Quarantine, Mom Guilt, etc.

Hi guys! I know that I have been MIA for a while now. I’ve been inconsistent and I’m hoping to change that. Currently, my house looks like it’s suffered the invasion of the Jumanji jungle. I’m so exhausted that I’m nauseous. My toddler has a birthday coming up and I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how I can make her day special.

We, like many other families, are transitioning into a new normal. One that we didn’t plan for, it came unexpectedly. Even though, this is only temporary, it doesn’t change the fact that we are all feeling the effects of it.

I’m not going to lie. There have been many good that has come out of it, personally speaking. I’m sure that my daughter would agree that I’ve allowed her to do more arts and crafts. I’ve become less concerned about the state of cleanliness, or so it seems. Inside I cringe at the mess that I see and keep it all inside until I can grab a broom and frantically create a space that calms my spirit.

Cleaning has become my coping mechanism. That and working out, singing, painting, listening to worship music, my “at-home” photo shoot, doing my daughter’s hair, binging Law & Order,  pretty much anything that I can do to make me feel productive and avoid being outside. Better yet, avoid feeling anxious. I’ve never been good at feeling anxious. I don’t like stress.

I can hide stress, I know how to act under pressure. I know how to hide, suppress and avoid stress. You see, I was taught at an early age to see and not react. I was trained to be seen and not heard. I can execute any role flawlessly on the surface but when it comes time to voice my concerns, problems arise. This is one skill I refuse to pass on to my children.

So you see, I have concerns like everyone else. I am scared of contracting this virus not because of what it will do to me but because of how it will affect my husband and children. I don’t want to be separated from my family. I don’t want them to be separated from me. I’ve got a 6 month old that I’m still breastfeeding. I don’t want to stop giving her my milk. I don’t want to miss any monumental event in their lives. I know how my girls speak and they understand me. I like us. I don’t want them to see this weakness and because I associated this anxiety as weakness I do all that I can to hide it from them.

So I make up for it by looking for crafts that my girl can do quietly.  I stay at home with my girls like a good citizen, avoiding the news, but staying up to date via the internet research. I find entertainment on social media. I try to hug my girls as much as possible. Most times it’s not to the level that I envisioned. I don’t sleep like I should, therefore I am tired. When I am tired I get cranky. I lose my cool way more than I would like. I’ve had to apologize more than I’d like to admit. I carry the weight of shame for not being the emotionally supportive wife to my husband and mother to my children, but most importantly, friend to myself. It transferred into mom guilt and has kept me from really being the blessing I was made to be to everyone including myself.

I felt guilty because I feared that I wasn’t creating a space where my girls could thrive emotionally. I felt guilty because I felt like I should know better and do better. I felt like I wasn’t being the “good” mom I believe my girls deserved. I saw myself repeating certain traits I saw growing up and I began to resent myself for allowing it to continue. I couldn’t understand why I would fail the same God who gave me these children and in turn fail them.

Turns out, I was wrong. My husband made sure to point that out.

I was doing my best. My best is good enough.

So wherever you are, whoever you are I hope you know that you are not alone. You are not feeling this by yourself. It’s normal to feel guilty. It’s normal to feel anxious. It’s normal for it to hit you like a ton of bricks a month after social distancing laws have been enforced. It’s totally normal.

So give yourself grace. Give yourself room to learn, adapt and evolve. You’ve made it this far being able to overcome every obstacle and challenge you faced up until now. You will get through this and you will be better because of it.

Speak life and forgiveness into your soul. Take a breath and note every single blessing you’ve been given at this time. Because believe me it won’t last forever and soon we’ll be back to saying “I wish I had more time…”

Baby No.2: Fears?

As excited as I am, I think that there is such a responsibility placed on parents today that we can’t help but feel anxious. Sometimes if we don’t address it fears tend to overpower our excitement of the future. We are a family of 3 and soon we will be a family of 4…

I love my little family of 3. I love what we have become. I love how easy we flow and how well we understand one another, for the most part. Every day is an adventure where we can grow into the humans God created us to be.

In our home, mistakes are made but rectified. We apologize willingly and sincerely even when we have no idea what we’re apologizing for. There is grace to grow despite the frustration of growing pains. We accept constructive criticisms and are willing to take it ourselves without compromising our way of life. We have become home. So why am I so scared for the arrival of the second baby?

I’ve done it before. I’ve been here before, haven’t I?

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The truth is I haven’t. Who am I kidding? I had one precious little girl and she was amazing. I needed to do the work and she’s still amazing. But this time, I will be dealing with another baby. This baby could very well be a different baby, with different wants, needs, mannerisms and dreams. Who knows? Well I know. This baby is different.

Let’s not forget the fact that my firstborn will be in for a surprise when she realizes that Mommy is not just her Mommy but someone else’s too. She won’t be sharing my attention with Daddy anymore but with another who depends on me for more than just potty help and story time fun.

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In all honesty, what scares me the most is that I won’t be able to handle the two. That I will somehow be less than a good mom to my firstborn. I’m afraid that she will feel neglected because of the new baby. I’m also afraid that the new baby won’t have all of me because my daughter was here first and she still needs me. I’m afraid that I will be too tired to function like I should.

Most importantly, I’m afraid that I will change in a way that causes my marriage to suffer. At the end of the day, my husband is my partner for life. He will do his very best to make sure that he does his part but will it be enough? Is there enough of me to keep everyone happy?

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This is where I have to trust God. Everyone already has an opinion as to what should be done and how it should be done. Believe me, my husband and I have heard and still hear a good bit of it. It’s disheartening sometimes because as much as we believe in our abilities to do this, we’re still fighting our own insecurities. Sometimes we take it out on each other and most of the time we hurt ourselves. These are behaviours we don’t want our children to model.

But, if God can appoint us to be life partners to one another and parents to our children it’s because we have the ability and capacity to do so. It won’t be easy but we will do it. It will be messy but we will clean it up. We will show up everyday and do better until our time is up.

I will not lie to you I am scared yet I can hear God in the early mornings tell me, “You’re ok. It’s gonna be ok.” With that I get up, show up and be me for my family.