Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Life of Mom

I've come to that point in pregnancy, like in all that have been allowed to get to this point, of pondering motherhood.  I dreamt of this little boy tonight, so beautiful with blonde hair and blue eyes.  What a sweet smile he had, and I loved him.  I wonder if my baby boy will look like this?

Yesterday was a rough day in my pregnancy.  The roughest day yet.  Physically I've been doing fine, although I've probably gained more weight at this point than I should have.  But emotionally it was a tough day.  The lowest point was yesterday afternoon.  The kids and I were watching "Secondhand Lions" when my 8-year-old son turned to me and pointed out that I reminded him of the mother in this movie.  For the record I'm not a skinny, smoking, floozy who drops her child off in the middle of nowhere with relatives he's never met to go philandering with a series of different boyfriends.  Outwardly, the comparison could have made me laugh, but inwardly it touched and hurt my core.

My own mother was a woman who should not have been a mother.  She was successful in everything but motherhood.  Her career was a long and respected one in medicine.  She was socially graceful, beautiful, something of a local dignitary in our Parish growing up.  If she had valued motherhood in anyway, she may have admitted she failed.  But I'm sure in her mind that failure could have been compared to a failure at gardening or embroidery.  Motherhood, according to my mother, didn't matter in my childhood and it doesn't matter to this day.  Except to me.  I don't blame my mother.  I thank her for allowing the three children she became pregnant with to come into this world.  And in some way I thank her for allowing me the pain of bearing the end result of bad parenting, as it has made me who I am today.  The lesson of my past, of my own pain, was learned in holding my first born son.  I don't feel sorry for myself, except on occasion.   Instead I take what I have learned and lived through, and I make every attempt to be a good mother.  But now I have to wonder if the comparison of myself to this Hollywood depiction of a bad mother might hold some small shred of truth.  Am I so distracted with being a "good mother" that I ignore my children in my attempt to "get it right"?

I fought long and hard for my children.  The entire year that my husband and I discerned our upcoming wedding, I fought against using NFP.  I felt strongly that if we were at a point in our relationship that we actively sought marriage, we should actively start preparing for and raising children.  My husband always brought up finances, "what if we can't afford a large family?"  I always reassured him that God would provide, that we'd be alright.  I've lived in personal conflict throughout my own marriage, wondering if I have thrown our marriage off of a cliff expecting the Lord to catch and save us.  I set standards, impossible ones it seems, for both my husband and me. I had to be a stay at home Mom (I didn't want to make my own mother's mistake of placing my career ahead of my family.)  I had to homeschool (I didn't want my children to fail academically as I was allowed to do.)  I wanted a large family (my mother had her tubes tied during her stay in the hospital after having me.)  I worked very hard to convince my husband and myself that my own role as a wife and mother had to be an open act of rebellion against the hurts that my mother had placed on me.  Rather than reflect upon and deal with these hurts, and do my best to heal from them and move on, I set impossible standards for both my husband and I to accomplish.  And now, as we stand upon our own sinking Titanic, I feel deeply conflicted and responsible for not seeing the iceberg until now.

Why do these emotions, these hardships come at the same point in all of my pregnancies?  I hope that our home business doesn't fold, that we don't lose our house, but the economy is bad right now.  I always thought that moving from our mobile home would help in our journey forward.  But now I wonder in fear whether it was better to be a cramped family of 7 in 900 square feet that we could afford, or to live in a home and struggle through the worst of it in a home that we can't afford?  I've taken over all of the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, tending the household needs (minus repairs) and working part time in the hopes that staying out of my husband's way would help him to grow the company.  I feel more like a weight on his back all the time, and struggle more and more to ask him for less and less.  I try to accommodate more and more of the routine of keeping up our family, and feel that he becomes overwhelmed when I need help with the things I think should be simple for him.  I think things are important, but I doubt myself when I also think that if things were important to my husband they would be noticed and at the very least talked about.  I hide from him, emotionally (he works from home and I'm a stay at home mom so there's no way to hide from him physically).  But I keep all my fears and dreams from him, why should he be bothered with that too?  And yet, in my second lowest point yesterday he told me that I make it impossible to be loved, to be cared for.  And in the end, I have to wonder again if I bear the burden of the responsibility of this mistake?  And I think the mistake is this: That as much as I hate to admit it, I used my husband.  I used my husband, that open, naïve, trusting man whom I fell in love with so many years ago, to satisfy my own desires.  My desire to succeed where my mother failed.  I used him to furnish for me a home and an environment where I could find healing through my own attempts at adulthood as I concluded they should be.  My desires, my wants, my persuasions were impossible.  Again, in the same way I could have laughed at my son for his speculations on my role playing comparison to the floozy, I could have laughed at my husband for his speculations too.  But really, through my own expectations, my own agenda, I have created an environment where it is impossible for him to love me and for him to care for me.

O Lord, help me.  I'm still falling from that cliff and now I'm suffering even more for these innocent people I have dragged along with me.  I don't want to be convincing anymore.  I want to be right.  And this life I'm living is not right.  I'm getting amazing results in all that I do.  But in questioning the heart, in looking deeper to the core, I am so sad to realize that I've learned nothing from my mother after all.  This path that I've taken to reach my goal of perfect motherhood has created nothing but a void of destruction in its wake.  Forgive me Lord, help me, heal me, and make me whole.  Give me another chance to learn to love, another chance to re-earn the trust and love of my husband and my children.  Amen.


  1. I just happened on your blog, and was struck by your post today.
    I am a mom of seven who made a WHOLE LOT of mistakes in life, before and after I had my kids. The part where you talk about hiding emotionally is a lot like me.
    However! The first thing that came to mind when I pondered how I might answer any of the questions you posed was -- take these thoughts to a good priest in confession. You may be surprised because I suspect much of your struggle is not sinful.
    Another thing -- you said that you want to be right. Wanting to be 'right with God' is a good thing. But sometimes wanting everything in our lives to be right gets in the way of loving people, including ourselves. It leaves no room for the process. I heard this once, in the context of a marriage relationship: "Would you rather love or be right?" It has come to mind many MANY times over the years, and helped me to be patient with my own and others' journey through life.
    Whatever you do, God Bless you and you family, and protect you all.

  2. Hi Patty, you poured your heart out in your post. It's vulnerable and raw, and it's the start of making things right with your husband and children. I think we all can fall prey to "setting an impossible standard and then trying to live up to it". Being more in my thoughts than experiencing life with my family. In a way, I think it's like the Mary/Martha situation. Are we there emotionally or caught up in the busyness of creating an image for others? Of getting things "just right." I feel your pain even though I grew up with a loving and involved mother. I still will hide my feelings from my husband as not to burden him or have him see it as a weakness in me. But I will say, when I do open up and bear my soul, he can be wonderfully supportive and encouraging. He acts as if he's been waiting for me to let him in. Something I work on often in myself.

    Is your mom involved in your life? Is she a better grandmother than mother?

    May God bless your husband's business and your trust in Him. May the ever perfect Wife and Mother Mary, hold you tight and guide you through this time.

  3. Thank you both so much for your kind words and thoughts. I will take them both up in prayer! Kelly! Welcome! I just went to Confession today and wish I had read your post before I went...Next time though I will bring this up:)

    Noreen, no, my Mom is not involved in my life or my kids' lives in anyway. There is a history of abuse that is such I cannot trust her around either my children or myself. But my husband and I did have a long talk and he was truly prayerfully supportive of where I was coming from. I need to take to heart the difference between getting it right and learning the right of loving in the present for the sake of love.

    God bless you both and thank you for your kind words and contemplations with me.