Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Bone-Numbing Tired

I have had a string of good days lately. No one has been sick. No back to back appointments, no rushing, and we didn't forget any food at the grocery store.

But still in the evening I am worn out. I do a lot. With allergies and our budget, I cook everything at home from scratch, even bread and milk now (we do nut milk). I have been able to heal a lot of my autoimmune problems with food, a fact I am extremely grateful for. But it takes massive work and planning. On top of Reuben and I being dairy and gluten free (and preservative free) and low sugar--my husband is keto. So I usually batch cook keto for him, since he likes a lot of cheese and dairy in things and that helps keep the fat content high for his meals. I make my husband breakfast most days and lunch every day, keep the kids entertained, clean the house, teach Reuben a bit of preschool, keep up with friends and devote myself to studying God's word and muddle over God's will in my life (spoilers: its raising kids).

Today I wanted to spend some time with my husband because we get so little time together. His work hours are crazy this year and on top of that I still am not sleeping through the night (Becky wakes up 3-5 times a night). But I am so tired in the evenings that I struggle to put a sentence together. I also feel like I have nothing to talk to him about besides how tired I am or what the kids did that day. We used to discuss politics, world events, dreams, books, and history, but I honestly don't have the mental prowess to deconstruct an argument, much less form an opinion when I am so out of the loop on current events!

I signed out of Facebook again, pausing my account--or whatever it is called. Facebook and me just don't get along. I have tried twice and each time fall back into really destructive habits, feeling like less of a mother because I don't have "what Sally has" or spending too much time clicking on ads and wanting to buy things. Also, I hate the drama and the arguments. I don't have the mental energy to get angry over social media anymore. I just need to stay off Facebook once and for all. I am a better mother without Facebook. I am a happier and more joy-filled person without Facebook.

But let me get back to the point. I am tired. Short of sleep training Becky (and she isn't ready) I don't know what to do. I try to take time to rest during the day. I am working on balancing out-of-the-house occasions and cultivating long stretches at home. I am creating good boundaries with event invites and I am fully accepting that this season of crazy cooking and small children requires me to stay home as much as possible for my mental health and to promote healthy parenting.

I'm an extrovert learning to love long days at home.

But the next thing I really want to tackle is working some rest into my life. I want to create a atmosphere of repose, a home and a heart of peace and tranquility. Instead as the end of the day draws neigh, I find myself stressed and anxious and worn out. I'm ready for bed at 7pm, usually right as my husband arrives home. After 3pm I am tired all the time and fighting fatigue. I need sleep. But I also need to spend time with my husband and do the dishes, so...tired is the new fun? I don't know. Do all moms go through this?

Wondering. Let me know what your experience is or if you have any tips.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Shō ga nai when your husband works late

From the beginning (even when dating) the hours my husband puts into his job has been a constant source of marital contention. He works so long! My husband is a electrical engineer and is supposed to work a 40 hour week and is supposed to get off work at 5. This would put him home by 5:30. 

He has been home by 5:30 perhaps 12 times in our entire marriage. In fact, the last time he came home "on time" I, in shock, asked him if he had been fired. 

No, he had not been fired. He had just arrived home on time. 

I wrote "how to be happy when your husband works late," a blog post that contains practical advice to help you deal with a spouse who works long hours during the weekdays (and sometimes the weekends depending on issues). I myself practice all of my points that I make in that post.

After six years of late-night husband, I can now make it through the day and evening without wiping myself out. But even though I have learned to expect him to come home late--even if I have practical tips to help me through it--still I harbor feelings against my husband in my heart as 6, 7 or even 8 o'clock strolls around without the noise of the door creaking and my husbands footsteps descending into our home.  

In sort, I still struggle with accepting my husbands work hours.

I finally realized that I need to deal with my resentment. So, as the weeks went by, I prayed for God to open my eyes to my husbands struggles and to shift the viewpoint from my own woes to whatever God was trying to teach me.  

