I am two different people.
I’m sweet-mom, doing the mothering duties, roles, and wearing 12 hats with a smile on my face. I’m just humming along beautifully like a productive little dwarf whistling while I work. I’m in love with my husband, kids, dog and cat, and life in general. I’m nice. Nice mom just doing the nice mundane stuff.
And there’s the other me. I’m grumpy-mom who is so entirely unpleasant to be around. I snap at the kids, I snap at Chris. I’m so lovable like a porcupine they just want to run away from me. But they can’t. They’re stuck and I’m stuck in my irritable place with no ability to shake it off.
Then my girlfriend calls on my cell/bluetooth (speaker for all to hear) in the car, and I’m chipper-and-peppy-fun friend. And just a New York minute ago I was yelling at someone to buckle their seatbelt, puh-lease, and shut the car door!
Duplicitous. It’s how I feel I am. Or worse I feel my kids think I am. I fear they will grow up hearing from all my girlfriends (the ones who see me at my best), “Oh your mother is sooooo (insert positive adjectives)….blah de blah.” They are thinking, “WHO are you talking about?!? My mom?!?”
Don’t tell me I’m just being hard on myself. That I have more stress because I have a disabled child. Go and ask my husband. No, never mind, don’t ask. Let’s just pretend I’m Miss Wonderful all the time. 😉 Really, it’s true. The grumpy part, not the all the time wonderful person part.
Last weekend, I had the privilege to go with 3 dear friends to see and hear Jen Hatmaker speak at a women’s conference. In Santa Barbara. Nice hotel. One quick night away. Great friends+laughter+sharing+learning+meeting Jen H+being inspired+break from the mom job. This WOULD equal coming home as Miss Awesome-Full-of-Appreciation Wife-and-Mom, right? Right?!
I walked in to the kids needing to be fed. We have no kitchen, but no big deal, in the scheme of things. Take-out food is easier than cooking. Ryan is on me instantly with questions, or it feels that way. House is messy according to my stupid standards. Hubby is stressed with the work he’s tried to accomplish while taking care of 3 kids.
Immediately, I was Grumpy Mom. And I’m still recovering and trying to get right with myself and my poor family dealing with lovely me.
How do I/we moms simply find joy in the mundane? How do we switch to being “ON” after being away from the home, with a dose of gratitude and grace? How?
I think it’s about being intentional. If I purposefully feed my mind and heart with what is good, noble, pure, wise, (Phil 4:8), even funny stuff, it will silence the complaining voice in my head. And prayer doesn’t hurt either. In fact I recommend it.
If I prep myself with a little pep talk just prior to re-entry into my homelife, it may work. It may go like this:
“Now, Jessica, you’ve had this day/weekend off from all your mothering and wifely duties. You got to be be carefree, schedule-free, and question-free. Your caring husband supported you going and even was genuinely happy for you to have a mommy-break. So, before you walk in tha door and into what feels like chaos, just be grateful they’re not dead. Chris kept them safe, fed, and loved. They are maybe more excited to see you than you them (short trip), but DEAL. Just deal. Put a smile on, and ignore any messes you might see. Go love-on your people. Be thankful you have them. Now go.”
You try this in your version and I will do mine. If it works for you, send me $100 please cuz I have a remodel to pay for. Kidding!!
If it works, you win, I win, our family peoples win. Bam.