Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Will Keep Being Honest

Last week someone said something while we were in discussion groups at MOPS. While it didn't bother me then, now it does. What she said, makes me want to skip this post. It makes me want to hide how I am feeling. It makes me feel guilty for having "one of those" days.

The question: Are you a more or less patient person since having kids? Why or why not?

My answer: Less. And it bothers me. I thought I would have it down. I worked with ghetto kids for three years and could keep my cool. Now I have these two, and find myself not keeping my cool. I think it has something to do with the all-day-everyday-ness of it. I don't think I am less patient than I was, like I lost it or something, but that they reveal that I have less patience than I thought I had. They reveal that I am less virtuous in many ways.

We all sort of chuckled at it.

Next answerer said something about situational patience. And we talked about that for a few minutes. I brought up a radio program where the mother talked about not planning to be an angry mom but that sometimes you can't even wake up in peace to sort out your day before you are forcefully driven into that day. (I should say that we go around in a circle to share our answers leaving time for response and encouragement.)

Then it happened.
The third lady had her say,
Sarah, I just want to address what you said. I would do anything if my kids could come in to wake me up, but I am gone six days a week before they get up. . . . Cherish it. (In the middle she talked about working full time and how that keeps her away from her children.)

That night I didn't really think anything of it. I know her and didn't think she was attacking me. I just figured she had had a long day. But words bang around in my head.

Now I feel guilty for having a bad day.
  • For feeling frustrated because nothing I do can soothe Simon's aching gums and gassy belly--acetominophen and massage included
  • For wanting to cry because I have to just let him cry
  • For having a stiff hard back from the stress of listening to him cry
  • For feeling guilty for snapping at Abigail because she is whining because she is tired, hungry, and on strange medicine
  • For not being able to get a good schedule so Abigail can go to sleep at night at a reasonable hour
  • For forgetting to remind Abigail to go to the bathroom so we can retrain her bladder
  • For feeling guilty for feeling frustrated with her for the trouble we have had with potty training when it may be a physical problem
  • For not being able to get the dishes washed, the laundry put away, and dinner done
Perhaps last Tuesday, I had not made myself clear.

It isn't about my children.
I love them.
I treasure them.
I would do anything for them.
I rarely forget that these two are indeed miracles in my childbearing history, remembering that three reside in God's presence. And that with those statistics I am blessed.

But it is about me.
It is about the ways God uses my children to reveal my sin.
It is about the ways God reveals His heart toward me.
It is about the way I fail Him and them.
It is about the way He is using them to fulfill His promise. . .

I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

It is about the way I would remain incomplete without them.
It is about the way "those days" are God inviting me to come to Him for
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentlenss, self-control

Maybe I should have felt guilty for leaving the thought unfinished. Maybe I was unclear.

But for the feelings both good and bad that mothering illicit in me--remember I am but dust--redeemed dust, but dust nonetheless
my crummy days are far less a resentment of my children
a work of a redeeming God unsatisfied to allow me to be fruitless.


  1. Sarah,

    I occassionally check your blog and it is fun to be updated on your family. I also appreciate your perspective. This post hit a chord with me. I'm with ya sista. I had one of "those" days today. And God is working on me too. :)

    PS. You have a beautiful family!

  2. Sarah--I'm one of Andy's friends and found your blog off a link from his when I was clicking around. Being less faithful than you (though trying), I think that woman in your group needs a little more flak here! You're so hard on yourself! She should recognize that we all have our work on this Earth, be it planting trees, weighing Bolivian children, or full-time parenting. And we're all allowed to be frustrated at our own attempts! Keep on keeping on--you have a beautiful blog, beautiful family, and beautiful reflections in your writing. Thanks!