes along with parenting. Having a forum and getting the discussion going about what to do with it is really great. I do want to say that I did become comfortable, finally being a mom at home. And I did find things after the kids were in school to busy myself with, but honestly staying home with the babies and taking care of my friends’ kids a few days a week was pretty humbling. I had been ambitious and had big plans and dreams. Guess what? The ambition and plans shifted somewhat, but now I have plenty of opportunity to do as I want and be involved in whatever I want. I want also to say, we would LOVE to have you back at Big Bang should you ever wish to do a little work from home 😉 !!!! Hugs.

    Reply

  5. One more thing, my “baby” turned 18 today. Time is fleeting. Life is but a breath. Don’t worry if you don’t enjoy EVERY moment. Just enjoy as many as you can without stressing out that you are missing important moments. It’s all fine. Relax!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Leah Duininck on April 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you for being so transparent, life as a Mom is not rosy all the time, lots of sacrifices and bumps in the journey, it is refreshing to have someone be so honest and open with the journey. That is what Makena needs to see, no one is perfect and everyone needs the Savior every day
    of their lives. You are a wonderful Mom, Mekena will grow up knowing you love her very much, that you have committed your life to her and that you need the Lord to be all that you can be for her. He has equipped you, nothing is a surprise to HIm He knew you would be the perfect Mom for your children that is why He gave them to you. Rest in Him and all that He has for you!!!

    Reply

  7. Posted by Angie Chavangi on April 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Wow wow and wow…Melisa, I am a new mom, but not a stay at home mom. would have love to be but had to go back to work. I feel so sad when i leave my baby girl. but the season i was home that we had already established a routine for her, i felt like i need to do something else…i really appreciate your writing and openess…its helping me along this journey. keep writing.
    Angie in Nairobi

    Reply

  8. Posted by Donna on April 11, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Seriously this is amazing! Thank you for sharing. I have often struggled with the fact that I left my job to stay at home. I’m not really an at home girl and I have had to shift my thinking. Last year was my first year at home and I struggled with some despairing thoughts..deep despair. Coupled with an insecure financial situation, it was a little much. THe Lord taught me to fight and to really take hold of my thoughts. He also helped me to see the beauty in this season, but it is still a daily struggle.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Martha, NLC Nbi. on April 12, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Its nice to know that am not the only one who struggles with various issues in motherhood. The world sets a very high standard on mothers and wives. I’ve gone through sessions of depression for not being a superwoman – having to work in the office (and fully meet expectations) as well as running the home perfectly. But I guess only I have the power to change and cope with my situation with God’s help

    Reply

  10. Posted by rebekah on April 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    while you are doing such a great job of staying real, open and transparent, look at how many around the world you are impacting by your process. love you, mel…and so proud of you.

    Reply

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