Monday, May 20, 2019

Motherhood Needs

I need time away from my kids yet I hate time away from my kids. What is wrong with me?

Lets back up a bit. Last week I decided to hire a babysitter so I could work on my YouTube channel a bit. It needs help, as in videos. Because I don't post anymore. All week long I wrestled with guilt over scheduling two hours for me time. I wrestled with feeling like a bad mom and for "wasting" money on a babysitter.

The day came and I legit tried to cancel three times--each time never sending the text message. The hour came. I stress-loaded the kids into the car and drove to my friend Brooke's house whose teenage daughter would be watching my wonderful neurotic angels for two hours. I worried all the way there that I was making a big mistake. Becky would miss me. She would cry. She would feel like I'd abandoned her. I was abandoning her. Oh my goodness, she might never get over this. She could get PTSD from me leaving her. What was I doing? Why had I done this? I needed to turn around. But I couldn't cancel five minutes before, could I? Who does that? What was wrong with me? Why was this so hard?

I got there and left them quickly, so Becky wouldn't have to see me stand there and fret over her fretting. Reuben ran off easily, but Becky was hysterical. I cried all the way to Starbucks.

I got a text that she was doing fine about 15 minutes later.

I know I need space from my children. Space to still be me. Space to be creative, to breathe, to plan and work on my own spiritual walk. This is healthy, this is good. I KNOW this yet leaving my kids with someone else is SO HARD. I don't understand it. Why do I feel like such a bad mother for hiring a babysitter once a month? I mean, I would never judge another mother like that! I need to give myself the same grace. It isn't wrong! I'm not a bad mom. It's just my anxiety, my stress, and my own unhealthy desires to "meet all my kids needs" that triggers these feelings.

I can't even meet all my own needs, much less my kids.

I shouldn't try.

Only God can meet my own needs. Only God can fulfill me. Only God can fulfill my children. And I need to give myself permission to step back and work on my own dreams.

I've found I have this problem of letting motherhood be all-consuming. I let it completely overwhelm my "role" as wife and my identity as my own entity because I worry so much that if I slack in one little area in regards to my children, I will ruin them and start a cycle of abuse that will cause them to have miserable lives.

Instead, I need to show them how an healthy adult handles relationships. And that is not accomplished by letting my title of mother obscure all my other titles--but letting "mother" bloom in it's time and place like a garden of beautiful truths.

This is easier said than done.

So today I'm giving myself permission to step away. To have space from my children when I need it--not as a reaction to being overwhelmed or burnt out, but as a right, as a repose--so that I, too, can grow and find peace and return to "motherhood" invigorated.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Our First Family Vacation

Our first family vacation and we didn't snap any group photos?! We are failures. Oh, well.

We have been on vacation before, sure--but only twice; and there was a holiday involved each time (first our anniversary, second time Christmas). This was our first real family vacation where the only goals were travel and fun. Although our travels did coincide with Mother's Day weekend. That was inconsequential. I have an extreme aversion to Mother's Day that I will have to address in another post.

It was fun. We went to the beach. It's only four hours from our home! Reuben would see the ocean for the first time! (Rebekah too, but at 15 months I don't think she'll remember it) I was excited, my husband was excited, Reuben was excited and Rebekah was excited just because everyone else was. We woke up really early Friday morning and loaded everyone into the car, drove to the coast and went directly to the beach. It was a beautiful; cool and breezy with a partially overcast sky. I hadn't been to the beach since 2011 and was extra stoked to lay on a blanket (I hate swimming) and read a book while my husband managed the kids. Or you know, watch them play in the immense amount of sand while reclining on my $10 rental chair.

It did not go as expected. First, I left all the snacks in the car. The car that we parked really far away. Why did I do this? I have no idea. If you can please go back and slap me with a wet fish for my faux pas. I deserve it.

Second, the rental chairs were not for rent. It wasn't late enough in the year. I had no chair to rest on. And thus no way to get out of the sand!