God has taught me two things so far. One is I no longer view my husband's work as "outside" the scope of family life. I used to pine for him to come home so he could help with the kids and be with me, but now I see that he is fulfilling his purpose towards our family as he works. His job is not something that gets in the way of my plans or our family, but something that supports and is necessary to the function of our household. I mean, I used to just think he worked to make money, and yes, we do need money to live. But his job is much more than just making money! Just like I worship God by loving and raising my kids, my husband is worshiping God as he pours out his time and his energy into his job to support me raising his kids. He works for our family, yes, but mostly he works for me. So I can stay home and raise our kids. So I better be sure to do a good job because I don't want him to be working in vain and I don't want to squander the sacrifice he is making as he works Monday through Friday. 

My husband, much like myself, has dreams that do not revolve around his job or office. But he, like me, must set those dreams aside to work to support our family and our home. He is slowly giving his life to his work so that I can give my life to our family.

When viewed God's way my husband's job goes from a hindrance to a beautiful picture of sacrifice not only to God but also to me and our family. I mean, I can't say I love that he works late, but I no longer feel bent out of shape and frustrated with him when he does. I see it just as an extension of him doing what he feels is right for his job, which in turn would be right for our family as his job supports our family and our lifestyle. I extend mercy towards my husband and towards myself and I buckle down, dig deep into God's word and try not to worry about my own temporary comfort. Parenting, motherhood, marriage: it's all work. And it's not about getting a break or completing a list. It's about God's glory.

The Japanese have a word that embodies a lot of what I discussed above, at least for me. Shō ga nai (pronouced SHOGANAI). It means (roughly) "it can't be helped". I often think of this Japanese word when my husband is working late and I am frustrated. Shō ga nai. Accept what cannot be helped.

Right now in this season, my husband working late is part of my existence. And God is teaching and stretching me as I deal with it. Who am I to refuse a trial given to me by God? Instead, I should turn to him and accept his lessons as they come. God is good and he knows what is best for me and best for our family. 

Monday, February 18, 2019


I finally finished this scarf I crochet in 100% alpaca. I bought this yarn before Reuben was born, and started on it when he was around 28 weeks. I am so glad to finally finish it!

I love this scarf. It's so soft and just a dream to wear.

What are you making lately? I have, in the works, one rainbow sweater for myself, a bunny hat for Reuben, a pair of socks, and two other project bags sitting on my shelf that I have forgotten the contents of. I am too lazy to stand up and look.

I hope you find time in your day for a hobby or two. I know I have learned, as a mother of two, to make time when I can. Often it is while during something else--while breastfeeding, or sitting on the floor playing one of Reuben's creative "games".

Sunday, February 10, 2019

when you are frustrated

I told my husband yesterday that I felt I had no purpose anymore. My life seems to consist of watching small children and cooking, and I struggle with feeling satisfied on a daily basis. I have all these dreams and ambitions and many of them now seem hopeless when faced with the work of raising and caring for my offspring.

My husband always is willing to listen to me, a trait I love about him. He is unfailingly patient and thoughtful. I am not patient. I am like a freight train going from 0 to 60.

So he listened to me pour out my heart and my struggles and than he challenged me to really stop and think about what I was saying. To identify my goals and list what makes me feel satisfied. Doing this really helped me understand some basic concepts about myself and the way I work. I like completing things, the task of crossing something off my list, of moving on to the next task. I like seeing a finished product and holding it tangibly in my hands. I love knitting, sewing, reading and writing. I dream of knitting and crochet projects to design and could devote myself for life to creating patterns for people to follow. It makes me happy, it brings me joy and most of all I get a sense of fulfillment from doing those things.

Raising children is never "done" at least not for the foreseeable future. Children are unpredictable. They require unfailing patience, they don't listen, they take swathes of emotional and mental energy. At present, it is not a task that fulfills me. I am constantly frustrated, tired, worn thin and baffled by my children. I can parent for hours but then I need some space to recharge and small children don't understand the concept of space. At least not mine, not yet.