No sooner had we arrived then both kids began whining for snacks. Luckily we were able to find a banana to split between everyone. Also, I DID remember to bring sunscreen. Go me! But I forgot to apply it until we had already wandered onto the beach. And applying sunscreen when your skin already has sand on it is not pleasant.

Reuben was afraid of the frigid waves and only wanted to climb on the man-made dunes. I kept taking pictures trying to document everything, and I am glad I did but for some reason it was causing me stress.

It was at this point that I realized I hate the beach. I have always hated the beach. That is why I haven't gone since 2011. But CLEARLY time obscured all memory (or having kids and being sleepless in Lynchburg has addled my brain) because I had not recalled this abhorrence to sand, salt-water, tourists and overpriced bottled drinks until just this exact moment while standing toe-deep in the Virginia coast.

Clearly I need help. And a reminder program on my phone.

As the sun beamed cheerily down into my very light sensitive eyes I tried to make the best of it. It's only one day, I told myself. Tomorrow we are going to the VA Beach Aquarium. It's only one day. I can make it. A few more minutes passed and suddenly I was covered in sand and everything I had brought was gritty, my children were whining and I just wanted to go home. My book sat untouched; so consumed was I with answering questions and nursing and tending to Becky. I don't know why I even tried taking a 15 month old to the beach. She kept getting sand in her eyes or taking off her hat or crying because of the wind.

In short, going to the beach was not my favorite part of our vacation although I do think Brian, Reuben and Rebekah enjoyed themselves immensely.

Then we went out for lunch. I hate going out to eat on vacation. I get sick. But I always believe next time will be different. It never is. I need to just buck up and bring my own food on vacation. We went out to eat lunch on the boardwalk and ate out for dinner that night. I asked each time about gluten free food and was assured everything was fine. I don't know which restaurant it was but the next day when I woke up I felt awful. The feeling I know comes from eating something I shouldn't.

It was the severest reaction I have had in two years and it made me barely functional for the rest of the day (and the day after). Just now I am beginning to feel better and those meals were four days ago! I barely remember going to the aquarium or the ride home due to the amount of pain I was in. I had to sit down for most of the aquarium in the lobby and read a book--I couldn't walk around and enjoy myself.

And that day we drove home and hit the worst traffic ever. It took an extra two hours to arrive, and I was just done with life and everything in it by that point. I am glad to be home now and I don't think I will try to vacation again any time soon.

Were there any good moments? Yes. I really loved staying up a little late on our only night in the hotel and playing Timeline. I loved the nap I got in the hotel with Becky when she fell asleep. I loved seeing Reuben's reaction to everything and watching him swim in the hotel pool. I would do it again just for the fun times we had, but I do need to plan ahead next time so I don't get sick. And remind myself not to forget the snacks from the car.

How do your family vacations usually go?

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Governess of Penwythe Hall (review)

I chose The Governess of Penwythe Hall from BookLook Bloggers to review. It was...meh.

Cordelia Greythorne is the main charter of TGoPH--she's a gentle widow turned governess after some mystery with her husband's family. She's strong-minded and yet weak as you see her interact with her kid's tutor, the kids themselves, and Jac, the owner of Penwythe. 

So why didn't I like this book? It was stereotypical. There was limited interaction with the kids (and they are a major plot point! more about them, please). Also, the governess is the main character, so I wish we had seen more of their "governess-child" relationship develop. 

For the love interest. Jac was just too good to be true. He falls madly in love with Cordelia, cares nothing about her past, and seeks to help her out in any way possible. So much savior, so little reality. 

The drama in this book was also overdone, in my opinion. From kidnapping to characters who suddenly repent from their evil ways right at the last (and most opportunistic) moment, to an entire family of narcissistic smuggles--it was a little much to swallow. I found Cordelia monotonous, mundane and unvaried. She was flat. Her students were flat. Her love interest was flatter than the wallpaper of their sitting room. The villains were annoying instead of scary. I felt bored reading the entire thing.

I would recommend this book to people who love idealistic love stories where not much happens but everyone ends up happy.