With my husbands help I continued deconstructing my thought patterns. What would I want my life to look like, when I looked back upon it in 60 years? Decades of making knitting and crochet patterns and YouTube videos? Or decades of dying to myself and putting my trust in God for this season of raising kids? What would fulfill me in the long run? The answer to this question required no thought. I hope to look back upon life in 60 years (I'll be 92 so this is unlikely, but I can dream) and see that I ran the race with endurance and sacrificed my selfish desires on the alter of God's Will. I want my children to know they are loved, more than any dreams or passions I have. I want them to spend each day knowing they are special and seeing God's work in my life and theirs. Yes, it would be nice if I had some time to knit, but that is not the purpose God has for me right now.

In parenting it is easy to be consumed by frustration over the fact that nothing is going my way. I am daily bogged down by the emotional and mental weight of caring for small kids, cooking, cleaning and managing a house, communicating with my husband and raising Reuben and Rebekah. It's a alpine climb, like Anne says. But it is so worth it. There is meaning in what I am doing, even if I don't feel the sense of fulfillment at this time. And what more perfect opportunity can be found for being perfected by God's fire? He is pruning me as I devote myself to his task. He is teaching me so many things, but most of all I am learning that life is not about me. Life is not leisure, life is hard work. Life is devoting oneself to God and to his plan, regardless of ones own dreams and desires.

And I know in the end I will have no regrets because God's will for me is perfect and he is without flaw.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Goals in Motherhood and How I Mess Up

Often after a hard week I feel like I am suffocating. Drowning in small children. Smothered with laundry and dishes and mommy mommy mommy whines.

It's at this time that God reminds me that I can't do it alone. I can't mother on my own strength. Oh, how I love this reminder. Sarcasm, like coffee, is a necessity to motherhood.

But, why is this a lesson I have to keep relearning? I surrender only to find myself stuck back right in the mire of frustration, drowning in my own woes and with only the bleak realities of my life to keep me comfort. 

This cycle is not fun. I am not enjoying it. I want to break the cycle, I pray to break it. Teach me to see my kids the way you do, God, I cry. Let me mother them as fallen human beings, not as an Overseer who only wants to control them. Let my words be gentle and my patience everlasting, and for goodness sake let me make some time for them and not get caught up in homemaking perfection.

And for awhile it works. One blessed day my heart is in the right place, and I soak in the inner joy and peace that comes from yielding to God's plan and will in my life. I feel on top of the world! During this time I calmly parent my kids with grace and mercy that can only come from God above. I think "how can I point my child to God" when dealing with strife, and I remember to open my mouth with humility and love when contention arises in my marriage.

Two hours later it's like I am a totally different person. It only takes one small thing--today it was Reuben throwing up after dinner. After my carefully constructed, 45-minutes-to-cook-dinner, he had the audacity to throw up all my hard work. All over the carpet.

I yelled at him. My exact words were: don't throw up there throw up in the trash can, what are you doing because of course that is what every three year old needs to be told while they are tossing their cookies helplessly on the floor. Well, in this case it was buckwheat cake, but you get the idea.

Poor kid. After he was done he turned to me and said in the saddest voice mommy I am so sorry I was sick. can you please wash my hands I threw up on them. His blue eyes were full of tears as he hovered over the trash can, gulping for breath.

Oh, my heart.

I lost it. I gathered him up and washed his hands and started the shower for him and apologized for my upset tone and demanding attitude. I held him and read books and chastised my inner self for trying, once again, to micro-manage my child and forgetting, even for a second, how precious and beautiful he is.

An hour after his tossing-buckwheat-cake episode, he was back trying to climb and jump off everything and tearing around the house and I was back to contemplating motherhood and all the parts I do wrong and thanking God for his mercy and grace, because like His child oh boy do I need it.

When I am mothering, I forget that I am not God to my children. God is God to them. I am not there to correct every little thing.

God made me a mother. He wants me to find joy in this role. He wants me to love and worship as I mother. So often I just want to get through the day and I forget that I am here, in this moment, with my kids and my goal is to worship God.

My goal is to worship God. Not the dishes. Not a clean floor. Not a carefully prepared meal or good behavior. Those things have their place, but they are not the epoch of my existance.

My goal is to worship God.